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When you start to add more and more color swatches to your document, you may find it difficult to actually find those color swatches because things get a little bit messy here in the Swatches panel. Now you can actually organize the swatches themselves by just clicking-and-dragging and then to move them around, but that's still a tedious process. Even more so, as you start to get out more colors, you can't control how they wrap around and go to the next line. So one of the nice things about the Swatches panel itself is that you do have the ability to organize your swatches in something called color groups. In fact, whenever you create a new document, I'll just create a new print document, for example, right here. You will notice that inside of that particular file, your document already has many swatches.
Now these are just lose swatches, kind of, lying around in your Swatches panel. However, you can notice over here, you have like these folders and there are certain colors that exist only inside of that folder. So this is what we refer to as a color group. You could easily create your own color groups. So let's go back to the other document right here and let's say I want to create my own colors here. I can simply go over here and click on this little folder icon with the plus sign called New Color Group. In doing so, I can give it a name. So let's call this one, flowers. Click OK. If I want to now add colors to that particular group, I can hold down my Shift key here to actually select different colors or I can hold down the Command key or Ctrl key on Windows to actually select non-contiguous colors and then drag those into that folder. Now I have added a color to that group. If you want to remove colors from a group, you can simply click on a color and drag it out of the group.
As we learn more and more about working with color inside of Illustrator, we'll see that there are certain functions that take advantage of colors that live within groups. In fact, the Illustrator ships with many different swatch libraries that you can use. Simply go down over here where it says Swatch Libraries menu and choose something here, for example, called Foods and let's open up Beverages. You will notice that all these colors here that exists are all within groups. So if you want to add, for example, Martini, and who wouldn't, you want to take this particular folder and click on it and drag it into your Swatches panel to bring that entire group now into your Swatches panel to your document.
Now there are additional ways of creating color groups as well. Let me go ahead and close this panel here. Let's say I actually apply some colors to my document but you know something, maybe I'm not careful about creating swatches for each of these colors. What I'm about to show you right now is actually pretty useful for times when you are getting files from other people. Maybe they just created colors but without actually creating swatches for them which makes it difficult for you as a designer to continue to make modifications or use the colors that they have already applied in the document. So what you can do is use your regular Selection tool to select some artwork. For example, I'll select these pieces of artwork right here and because I have artwork selected, I'll now see a different behavior with this same icon over here, the folder icon with the plus sign. Now instead of creating a new color group, which would be blank because I have artwork selected, I get a dialog box which allows me to create a color group based on a selected artwork.
I also have a helpful button here that will allow me to automatically convert all my process swatches to global swatches in the process. I'll call this one fun flowers and click OK. Now you can see that Illustrator automatically create a global colors for me right here in a new group.
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