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free swatches palettes for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

Creative Colors for both Adobe Photoshop CS and Adobe Illustrator CS are several collections of free downloadable color swatches palettes.

Creative Colors contains hunderds of colors, easy accessible through the Photoshop or Illustrator swatches palette and are absolutely royalty-free.

How to open Swatches in Adobe Photoshop

Download a Photoshop swatches file from this page (*.aco). Next, in Photoshop, make sure the swatches palette is visible (pull-down menu Window » Swatches).

On the swatches palette options menu choose "Load Swatches" to append (merge) the new swatches to the existing swatches list or choose "Replace Swatches" to replace the existing swatches with the new swatches. Now browse to the downloaded swatches file and open it.

How to open Swatches in Adobe Illustrator

Download an Illustrator swatches file from this page (*.ai). Next, in Illustrator, make sure the swatches palette is visible (pull-down menu Window » Swatches).

On the swatches palette options menu choose "Open Swatch Library » Other Library" to open the swatches palette. Notice that Illustrator will always open a new palette and does not replace the existing swatches in the palette.

RGB color mode

All swatches are stored in the RGB color mode. Both Photoshop and Illustrator automatically convert these colors to CMYK if used in a CMYK document. Due to the smaller CMYK gamut the converted color may differ from the original RGB color. We advise to first make a test print to verify colors before using these swatches for printer related art work.

Please follow this link if you have trouble opening swatches palettes in Adobe Illustrator.

Illustrator users can get an "Can't open the illustration. The illustration contains an illegal operand" error message while trying to open one of our swatches palettes.

Most likely you are using a non-English language versions of Windows and/or have configured Windows to separate numbers with a comma instead of a period. Illustrator does not recognise the comma as the decimal separator on your system and alerts it has found a corrupted file.

To fix this behaviour open the Illustrator swatches palette (*.ai) in notepad (or your favourite plain text editor) and change all comma's into periods (use search and replace to speed this up). Next save the edited file (make sure you do not change the *.ai extension) and open the swatches palette in Illustrator.

Most palettes on this page are created by the ColorSchemer community and derived from the ColorSchemer Scheme Gallery found on