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.
The Illustrator swatches libraries are stored in AI format and can be gradients, patterns as well as solid colors. So how to open them ?
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 (see on the left)
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 them via the window menu and the swatches library option (see on the right).
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 (see on the left). 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). See example on the right of the arrows
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.
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.
Personally, 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.
You can find many Illustrator swatches libraries on this site such as spiral scroll and curled swatches and Illustrator star swatches libraries and square swatches / patterns for Illustrator and starburst and star themed burst swatches for Illustrator All are libraries in AI format. You can also find a free selection of swatches on the site
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]