.ase files – don’t mind if i do

In my last blog I talked about where you can get inspiration to create color palettes, but what do you do with those once you come up with the color specifications?

I recently have been working with Adobe Swatch Exchange and let me tell you, if you are freelance designer, it will change your life.  The swatch library that your client has created can be saved out and sent to you as an .ase file.  This would also come in helpful if multiple designers are working on one file.  You would download the file, upload it into your InDesign document by saving it as a new library and you are ready to go!  Gone are the days of typing in all of the Panetone colors or CMYK designations!

See below for a quick tutorial on the how-to.

Creating an .ase

To get started create an InDesign file that contains all of your swatches.  Don’t forget to be specific when naming your colors as this will help after they transfer onto a different computer.

dry ink color swatches



To create the Adobe Swatch Exchange file, click on the first swatch (here it would be paper) and then holding down your shift-key, click on the last swatch (here it is DID_Red).





Click on the small arrow at the top which will give you a pull down menu – choose “Save Swatches”.  You will be prompted to save your .ase file, so choose a name and navigate to save it in the correct location.  Now you can share your .ase file with printers, clients, designers, etc.



Using the Adobe Swatch Exchange file in your library

You may not be creating the .ase file, but rather receiving it from your client.  This is the way it happened for me, and I will admit the first time I saw .ase in a file name – I had no clue what to do, so hopefully this will help you out!

First things first, save the .ase file onto your computer where you can quickly retrieve it.




Once in InDesign, open the file you are working on or start a new document.

Inside the document, open the InDesign swatch panel, click on the small arrow at the top of the panel to get your pull down menu and choose “load swatches”.













From here you will be prompted to choose your file.  You will then “open” the .ase file needed for your project and it will be inserted into your library.  Now you have all of your branded colors and can get to work!

.ase files – making our lives MUCH simpler!


About dryinkdesigns

A marketing and business development background is the foundation for Mandi Boedicker’s passion for creating memorable branding support for a number of clients. Initially a graphic designer by trade, Boedicker’s marketing experience in the construction industry sparked a passion for networking and community partnerships. Dry Ink Designs was a natural next step. Boedicker’s freelance client work had spanned over ten years already while maintaining a full-time career, so she turned her creative energy into a career that benefitted the relationships she was building. Strengths in calligraphy, painting and photography soon grew into strengths in corporate identity strategy and marketing/communications support.
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