Transfer swatches from one Illustrator file to another

Posted by on Aug 20, 2010 in Learnings | 2 Comments

I learned a great trick yesterday and wanted to pass along the info. I’ve always been annoyed that I couldn’t figure out how to take swatches from one .ai file to another, and couldn’t accept that the simplest way to do it was making little boxes of all of the swatches I was trying to pick up and pasting them into the new file. I dealt with it for a while, not really bothering to research it. I finally got fed up enough that I decided to figure it out, and after reading through Adobe’s online help resources, I found the answer. Needless to say, it was easy to find, easy to do, and I’m a little embarassed I didn’t know this before. But in my own defense, no one I asked knew of any other way than the copy/paste method. Anyhow, here goes.

Say you have an Illustrator document with a series of Pantone swatches like the sample below.

If you want to bring these swatches into another document, you can load your source file as an actual library. Go to your swatch menu and select Open Swatch Library > Other Library.

It will ask you to select a library, but you can simply select the Illustrator file you want to pull swatches from.

You’ll see a new swatch palette pop up that has all the swatches from the document you selected.

Piece of cake, right? And the great part is that palette will stay there so you can apply the swatches to as many files as you want without having to do this process every time.


  1. Xiao
    October 21, 2010

    Thanks a lot!
    I’ve always been bothered by the same problem.
    Finally got the trick ^^

  2. Jo
    October 21, 2010

    You’re very welcome – I’m glad to help!