How to Use the Illustrator Color Picker

The Adobe Illustrator Color Picker allows you to fine-tune a color selection for individual objects, and it provides way more control over hue, saturation, and other attributes. Below, we’ve shared how to use the Illustrator Color Picker, so you can achieve any color necessary for a logo, illustration, or other design.

1. First, launch Illustrator and select an object on the artboard that needs a color adjustment. At the bottom of the Tools panel, you’ll see two colored swatches, which correspond to the current fill and stroke colors. You can double-click on either swatch to access its respective Color Picker.

2. In the Color Picker window, you’ll see a variety of settings that determine the final color, including a vertical slider called the Color Spectrum Bar. This slider allows you to select a specific hue, and you can do this by dragging on the arrows, or clicking directly on the spectrum.

3. To the left of the Color Spectrum Bar, you’ll find a large, square gradient called the Color Field. This section determines the color’s shade. If you change the Color Spectrum Bar’s position, the Color Field will automatically adjust as well. For example, if you want a dark green color, you’ll need to move the slider on the Color Spectrum Bar to a green section, and then click on a dark area of the Color Field.

4. If you prefer to enter manual color values, the Color Picker also has custom settings for HSB, RGB, CMYK and HEX. You can also click on individual values and adjust them with the Color Spectrum Bar and Color Field. For example, selecting “B” (which stands for “Brightness”) and then tweaking the Color Spectrum Bar and Color Field settings will not have an effect on the hue or saturation values.

5. Lastly, the “Only Web Colors” box limits your palette to 256 colors, which is useful when creating GIFs, HTML-based text, and solid-colored backgrounds. In most cases, though, you should leave this box unchecked.

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Learn how to use the Color Picker to select and apply colors to your artwork in Illustrator.

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