The Swatches Panel in Adobe CS5 Illustrator - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

The swatches panel in Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator allows you to access basic color, gradient, and pattern choices. Accessing color from the Control panel is probably the easiest way to make color choices: The Fill and Stroke drop-down lists allow quick access to the Swatches panel, shown and at the same time ensure that the color is applied to either the fill or stroke.

Use these buttons to quickly access color options.
Use these buttons to quickly access color options.

You can also access the Swatches panel, which you open by choosing Window→Swatches. Although limited in choice, its basic colors, patterns, and gradients are ready to go.

You can use the buttons at the bottom of the Swatches panel to quickly open color libraries, select kinds of colors to view, access swatch options, create color groups, add new swatches, and delete selected swatches.

You may notice some odd color swatches — for example, the cross hair and the diagonal line.

  • The cross hair represents the Registration color. Use this swatch only when creating custom crop marks or printer marks. The Registration color looks black, but it’s created from 100 percent of all colors. This way, when artwork is separated, the crop mark appears on all color separations.

  • The diagonal line represents None. Use this option if you want no fill or stroke.