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How to open swatches / patterns in Illustrator Tutorial

how to open swatches in Illustrator
  1. Go to the window menu

  2. Swatches

  3. Goto swatches panel in Illustrator

  4. Right side menu

  5. Open swatch library

  6. Select one of the list items OR user defined etc

How to open a swatch / pattern library in Illustrator CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc tutorial. A swatch in Illustrator is stored in a library, generally of a similar themed set of swatches (such as gradient swatches or pattern swatches or a set of similar colored swatches). The swatches libraries in Illustrator can contain one or twenty or 100s of swatches.

Swatch libraries are stored in AI format and can include solid colors, gradients and patterns (as are many on my site)

how to open swatches libraries

The Illustrator swatches libraries are stored in AI format and can be gradients, patterns as well as solid colors. So how to open them ?


How to open the swatches / patterns / gradients via the swatches panel in Illustrator CC 2017 2015 etc

If you want to open them as swatches then you can open them via the swatches panel and use the right side menu to load the items / AI files

  1. Go to the swatches panel

  2. Go to the right side menu

  3. Open swatch library

  4. Select one of the libraries in the list

You can also open the swatch libraries via the window menu in Illustrator either by name or via the other library option

window menu and swatches open

You can also open them via the window menu and the swatches library option

  1. Window menu in Illustrator

  2. Swatches libraries (close to bottom)

  3. Select library

You can also open the swatch / pattern libraries in Illustrator via the bottom section of the swatch library panel

You can also use the bottom of the panel to open the libraries


Another way to open them is to have at least one library panel (they are read only) displayed and then use the bottom panel menu to either open the set . The swatches will only appear if they have been added to the presets folder otherwise you will have to use the other library option


Or use the arrows - back and forward to load another set (though depends on the sets being available).


The opened swatch libraries are read only and you can select items which are added to the main swatches panel. You cannot delete them from the read only libraries so if you wish to delete the pattern tiles then you will have to open the source file and delete them there.


The swatches libraries will appear in the menu list if they have been added to the presets 'swatches' folder but if they are not located in that folder (admin or user equivalent) you will have to use the other library option.

The swatches can also be opened via the file open command of Illustrator and accessed at source

You can open the AI files (they are all stored in AI format) via the file open command. The only trouble with this is that the items will only then be limited to the current document. You can copy the items from this file and then add them to another document and then drag those paths into the presets panel. A bit of a workaround but it can be done.

If the swatch library is not stored in the presets folder, it can also be opened or browsed via the other library command

other libraries panel commandPersonally, I find the other library option more useful as I store all my swatches in a central location and don't leave the swatches in the presets folder for different versions of Illustrator.

Free swatches for you to use royalty free in your work

1. free selection of swatches on the site

Other tutorials relating to Illustrator such as our how to use live shapes etc

1. how to export SVG files from Illustrator

2. how to enhance spirals in Illustrator

3. how to use the live shapes / ellipse tool in Illustrator

Youtube Video tutorials

How to open the swatches file as a normal file and use the resources in another. Tutorial showing how to open and use the swatches file [Youtube]