This is Where Illustrator Saves Swatches

Looking for a quick and easy way to save your swatches so you can look back on them at a later date? Well, my friends, Illustrator has you covered! In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how to save your swatches and what to do with them once you’ve saved them.

Illustrator saves your swatches in a new layer called “Saved Swatches”. This is located in the “Swatches” folder. To save a swatch, select it from the layer palette, and use the shortcut key “S” to save it as a file.

If you’ve ever saved a file in Illustrator, you’ll know that you’ll have to do this a lot. You’ll be working on an image and saving your swatches at the same time. Other times, you’ll be working on a particular project and saving your swatches for future reference. Either way, saving your swatches for future use is a great way to reduce frustration and save your work.

What to Do with Saved Swatches

When you’ve saved a file in Illustrator, you’ll be presented with the option to save your swatches. This is done by going to the Swatches panel and clicking on the “Save Swatch Set” button at the bottom of the panel. If you have no swatches saved, this will not appear.

In order to use your saved swatches later on, you’ll need to open them up in a separate document or application. In Illustrator, this is where things get slightly tricky. The Swatches panel within the main document is actually a bit of a mystery! If you want to open up your swatches in another application you’ll need to do so via a separate document.

Automatically Save Your Swatches

If you’re working on a larger project, it can be frustrating at times to have to go back and save your swatches every now and then. Fortunately, there is a way to make this easier! On the Swatches panel, you can use the “Auto Save Swatch Set” button. This will save your swatches automatically every five minutes or so.

In Illustrator, this feature is available in the same place as before. Just click on the “Auto Save Swatch Set” button and select how often you want it to save your swatches for you. You should always be saving your swatches from time-to-time because they are incredibly useful assets that you can use again and again throughout your work.

However, if anyone sees them outside of Illustrator (be it a client or someone else), they will most likely think of them as something very personal that belongs only to yourself. If you’re concerned about this, you can even set a password on your swatches. This will allow you to lock down your swatches so that only you have access to them (and no one else)!

Set Up a Saved Swatch Folder

Once you’ve saved your swatches, it’s time to organize them. By default, Illustrator keeps all your swatches in the project folder but you can choose to store them in another location if you like. You can create a Saved Swatch Folder on the fly by selecting the Folder button in the bottom-right of the Swatches panel.

This will bring up the “New Folder” dialog box where you can name your new folder. By default, it will be named after the project you are working on but you can change that to whatever you like. If you want to keep all your swatches in one folder, be sure to check the “Keep Swatches Together” option so that they are all stored together in one place.

If you want to organize them by type, be sure to check the “By Type” option so that they are all stored together in one place. You can also change how they are sorted by selecting an option from the drop-down menu options or even create a custom sort order by manually clicking on a field header and then selecting a sort order from the menu options.

Rotate and transformation effects for saved swatches

There are a number of transformations you can create for your saved swatches. Create a freeform design by rotating and scaling your saved swatches. You can also add a matte to give your designs a more antique feel. This can be a great way to add a vintage charm to a room.

If you want to create a transformation effect:

  1. Click on the “Effect” menu option
  2. Select from a number of different effects
  3. Choose to apply an effect to all swatches in your project or just specific swatches.

To remove an existing transformation effect, simply click on it and a new menu will appear showing you different options for removing it including delete and trashcan. You can also use this tool to change the scale of your saved swatch by selecting “Scale” from the drop-down menu.


Saving your swatches for future use is a great way to reduce frustration and save your work. Keep it simple and save your swatches in a convenient place where you can quickly find them.

To get good color combination ideas, try browsing the templates on because they have auto-suggested swatches based on different template types.