Accessibility and Pantone Tools Added to Adobe Color


Two new tools have been added to Adobe Color services this year: Just this month, a new feature was added to help identify and correct potential problems between colors when viewed by people with color blindness. The other tool lets you create a Pantone color theme, based on the colors in an existing color theme using RGB, CMYK, Lab or HSB color models. A color theme is a set of five color swatches chosen to represent color harmonies.
Adobe Color services are found at the Adobe Color website ( and in InDesign’s Color Themes panel. I described these color tools in “InDesign’s Hidden Color Tools,” InDesign Magazine #106, February 2018. The new features described here are found at the Adobe Color website, and not in InDesign itself.

Building Tools for Accessibility

Color vision deficiency, better known as color blindness, affects about 3-5% of the world’s population. It’s helpful when designing with color to start with accessible design. Adobe Color can now make that process easier.
There are three common types of color blindness—protanopia, deuteranopia, and tritanopia. Each of these deficiencies prevent people from distinguishing particular colors. With Adobe Color’s new accessibility tools, you can check a color theme against these three types of deficiency. While Illustrator has had a tool for checking this, InDesign has not.
There are two ways to test for color blindness design issues in Adobe Color: (1) Open to the Color Wheel interface, and use the controls to create a color theme (as described in my article), then click the Accessibility Tools tab; or (2) open a color theme already saved in a Creative Cloud library to view it in the Color Wheel, and click the Accessibility Tools tab (Figure 1). The simulator displays how the swatches will display with each type of deficiency. You can drag sliders or move swatches on the color wheel to resolve these problems. For more details, see the blog post “Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Adobe Color.

Figure 1. A new tool in Adobe Color lets you determine if colors in a theme will pose issues for those with color vision deficiencies.

Creating Pantone Themes from Existing Color Themes

The Adobe Color workflow allows you to create color themes from RGB, CMYK, Lab and HSB color models. If you’d like to work with those colors as a Pantone match using any of Pantone’s books for graphics or even its Fashion Home + Interiors System, Adobe Color can do the conversion automatically.

Start by opening the Adobe Color website, and select the My Libraries tab. From your Creative Cloud Library files, select a color theme you’d like to convert (Figure 2). Click on that theme to open a large preview of the existing color theme (Figure 3). At the bottom of the window, click PANTONE MATCHES. From the Pantone Books menu that is revealed, select the Pantone book you’d like to convert the color theme to. The closest match will be made for each swatch. In the illustration, I chose Color Bridge Coated and the five Pantone swatches of the new color theme appear.

Figure 2.  You can open an existing color theme to convert in Adobe Color.

Figure 3. You can automatically match any Pantone book colors and save them as an ASE file to import into Adobe InDesign.

You can save the swatches as an ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange) file, or as a JPEG image with the color information in the Download As menu (bottom right in Figure 3). When imported into Adobe InDesign, the color group of Pantone swatches is shown next to the original color theme displayed in the CC Library panel (Figure 4).

Figure 4. In InDesign, the original Color Theme is displayed in the CC Library panel on the right, and the color group of Pantone swatches converted from it is displayed on the left.

More Resources To Master Accessibility

Join us at the 5th annual Design + Accessibility Summit, the essential HOW-TO event for design professionals who need to master accessibility, coming to a device near you October 8–11, 2024.

It’s no secret that accessibility is a hot topic. In fact, ensuring your documents are accessible is not just a good idea: it’s the law. Whether you’re extending your company’s DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) focus, expanding your market to include the estimated 25% of the population who have disabilities, or safeguarding your company against legal risks, it’s important to make accessibility a business priority.

Creative professionals must learn how to design documents that are accessible for people with vision and hearing impairments, mobility challenges, cognitive, and other disabilities. And those who ramp up their knowledge and expertise in accessibility will find themselves in high demand supporting their business’ efforts; while those who don’t will risk falling behind.

At The Design + Accessibility Summit, you will learn practical techniques for building accessible documents with InDesign, Acrobat, PowerPoint, and other tools widely used by creative professionals.


Members get a special discount on registration! Sign up today.

Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, and co-author (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) of InDesign for QuarkXPress Users and Moving to InDesign. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 20 years and was the training manager for ten years at Rapid Lasergraphics. He has taught computer graphics classes since 1988.
  • Franck Laidin says:

    Hi, the link isn’t but

  • Steve Werner says:

    You are correct. The article says “” twice at the top of the article.

  • Jim L says:

    Does this work in the Adobe Color app?

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