Share Swatches between Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

For consistent colors in your projects create and share solid color swatches between Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Colors will appear exactly the same across three applications under one condition: Creative Suite Color Settings must be synchronized. Note: you can share process and spot color swatches but not and gradients, patterns.

How to create color swatch in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

In Photoshop use COLOR panel or Eyedropper toll to pick color from image, desktop or even Web page. Open SWATCHES panel and click New Swatch button at bottom of panel or use SWATCHES panel menu. Another way is to position pointer over empty space in SWATCHES panel and when pointer turns into Paint Bucket tool icon click once, then give a name to the swatch and save it.

To save swatch library (or set as I usually refer in my tutorials) and share (load) it with Illustrator and InDesign first delete all swatches you do not want to save in library. To delete swatch hold down Alt key on your keyboard and pointer will turn into scissors, navigate it with mouse button over swatch and click once.

To save library use Preset Manager or choose Save Swatches for Exchange from SWATCHES panel menu (from the same menu you can load swatches created in Ai or ID) and save it with ASE extension anywhere on hard drive.

To save set of swatches as library for exchange from Illustrator first off course delete all swatches you do not want to save in library by dragging them to the trash can then click on SWATCHES panel menu and choose Save Swatches Library as ASE.. (From the same menu you can load swatches created in Ps and ID).

In InDesign select all swatches you want to save and choose save Swatches from panel menu. Save swatch library with ASE extension anywhere on hard drive (from the same menu you can load swatches created in Ps and Ai).

Synchronize Creative Suite Color Settings

To ensure color swatches will appear exactly the same across applications you must synchronize Creative Color Settings from Adobe Bridge. This option or command is located in Edit menu.

Choose settings in Suite Color Settings dialog and click Apply button.

To ensure Creative Color Settings are synchronized open Color Settings dialog from Edit menu and take a look at top of dialog, there will be information about synchronization. Note: in Color Settings dialog you can create and save your own settings (Save button) which will appear in Suite Color Settings dialog in Bridge.

Photoshop / Customizing color pickers and swatches

Products used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe Illustrator CS5, Adobe InDesign CS5, Adobe Bridge 4


  1. Thank you - this is very helpful for a project where I needed to match swatches between these programs.


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