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Using swatches

From: Creating Long Documents with InDesign

Video: Using swatches

Consistency of design is what holds long documents together and one of the things that gives them a professionally made quality. Styles are your tool to ensure consistency in text. Swatches are your tool for ensuring consistency in colors. So let's see how they work. The first step in controlling the colors in your document is to manage them all in the Swatches panel. Ideally, there should be no unnamed colors in your documents. Unnamed colors are ones that are used in the layout but not managed by a swatch. To rid yourself of unnamed colors, go to the Swatches panel and choose Add Unnamed Colors, and I can see here that four colors were just added to the Swatches panel.

Using swatches

Consistency of design is what holds long documents together and one of the things that gives them a professionally made quality. Styles are your tool to ensure consistency in text. Swatches are your tool for ensuring consistency in colors. So let's see how they work. The first step in controlling the colors in your document is to manage them all in the Swatches panel. Ideally, there should be no unnamed colors in your documents. Unnamed colors are ones that are used in the layout but not managed by a swatch. To rid yourself of unnamed colors, go to the Swatches panel and choose Add Unnamed Colors, and I can see here that four colors were just added to the Swatches panel.

So how do unnamed colors get into documents? Well, when you mix a color in the Color panel and apply it to a page object or when you use the eyedropper to sample a color from something like a placed photo and apply it to a page object, those colors are not automatically made into swatches. Now, if you're working on a print project and you need to get all your swatches into CMYK, you can quickly convert from RGB by selecting the swatches and going to the Swatch panel menu and choose Swatch Options, and switch Color mode from RGB to CMYK, and click OK.

And now you have all CMYK swatches. But there is one slightly annoying thing that happens when you do this. If I select one of those swatches and go to my Swatch Options, I can see that the ink percentages for CMYK are not whole numbers. Now, there is no way this is going to be detectable in your output, but it can be annoying nonetheless. Fortunately, there's another way to convert RGB swatches to CMYK and to get nice, whole-number ink percentages.

So let's cancel out of here. We'll undo, get our RGB swatches back, and we will run a script. The script is just called ConvertRGBtoCMYK. It was written by Dave Saunders, and you can download it free from his web site. When you run it, just double-click and go back to the Swatches panel, and now you have all CMYK swatches. And if I select one and look at the Swatch Options, I can see that I have nice whole-number ink percentages.

Another way of ensuring consistent color is to use swatch libraries. You can save the solid color swatches you create in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign into independent files called swatch libraries. So, for example, if you have an artist doing work in Illustrator or Photoshop, you can know that they're using the exact same colors you are InDesign by giving them a swatch library to work with. To create a swatch library, go to the Swatches panel and create the process or spot-color swatches you want to share, remove the swatches you don't want to share, then select the swatches, go to the Swatch panel menu, and choose Save Swatches, and this creates a .ase file, an Adobe Swatch Exchange file.

I'll just call it Colors and save it. Now that Swatch Library can be loaded into other InDesign documents to create those exact same colors. Now, there is one more important thing to understand about the Swatches panel that I want to point out. If you place artwork in your document that contains spot colors, InDesign adds those spot colors to the Swatches panel. So I can scroll up and I can see this document has PANTONE 512 C in it. When you place an EPS, PDF, TIFF, or a Photoshop file containing spot colors, these colors will show up in the Swatches panel, and they will be undeletable unless you remove the artwork where they're used.

So you can see the trashcan is grayed out down here. I can't remove this spot color. And that's because InDesign needs that color information as long as the art file is placed in the layout. This automatic adding of spot-color swatches to the panel can also be a source of some confusion if you're not exactly sure where a color is being used. There are a few ways to determine exactly where a color is used in an InDesign document. The simplest is just through Find/Change. So if I press Command+F or Ctrl+F and go to my Object Options and click in Find Object Format, I see that I can find a specific color for a fill or stroke, but what if that color is coming in from a place graphic, like is the case with this PANTONE color? The Find isn't going to find that.

