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Where are the gradient swatches in InDesign?

As an InDesign user, you may have noticed that the default swatch panel in InDesign does not include gradient swatches. So where can you access and create gradients in InDesign? Read on to learn where to find gradient swatches and how to create custom gradients in InDesign.

Looking for Gradient Swatches in the Swatch Panel

When you first open the Swatch panel in InDesign (Window > Swatches), you’ll see solid color swatches but no gradients. So where are the gradient swatches hiding?

Gradient swatches are not included in the default swatch panel. Instead, they are housed in the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient). The Gradient panel allows you to create, save, and apply linear and radial gradients in your documents.

Accessing the Gradient Panel

To access the gradient panel in InDesign:

  1. Go to Window > Gradient to open the Gradient panel
  2. Or click on the Gradient tab at the bottom of the Swatch panel

This will open the Gradient panel where you can build and save gradient swatches.

Creating a New Gradient Swatch

To create a custom gradient in InDesign:

  1. Open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient)
  2. Click on the gradient type (linear or radial) you want to create
  3. Double click on the gradient slider to add a color stop
  4. Adjust the color, position, and midpoint of each color stop
  5. Once your gradient is complete, click “New” to save it as a swatch
  6. Name your gradient swatch and click OK

Your new gradient swatch will now be available alongside solid color swatches in the Swatch panel.

Applying Gradients in InDesign

Once you’ve created gradient swatches, applying them is easy:

  1. Select the object you want to apply a gradient to
  2. Open the Swatch panel and select your gradient swatch
  3. Or use the Gradient panel to apply gradients directly

Gradients will apply to any vector objects like shapes, lines, and text frames. For more gradient customization, open the Gradient panel to change the gradient type, angle, scale, and reverse direction.

Tips for Using Gradients

Here are some tips for working with gradients in InDesign:

  • Use multiple color stops to blend several colors into a gradient
  • Experiment with different gradient types like linear, radial, reflected, and diamond
  • Change the gradient angle and scale to get different effects
  • Reverse gradients or swap colors for more variations
  • Apply gradients to text for impactful designs
  • Use transparency gradients to create fades and shadows
  • Combine gradients with objects and effects to create depth

Gradient Swatch Examples

Here are some examples of creative ways to use gradient swatches in InDesign:

Gradient Use Example
Backgrounds Apply gradient swatches to shape frames to create smooth, blended background colors
Text Use gradients in text frames for eye-catching titles and impactful designs
Accents Add gradient accents to objects like lines, frames, and images
Transitions Build color transitions with multiple-stop gradients
Shadows Create faded shadows with transparent black gradients
Reflections Mimic shiny surfaces with angled gradients

The possibilities are endless for creating stunning effects with gradient swatches in InDesign!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why don’t gradients show in my Swatches panel?

Gradients are housed in the Gradient panel in InDesign, not the default Swatch panel. Use Window > Gradient to access gradients.

How do I save a custom gradient?

Build your gradient in the Gradient panel, then click the “New” icon to save it as a swatch you can access later.

What objects can I apply gradients to?

Gradients can be applied to any vector objects like shapes, lines, frames, and text boxes.

Can I edit gradients after creating them?

Yes, double click on a gradient swatch in the Swatch panel to open the Gradient panel and edit the gradient.

What is the difference between linear and radial gradients?

Linear gradients blend colors along a straight line. Radial gradients blend colors outward in a circular shape.


Accessing and using gradients may feel hidden away in InDesign, but the Gradient panel provides powerful options for creating gradients and saving them as swatches. With a little practice, gradients can take your InDesign projects to the next level with beautiful, blended color effects on text, shapes, frames, and more.

Remember to use the Gradient panel to build and save custom gradients as swatches. Then apply them to objects from the Swatch panel like any other swatch. InDesign offers immense creative possibilities with linear, radial, reflected and diamond gradients. give gradients a try in your next design project for stunning results!