By Jennifer Smith

When you create a document, you may have to consider which colors you use, or you may have the freedom to use an unlimited number of colors. If you print your documents, you can choose a specific set of colors to use.

You may be restricted to only the two colors in a company logo, or you may have to print in grayscale. Finding the colors you need to use in each program is important — and then figuring out how to access those colors repeatedly in a document saves you a great deal of time.

Using color swatches

A swatch is a good way to choose a color, particularly when you intend to print a document. The Swatches panel in the various Creative Cloud programs contains colors and sometimes gradients. (The Swatches panel, shown here, is from Illustrator.) You can create libraries of swatches that contain colors you can use repeatedly across several documents.

A color swatch in InDesign

You can choose libraries of swatches from the panel menu or load and save swatch libraries. You can customize a swatch library by adding or deleting colors.

Mixing colors

A color mixer, found in the Color panel, helps you choose colors. You can use the Eyedropper tool to choose a color or, if you prefer, enter values for each hue or percentage. You can use one of several color modes in the programs you use, which offers you a lot of flexibility for all your projects.

Follow these steps to choose a color in a specified color mode:

  1. In a program that has a Color panel, choose Window→Color to open the Color panel (if it’s not open already).

    The Color panel is available in Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.

  2. Click the Color panel menu to choose a new color mode.

    Open this menu by clicking the arrow button in the upper-right corner of the Color panel.

  3. Choose the RGB color mode from the panel menu that opens.

    The panel switches to RGB color mode.

  4. In the Color panel, click either the Fill box (solid square) or the Stroke box (hollow square) to choose the color you want to change.

    If you click the Fill box, you can modify the color of a fill (the color inside a shape). If you click the Stroke box, you can modify the color of a stroke (the outline of a shape or a line).

  5. Use the sliders in the Color panel to change the color values.

    You can also change the percentage values to the right of each slider.

  6. After you choose a color you’re happy with, return to your document and create a new shape that uses the color.

Hold down the Shift key when adjusting any one-color slider, and the other color sliders adjust proportionally to provide you with various tints from your original.