So let's click Done to get out of the Find dialog box and use a different method. This time we are going to use the Separations Preview panel. So I will go to Window > Output > Separations Preview. For view, I will turn on Separations, and I will click on the little eye button next to CMYK to turn off all the CMYK process plates, and that leaves just the PANTONE plate turned on in the Preview. Then I will move this out of my way and zoom out by pressing Command+Minus or Ctrl+Minus so I can see my whole document.

Actually, I might need to zoom in a little bit more. I will scroll up, and there it is. Lurking way out on the pasteboard, there is a little object that's been placed that uses PANTONE 512 C. And if I delete that, now the trashcan becomes available, and I can remove that spot color from my document. In any project it's important to have good control over color usage so you can have a consistent and professional look and achieve predictable output, and by consistently using swatches, you can always be in control of your colors.

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This video is part of

Image for Creating Long Documents with InDesign
Creating Long Documents with InDesign

59 video lessons · 15536 viewers

Mike Rankin
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 10m 48s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. Using the exercise files and scripts
      1m 51s
    3. Long-document workflow overview
      4m 20s
    4. Analyzing the planned output
      3m 43s
  2. 34m 7s
    1. Using master pages
      9m 34s
    2. Using layers
      7m 23s
    3. Using text variables
      6m 42s
    4. Using section markers
      5m 44s
    5. Synchronizing text
      4m 44s
  3. 26m 16s
    1. Using InDesign templates
      7m 10s
    2. Setting up preferences
      3m 27s
    3. Using Word templates
      5m 50s
    4. InCopy workflows
      5m 17s
    5. Creating a production manual
      4m 32s
  4. 40m 2s
    1. Using Based On styles
      6m 14s
    2. Using nested styles
      5m 56s
    3. Using Next Style
      3m 39s
    4. Using GREP styles
      6m 17s
    5. Using object styles
      2m 48s
    6. Using table and cell styles
      5m 8s
    7. Using swatches
      5m 33s
    8. Using Quick Apply
      4m 27s
  5. 37m 57s
    1. Placing text
      4m 57s
    2. Placing images
      3m 41s
    3. Creating metadata captions
      4m 3s
    4. Using Mini Bridge
      4m 38s
    5. Using libraries and snippets
      6m 4s
    6. Using GREP Find/Change
      5m 5s
    7. Find/Change tips
      5m 21s
    8. Using Layout Adjustment
      4m 8s
  6. 15m 53s
    1. Using Notes
      4m 7s
    2. Tracking changes
      4m 36s
    3. Using CS Review
      7m 10s
  7. 34m 43s
    1. Creating tables of contents
      7m 9s
    2. Alternative uses for the TOC feature
      4m 9s
    3. Creating cross-references
      6m 8s
    4. Creating footnotes
      6m 31s
    5. Importing footnotes
      6m 47s
    6. Creating endnotes
      3m 59s
  8. 33m 50s
    1. Scoping out the index
      2m 19s
    2. Creating index topics and references
      9m 29s
    3. Creating index cross-references
      3m 1s
    4. Creating index references with Find/Change
      3m 31s
    5. Generating an index
      3m 35s
    6. Preserving formatting in an index
      5m 13s
    7. Using third-party indexing tools
      6m 42s
  9. 26m 44s
    1. Using InDesign book files
      4m 37s
    2. Numbering book documents
      5m 46s
    3. Synchronizing book documents
      7m 5s
    4. Preflighting book documents
      3m 49s
    5. Outputting book documents
      5m 27s
  10. 12m 54s
    1. Using conditional text
      5m 1s
    2. Using Smart Text Reflow
      4m 3s
    3. Using object styles for customization
      3m 50s
  11. 25m 17s
    1. Preflighting documents
      6m 56s
    2. Exporting to print PDF
      5m 26s
    3. Exporting to interactive PDF
      5m 36s
    4. Archiving a project
      7m 19s
  12. 48s
    1. Goodbye
      48s

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