How can we improve InDesign?

Locate where a specific colour is used in your document

It would be really useful to be able to find exactly where a colour is used in a document. When you get a document from a third party and there are extra colours in it that you are trying to eliminate it is sometimes very difficult to track them down.

You can convert the colour to a spot colour then turn on separations and do a visual check but, apart from being time consuming and relying on it being large enough to be easily spotted, it won't help if the colour has been defined as part of a style.

163 votes
Sign in
Sign in with: facebook google
Signed in as (Sign out)

We’ll send you updates on this idea

Steve Jenks shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →


Sign in
Sign in with: facebook google
Signed in as (Sign out)
  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Please! Please! Take this request seriously. It is a problem since day one I use Indesign (I work in pre-press). There are a few scripts and workarounds, but some don't show the position/object/space/… directly, but only an area, that's too inaccurate.

  • Rob Wood commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate


    It isn’t about getting rid of unused colours - there’s a function already for that - it’s being able to pinpoint where a colour is being used so that it can be corrected or standardised to a palette colour or even to delete an erroneous object.

    Knowing that a colour is in use in a document is useful but knowing whereabouts in a document is invaluable, especially if you have several similar colours or very small and numerous objects.
    Best regards


  • NEU! commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    1. As a team working on documents, handing them around and giving them to 3rd-party-finalizing, we want to ensure none color gets deleted by cosolidation and exchanged by a color that was left in the document and is quite similar to the color they want to exchange, resulting in selecting the wrong color for replacement.
    Also, I want a clean color list, and I get a doc with 500+ links .eps and .ai. Try to find out, which eps/ai "brings" in that color…would be nice for InD to answer this.

    2.) Yes it does. But that color I want to get rid off/exchange is used, eg in a image box background. I could not see that by just skimming the doc, but I could find it by Find/Attributes, but I have to know where it was used.

    3.) I get a document to work further on. There are some nearly-similar blue tones. What a mess, they all should be on blue. Find unused: All used. Hmpf. Find color? Not possible with InD CC 2018.

  • Brian Brunsting commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    For me, it isn't because the color isn't used, but because the color IS used somewhere but shouldn't be. When outputting for press, only certain colors are permitted, but if there are other colors that came in, say from word, and are claiming to be used, I need to make sure that color isn't actually being used for something and will cause an additional color plate to be output. What I do now to find the color is to print plate separations and only select the color that shouldn't be there. That will print every page where that color is used and I can try to eliminate it that way. As others mentioned, though, if the color is only "used" in a style, it won't find it that way.

  • Sam commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As a pre-press operator have to go thru client's jobs and make sure it separates right, but sometimes they make their home-made spot color and it's time consuming to find it in the document.
    We need find any USED colors.

  • Lorenzo de Jongh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi Javed,

    For me personally is it when I work in a document where somewhere in the process the Pantone or CMYK colour gets changed. Sometimes I forget to change it in a place (forgot to use a style on that sentence or word for example so it does not change) and the Pantone swatch cannot be removed. Of course I can make a PDF or do seperations preview and go to all the pages by hand. But it would be awesome if you can see which colour is used on where and in what form (text, table, graphic, etc) and then you can easily spot it and change the thing and delete the swatch.

    So for me that would same time. I admit the other way isn't that time consuming but sometimes deadlines can be a struggle and give trouble when it going for press.

    The "Select All Unused" shows me which swatches aren't in use but when it's used in a graphic or style it won't be selected so I still need to go by hand to locate the swatch.

    Thank you for your time.


  • Michael Bednarek commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Absolutely agree with this request. As a freelance designer (and former pre-press operator) I want the files that I provide to the printer(s) to be 100% clean and accurate. And for me that means no extraneous colors in the swatch or seps panels. The find feature doesn't always "find" the element in question, whether it's text, line, fill, hidden, locked, etc. And many times the element in question does not show up in Seps Preview. Perhaps the following enhancement could work as a solution. When in Output, Seps Preview, allow the user to "select all" of only the sep that is turned on. This may help identify the color/element in question. Additionally, the ability to identify unused character or paragraph styles (which may contain the color in question) would be useful. More than happy to discuss further and/or provide real world files to Adobe for possible solution(s).

  • David T. Macpherson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thanks for the tip about using Find. But it would still be nice to have a “Find …” item in the Swatches panel menu, to launch the Find dialog with the selected swatch pre-loaded.

  • Silvano commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with this request. As a pre-press operator have to go thru client's jobs and make sure it separates right, but sometimes they make their home-made spot color and it's time consuming to find it in the document. I bet the programmers can add this feature: find color in document...(like find font).

  • NEU! commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Open up the Find-Window (cmd+f), then choose Object, then specify the search-attributes down low (just select a fill or stroke).

  • Sam commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Is hard To find where a Color is used in the document as Long its not a Pantone Color.

Feedback and Knowledge Base