Have you tried the new Color Theme tool in the Adobe InDesign CC 2014 October release? Grouped with the Eyedropper and  Measure tools in the toolbar, it allows you to extract colors from selected areas, images, or objects in your InDesign document to generate color themes. You can use the tool to pick a single color or a color theme, which is made up of five different colors, and add the colors to the Swatches panel for use in your layout.


If you switch tools to perform another task, like drawing an object or adding text, and then reselect the Color Theme tool, the theme picked up earlier will be retained. Pressing the ESC key will clear the colors from the panel, or pressing the Option key will temporarily enable the tool to collect a new theme.

Color Theme Tool Panel Options


  • As noted above, a color theme is made up of five different colors. Click on the flyout menu to see the other theme choices generated for the same color theme, such as Colorful, Bright, Deep, and Muted (shown in image above).
  • Select the next icon to add all the colors from the color theme to the Swatches panel. This automatically adds the colors to a new color group. Press Option-click on the icon to add a single selected color to the Swatches panel.
  • Clicking on the last icon will add the color theme to your Adobe Color CC app library (see Adobe’s Get Started with Adobe Color tutorial).

For more information about the Color Theme tool, see Using the Color Theme Tool on Adobe’s InDesign help page.

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Posted by: Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy has worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years supporting publishing operations of various sizes. In her role as Technical Product Manager for Technology for Publishing, she shares her publishing application expertise supporting a broad range of publishing clients in InDesign best practices, cross-platform content workflows, and InDesign Template strategies. Her weekly tip and blog posts have a committed following in the InDesign community, and as a long-time participant in the InDesign pre-release community, she regularly analyzes and provides feedback for upcoming features. Monica manages the authoring and publication of Technology for Publishing’s handbooks on InDesign, InCopy, and other associated titles.