Counting Colors With Illustrator

So you have a good vector file open, now you need to know how many colors you'll need to print and check if there are already pantone colors assigned.

illustrator Once you have your vector file open, hit Alt + 0 on PC or ⌘ + 0 on Mac to bring the artwork to front and center.

There are multiple ways to check if your file has pantone colors assigned, but the easiest way is to use the Direct Select Tool (A) or the Eyedropper Tool (I) and click the color you would like to check.

With the Eye Dropper Tool (I) selected click a color and then look in the top right at the Color Window (F6) which will show either a Pantone Color if it is assigned or a CMYK or RGB Color

Color Select
Eye Dropper Tool (I) click a color and then look in the top right at the Color Window (F6)
Unassigned Color
Unnasigned Color will be listed in CMYK or RGB

Convert a Color to PMS with Illustrator

No Pantones? No worries, it is easy to convert to the nearest Pantone. Keep in mind the nearest is not always the best so it is best to check with your client, and check the Pantone Book for the best match.

illustrator Once you have your vector file open, hit Alt + 0 on PC or ⌘ + 0 on Mac to bring the artwork to front and center.

Now that you have found you don't have Pantone colors assigned, you can easily convert the colors to Pantones in just a few steps.

Hit Alt + A on PC or ⌘ + A on Mac to select all. Navigate to Edit < Edit Colors < Recolor Artwork...

Edit Color
Navigate to Edit < Edit Colors < Recolor Artwork...

This will bring up a menu that lists the current colors in the file. In the bottom center you'll see a Book Icon which limits the swatch selection to a library. Navigate to Color Books < PANTONE+ Solid Coated

Recolor Artwork
Navigate to Color Books < PANTONE+ Solid Coated

This will convert your colors to Pantone+ Solid Coated or the Color Book you select. After doing so if you look in your top right windows at the Color Window (F6) and Swatches you can see the Pantone Colors that were assigned. Always Double Check in the Pantone Book to see it is a color you like.

Color Swatches
Always Double Check in the Pantone Book to see it is a color you like.

Colors are assigned based off the nearest Pantone, but the nearest may not always be the best so it is always best to ask your customer if they have a Pantone in mind. In this case Red 186 may be a better option than 1795.

Eyedrop a Pantone in Photoshop

If you have a good photoshop file, the next step is converting colors to Pantones. This can easily be done with the Eyedropper Tool (I). Eyedropper Tool

photoshop Once you have your file open in Photoshop, select the Eyedropper Tool or hit I. Eyedropper Tool With the tool selected click on the color you would like to conver to to a Pantone Color. Then double click on your Foreground Color Foreground Color which will bring open a Color Picker.

Eyedrop Color
Select the Eyedropper Tool or hit I. Double Click on your Foreground Color

In the Top Section you can select your Pantone Book and it'll convert the color to the nearest Pantone.

Color Library
In the Top Section you can select your Pantone Book and it'll convert the color to the nearest Pantone.

I typically prefer Photoshops conversion to illustrator so often I will copy and paste an Illustrator file into Photoshop to convert colors to Pantone.

Colors are assigned based off the nearest Pantone, but the nearest may not always be the best so it is always best to ask your customer if they have a Pantone in mind. In this case Red 185 was a great conversion but it is still good to double check, a minute now can save hours on press.

Next Lesson. Finding Dimensions