Color Patches in Illustrator

Ai Toolbox lets you customize the colors displayed by a color bar, so you can display as many inks as you need. This includes single–ink marks or color patches.

This tutorial assumes that you already know how to make color bars and how to customize them. If you don’t — have a look there first.

Test Project

We’ll start with the test project from the color bar appearance tutorial that has a circle symbol with ink names:

Sample AI project with color bar

Now select the color bar and open its properties using Object → Color Bar → Color Bar Parameters… menu item in Illustrator:

Color bar properties

Nothing new so far…

Custom Colors

You will need the Override colors field of that window. It lets you enter a comma–separated list of the colors to display in the color bar.

This even includes the colors not presenting in the document. As long as the color is a standard process color or an existing spot color — it will be displayed by the color bar.

Let’s try entering something there:

Displaying red, green and blue colors

The color bar now displays red, green and blue process colors even if they are not used in the project directly.

Here we used a single spot color there to create a color patch:

Making color patch for spot color

We’ve got a symbol colored up with a given ink.

Missing Colors

If the color is missing: not a standard process color name and there is no such spot color, Ai Toolbox displays it with an “invalid color” art:

Invalid color artwork

This way you can easily see if something is wrong with the customized colors in the color bar.

Indexed Colors

You can also access inks by index instead of names when overriding colors. Ai Toolbox supports names like {process 1} or {spot 2} to request the first process or second spot color name. Let’s give it a try:

Accessing colors by index

Here we used the {spot 2}, {spot 3}, {spot 1} line to override the color bar inks. The document has just two spot colors, so there is no such color as {spot 3}. Instead of drawing the “invalid color” artwork as above, the plugin leaves this space empty (actually draws a hidden symbol there).

This is done to let you make color bar templates with multiple ink slots that display only the available ones. Here is another example showing all the available process colors:

Showing all the available process colors

The document doesn’t use CMYK Yellow process color, so the color bar doesn’t show it even if the Override color line specifies four colors.

Once Again

You can specify colors by name and by index. If the color is found — it is displayed in the color bar. If not, it is either displayed with an “invalid color” art (if the color is specified by name) or not displayed (it the color is specified by index).

More Ai Toolbox Tutorials


Conical Labels

Color Bars

Text Operations

Renaming and Selection

Adobe and Adobe Illustrator are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.