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The Color Swatches Palette

Adobe Photoshop Elements Basics Lesson 3: Image Modes and Color Selection

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In addition to the color picker and eyedropper tool, you can select colors in Photoshop Elements using the Color Swatches palette.
The Color Swatches Palette

The Color Swatches Palette

If the Color Swatches palette is not showing, open it by going to the Window menu and clicking Color Swatches.

The default swatches are a generic set of colors, but the true value of the Swatches palette is in its ability to load custom swatch collections. With a set of custom color swatches you can restrict yourself to specific colors without having to remember any numeric color values. For instance, you can create a custom swatch from the colors in a company logo, and use those colors when working on other projects for the company. Photoshop Elements comes with a small number of preset color swatch collection which you can load from the menu at the top of the color swatches palette.

Here are several color swatch actions you can try on your own:

  • Left click selects a foreground color
  • Ctrl-click (Command-click on Mac) selects the background color.
  • Alt-click (Option-click on Mac) deletes the color swatch. The cursor changes to a scissors icon to indicate this.
  • When you move your cursor over an empty spot in the swatch palette, it changes to a paint bucket and you can click to add a new color to the swatches palette.You'll be prompted to type a name for the color.
  • The two buttons at the bottom of the swatches palette allow you to create and delete colors.
  • Double click on a color to rename it.
  • You can revert to the standard swatches by choosing Default from the menu at the top of the palette. If a * appears by the palette name it means you have made changes to the swatch collection and you will be prompted to save your changes.
  • You can also load, replace, and save swatch collections from the Swatches palette menu.
  • You can change the appearance of how the swatch palette displays color swatches by choosing the small thummnails, large thumbnails, small list, or large list options from the palette menu.
  • You can access the preset manager from the swatches palette menu. The preset manager gives you another way to work with swatches and other Elements presets.

Next > Lesson 3 Exercise: Create a Custom Swatch Collection

Be sure to come back for the review after you complete the lesson 3 exercise!
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