Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE) files

InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop CS2 and CS3 all support the exchange of colors via ASE files. In other words, you can easily use colors you've created in Illustrator in an InDesign project, or colors you've created in Photoshop in an Illustrator project, or vice versa. Here's how:

1. In any of these three applications, select the colors in the Swatches palette that you want to exchange.

2. In the Swatches palette or Swatches panel menu of InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop, choose the following:

  • InDesign CS2: Save Swatches for Exchange
  • InDesign CS3: Save Swatches
  • Illustrator CS2: Save Swatches for Exchange
  • Illustrator CS3: Save Swatch Library as ASE
  • Photoshop CS2/CS3: Save Swatches for Exchange

This will create a small .ASE file that you can store wherever is convenient. Then, to use these colors in another InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop project:

1. Choose one of the following from the Swatches palette or Swatches panel menu in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop:

  • InDesign CS2/CS3: Load Swatches
  • Illustrator CS2/CS3: Open Swatch Library: Other Library
  • Photoshop CS2/CS3: Load Swatches

2. Navigate to where you previously saved the ASE file, and select it. The colors you saved in the ASE file will be loaded into your swatches palette, ready for you to use.

Swatches in any color model (CMYK, RGB, PANTONE, etc.) can be saved and exchanged between projects in this manner. Tints of colors and gradient or pattern swatches cannot be saved as ASE files.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks man, this was very very helpful and explained well.

Alexa said...

Is there anyway you can open an .ase file in CS?

Keith Gilbert said...

Sorry, I don't know of any way to use .ase fils in CS(1). As far as I know, this feature only works in CS2 and CS3.

Camille said...

i have an .ase file that i want to open in cs3. any clues as to why this wont open? it opens cs3 like normal but nothing appears!

Keith Gilbert said...

Camille, you can't "open" an .ase file in InDesign via File > Open. Is that what you're trying to do? Instead, you need to choose "Load Swatches" from the from the Swatches panel menu to load the .ase file into InDesign.

Caroline said...

Thank you, this was extremely helpful as I had no idea how to load these swatches that I had in this ASE format into my CS3, and now I do :)

Anonymous said...

yaaay!...this is fabulous, thanks!

zack said...

brilliant.. it sucks how we cant drag and drop to the swatch panels though.

VM said...

Zach,

you can drag and drop into the swatches panel. If you take the color and drag it from the tool bar area and drop it directly into the swatch gallery it will drop in. Sometimes you may not see it happen which is where the folders come in handy.

Also if anyone works with "Spot Colors" there are a number of options that you can set to prevent the colors from shifting which also allow for a global type of update. Something to look into.

austin said...

If you're working in CS4, you have to go to other library in the swatches menu.

Anonymous said...

just what i needed! :) thanks

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU very much!!!! clear and useful

Dean said...

Thank you, very helpful!

Anonymous said...

works in cs5 also. thank you

Anonymous said...

Something that's confusing me: Illustrator keeps the swatch colors grouped together, but InDesign imports them as separate colors. Why? It makes sense to me to keep the colors associated with a swatch grouped together.

Keith Gilbert said...

@Anonymous: InDesign doesn't support "swatch groups" like Illustrator does, so it has no way of keeping the colors in groups.

Anonymous said...

I have an issue with Pantone colors saved in ASE files. When I save a Pantone color in an ASE file.. then later import that ASE file into a new document... all the pantones come up as RGB lab colors and not the saved Pantone color.

I have tried saving them in illustrator and then import into InDesign and I also tried saving the ase file from InDesign and come up with the same results.

Is there a plug in I need for this to work properly?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

This works with newer version of Fireworks also.

Steen said...

Nice, I was wondering why I couldn't get my swatches moved from Photoshop to InDesign somehow. Appearantly this was easy :)

Torie said...

Is there a way to make the ase file load every time you open the applications instead of having to load it each time? I guess a way to make it a default? -Thanks!