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Choosing Color

Q1:How do I pick a color?
A1: If the Eyedropper tool is not selected, press the letter I to activate the tool. You can use the Eyedropper by clicking on a color you like to make it your Foreground color. If you're using a painting tool (Brush, Paint Bucket, etc.), press-and-hold Option (PC: Alt) to temporarily switch your tool to the Eyedropper. Then click wherever you can see a color you like, release the key, and begin painting with your new color. Also, you can click on a swatch in the Swatches palette (Window>Swatches) to select a Foreground color or Command-click (PC: Control-click) on a swatch to select a Background color. Want another way? Try clicking on the Foreground or Background swatches in the Toolbox or in the Color palette (Window>Color) to open the Color Picker.
Q2:How do I get good readings from the Eyedropper?
A2: In the Options Bar, change the Sample Size pop-up menu to 3 by 3 Average rather than Point Sample.
Q3:Is there a quick way to pick my Background color? When I use the Eyedropper tool, it chooses my Foreground color. Is there a way to tell it to choose the Background color instead?
A3: Yes, just hold down Option (PC: Alt) as you click and the Eyedropper will make that color your Background color.
Q4:Why does a little box symbol appear in the Color Picker? I'm choosing a color in the Color Picker, and a small symbol that looks like a 3D box appears. What does that mean and is it important?
A4: This warning symbol is important if you are choosing colors for the Web. The symbol indicates that the color you have chosen is not “Web safe,” and the small swatch below the symbol indicates the next closest color that is Web safe. To avoid this, you can turn on the Only Web Colors checkbox in the bottom-left corner of the Color Picker to restrict your choices to Web-safe colors. Note: If you are preparing for print, don't worry about this warning symbol.
Q5:Why do I get a triangle symbol with an exclamation mark in the Color Picker? I'm choosing a color in the Color Picker and a small triangle symbol appears. What does that mean and should I worry about it?
A5: That is a warning symbol with a very specific purpose. It indicates that you are about to choose a color that will display as that color in RGB mode, but cannot be printed in CMYK. The small swatch below the warning shows the actual color you will get when printing. You should worry about this if you are working in RGB mode, but you're going to print in CMYK. If you ignore the warning, your colors will shift to the small swatch. To avoid this, click on that swatch to accept that as the color, or try to find colors where that warning symbol does not appear. Note: If you're doing Web design or remaining in RGB mode, don't worry about this symbol.
Q6:Is it possible to display only CMYK colors in the Color Picker? I see that I can check Only Web Color to restrict the Color Picker to Web-safe colors—is there an equivalent method to work with only CMYK colors?

A6: Not exactly, but there is a way to indicate the “CMYK-safe” colors. After opening the Color Picker (by clicking a swatch in the Toolbox), go to the View menu and choose Gamut Warning or press Command-Shift-Y (PC: Control-Shift-Y). Then, simply avoid the gray areas when you pick a color in the window. Note: Once you've turned on Gamut Warning, it will stay on every time you use the Color Picker—to remove it, deselect it from the View menu while you have the Picker open.



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