Converting Colors: Process to Pantone

Recoloring CMYK or RGB artwork with spot colors is required every now and then. Luckily, there are a couple ways you can match colors to PMS swatches pretty easily.

One way is to use Illustrator's Recolor Artwork function (I'm using CS5, but there should be similar functions in previous versions – at least CS4). It's a pretty simple process:

First, select any objects you'd like to find a PMS color for, and head to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork...

Using Recolor Artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS5Next, click on the swatch library icon Swatches Icon to select a color book. In this case, I'm using Pantone Solid Coated.

Using Recolor Artwork in Adobe IllustratorThat's it! Illustrator will match your color to the closest PMS swatch in the color book. By double-clicking on the new swatch , you can browse similar swatches.

If your version of Illustrator is lacking this feature, there's a handy Illustrator script called CMYKtoPMS that will give you a best guess. Although it doesn't recolor artwork, it's simple to use and gets the job done (created by John Wundes). Looks a little something like this:


Did you find this tip helpful? Let us know in the comments section!

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