Global Color Swatches

1. Global color swatches is an feature in Illustrator that can be very useful when you work on projects that has LOTS of objects and shapes. First make TONS of shapes and objects in your Illustrator document to test it out. Now choose all or some shapes to have the same colors.

2. To use global color swatch settings, you need to choose your color of choice first in the swatches tab. Make sure the shapes have the color applied to it. Now double click on one of the swatches.

3. Now there should be a dialog box like you see on the screenshot above. Click the GLOBAL check box and adjust the color or keep it the way it is.

4. Again, make sure that the shapes you want to change colors have that color swatch that you just checked “GLOBAL” to is applied.

5. Now double click the same swatch again and open the dialog box. Change the color this time and make sure PREVIEW check box is selected. Now to experiment that it is working, deselect the shapes in your Illustrator document, then double click the global color swatch you just created, and change the color. Even if you do not have the shapes selected, the colors should all change dynamically.

16 Responses to “Global Color Swatches”

  1. siti said:
    March 4th, 2009 at 7:39 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    my color didn’t change globally. i cannot figure out the reason.. the tiny triangle already appear on the chosen swatch color.. help me.. tq..

  2. sheehan said:
    June 21st, 2009 at 6:28 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    another wow goes for you. amazing TEACHER!

  3. jazbro said:
    August 8th, 2009 at 11:21 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I also did not get a global change, everything went fine up to changing the color .. but the global change did not take effect… I created the global swatch and got the triangle and named it, then when I changed the color of the swatch it did not change the color of the objects … ???

    Can you walk me thru that?



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    October 1st, 2010 at 5:04 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

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  5. nelson said:
    October 22nd, 2010 at 8:58 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Here is how the process going…
    1st select a color you want to make it a global color from the color swatches pallette or you can customize a color of your choice and add it on the color swatches pallete
    2nd click on the small triangle on the right side of the swatch palette, choice swatch option and check global color, click OK
    Now to know that what your doing is working Do some shapes 2 shapes or more will do. double click on the color you just did a global color and dialogue box appear, here be sure to check the preview box to see the result and adjust the color slider you will see color change even without selecting a shape…

  6. Justin Belanich said:
    January 30th, 2011 at 6:46 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

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  7. Brain Wyler said:
    June 29th, 2012 at 1:53 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

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  8. Colin Candella said:
    February 12th, 2013 at 11:10 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I saw a lot of website but I think this one has something special in it.

  9. Roswitha said:
    November 24th, 2013 at 7:05 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I love your tutorials! Even as total Illustrator beginner I can follow your instructions and create great results! Thanks a lot!

  10. Chris Takakura said:
    November 30th, 2013 at 6:31 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Roswitha: Thank you very much :)

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    January 16th, 2014 at 6:06 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

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  12. YesJude said:
    May 4th, 2014 at 7:58 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |


    thanks for the info, it helped me a lot, especially the ‘global’ thing, you really need to think your design through before you start..
    I think I’m going to use this method for every design from now on. thanks

  13. mackeornee said:
    September 30th, 2014 at 6:11 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I have followed these directions with success when changing the color on a single open project.

    However, when I try to change the swatch after having closed the file and re-opened it the automatic update no longer seems to apply…

    Additionally, I would like to be able to update colors across multiple projects that are all using the same Global Process Color Palette/Swatches.

    Can this be accomplished?

    I’ve scoured the web looking for answers, and have been unable to find a solution. Thank-you in advance for any suggestions.

  14. mackeornee said:
    September 30th, 2014 at 6:25 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @mackeornee: Nevermind…I realized it was because of the file extension I was using. THANKS!

  15. Things to Consider When Designing Your Own T-Shirt said:
    February 23rd, 2016 at 2:16 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    […] have a go at picking correlative hues. In case you’re utilizing Adobe Illustrator, turn on Global Colors. It’s a flat out the lifeline and will spare you so much time. You can likewise utilize […]

  16. Lars Eriksson said:
    February 25th, 2016 at 9:36 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    How to break the link to a global Swatch color, like we can do with Symbols?

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