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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
The Swatches panel is central headquarters for your documents' colors, and as we saw in an earlier movie, you can use it to apply fill and stroke colors to any object or text on your page. But what if you get tried of the colors listed here? What if you want something more? Let's look at how you can create new color swatches for your documents. To create a new color swatch, I will open the Swatches panel menu and choose New Color Swatch. Up comes the New Color Swatch dialog box and I can choose any color I want in here.
Now, I do need to choose whether this color is going to be a process color or spot color. A process color when printed to color separations will always separate to cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. That's CMYK. You should use a spot color if you are going to be printing with a very specific ink, like a PANTONE ink. Let's start with a process color. I pick my color here or I could type in numbers if I want to, and then I can name that either with the color value, in other words, the values that were in these fields here, or I can deselect that and type my own name.
I will call this Dark Green. There we go. Now, I have a choice. I could click OK, which would add this color swatch to my Swatches panel, or I could choose Add, which will add it to the Swatches panel but leave the dialog box open. That lets me add more than one swatch at a time, which is very helpful if you are trying to create a whole bunch of them. Let's go ahead and create a spot color. I choose Spot from the Color Type pop- up menu and then from the Color Mode pop-up menu, I can choose one of the many libraries that ships with InDesign.
In this case, I am going to choose PANTONE solid coated. Look inside my PANTONE book and figure out that I really want to use PANTONE 286, so I will just type 286 and it selects it for me from this list. Now I will click OK to close the dialog box and add that swatch to the Swatches panel. There it is down at the bottom. Now, the Swatches panel gives me a bunch of other information. For example, this little icon next to the name of the color swatch tells me that this color is a spot color. A little square with a circle in it. So that is going to print on its own color plate when I print color separations.
However, this column on the right tells me that it is behind the scenes spec-ed as a CMYK color. So even most PANTONE colors are actually spec-ed as CMYK. The next color up here, this Dark Green that I created, is also a CMYK color, but it's a process color and I know that because of this icon next to that. Now, you will notice that when I made my color swatches, nothing was selected on my page. And I did that on purpose. Why? Well, let's see what happens if something is selected, like that text frame, when I make a new color swatch.
I will choose the frame, choose New Color Swatch, and then I will just pick some random color here and click OK. The color is added to the Swatches panel. That's great, but what happened to my text frame? It was filled with the color. So if anything was selected on the page when you make the color, it gets that color applied to it, which is rarely what you want. So I am going to undo that with Command+ Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, and that took it off this and erased it from my Swatches panel. Now, this is also a problem when editing colors.
Most people try and edit colors in InDesign by double-clicking on them. For example, maybe I want to edit this red color. So I will double click on it. Up comes a Swatch Options dialog box and it lets me edit the color. I will make it a little darker, for example. That's great, except what happened when I double clicked on it? It opened the dialog box and it applied it to this object, which was selected on the page. So that's bad news. If I click Cancel, it cancels the editing of that color but it still leaves that color applied to that frame.
So now I am going to have to undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows. So this is why, whenever you are messing with swatches, making new swatches, editing them, in the Swatches panel, except for applying colors, I strongly recommend that you deselect everything, with your Command+Shift+A or Ctrl+Shift+A on Windows, keyboard shortcut. That deselects everything. Or another thing you can do, I will go ahead and select that text frame again, to edit colors is not double-click on them but right click on them or Ctrl+Click with a one button mouse.
I right-clicked on that green color and I will choose Swatch Options, and look at this. I can edit it all I want to. I will click OK, and it edited it in the Swatches panel, but it did not affect the color in this text frame that was selected. So right clicking on a color and using Swatch Options that way is much more reliable than double clicking. Now, I have already set up some colors in this document, but I would like to add those to some other document. How do I do that? Well, let's go ahead and create a new document here. I will click OK.
You can see that I only have a few color swatches here. I would like to add some of the swatches from the other document. So how do I add those to the Swatches panel? There are two basic ways. First, I can select any object that has a color assigned to it and copy it to the clipboard, come back to my new document and paste it. And when I do that, the object comes in and also that orange swatch that was attached to this color. I can go ahead and delete that text frame and the color remains. The second way that you can add color swatches to the Swatches panel from some other document is to choose Load Swatches from the Swatches panel menu.
Now, you can choose any InDesign document or an ASE file. An ASE file is something you have exported from Illustrator or Photoshop or some other program like that, that has swatches in it, and click Open and all of those color swatches come in. As you can see, adding swatches to your Swatches panel is not that hard at all. But there's one more way you can add colors to your InDesign document and that's the Colors panel, and we are going to look at that in the next movie.
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