Copying Gradients from InDesign to Illustrator

Copying Gradients from InDesign to Illustrator
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Getting Started

Copying gradients from InDesign to Illustrator is not as intuitive as copying gradients from Illustrator to InDesign.

Just because Adobe’s official Adobe Swatch Exchange format doesn’t officially provide for the transfer of gradient swatches from InDesign to illustrator doesn’t meant that it cannot be done. In fact, you are about to see and read how it’s done in step-by-step format.

This InDesign tutorial uses Adobe Illustrator CS5 and Adobe InDesign CS5 running on Windows 7 Ultimate, 32 bit. If you do not have these applications installed on your computer and would like to follow along, you may visit the Adobe website and download a trial version of these programs.

If you have a different version of Illustrator and InDesign, you should be able to follow along with this tutorial, but some of the steps and results may not be the same.

Copying Gradients from Illustrator to InDesign

If you have a gradient in Adobe Illustrator, you can easily bring it into InDesign.To do this, follow these steps.

1. First, create of find your gradient in Illustrator. I made a gradient for the purpose of this Adobe Illustrator tutorial. You can copy this gradient or make one of your own.

2.To get this Adobe Illustrator gradient from Illustrator to InDesign, drag the object filled with your gradient into your InDesign window.


You now have the object containing the gradient on your layout and you see a gradient labeled “New Gradient Swatch” in the “Swatches” palette.

Now, to move a gradient from InDesign to Illustrator, all you have to do is the same process, only reversed, right? Wrong.

Copying Gradients from InDesign to Illustrator

For the purpose of this InDesign tutorial, we will delete the swatch and the object from Illustrator and then try to move it back to Illustrator from InDesign. You see that your object has been copied to Illustrator, but you do not have a swatch in your swatches palette.


The solution is quite simple. All you have to do is double-click on your object containing the gradient and then drag the gradient from the “Gradient” palette to the “Swatches” palette. drag your object into the “Swatches” palette in Adobe Illustrator and you now have a new gradient!


Depending on the complexity of your object, you may have to right click on it and select “Release clipping mask” and right click and select “Ungroup,” but most of the time double-clicking on the object is enough to load the gradient into the gradient palette.

Wrapping It Up

In this Adobe InDesign tutorial, you have learned how to copy a gradient from Adobe Illustrator CS5 into Adobe InDesign CS5. This was a seamless process that involved dragging an object from Illustrator into an InDesign layout.

You also learned how to copy a gradient from Adobe InDesign CS5 into Adobe Illustrator CS5. This required some extra work, but we got the job done nonetheless.


Author’s own experience.

Screenshots provided by writer