Photoshop Pantone Colours Action

Posted on 2010-08-28
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi all,

I'm wondering if there's a way that I can setup an action that I can see all of the pantone colours in a psd file? At the moment I need to select the dropper tool, open the active colour, click colour libraries and then I see the pantone colour. I need to do this multiple times on each psd file to send the pantone colours to the supplier and this is very time consuming. It would be great if there was a way that I could set this up automatically and perhaps output the results of the pantone colours in a text file? If anyone has any ideas about how to do this it would be greatly appreciated.


Question by:TLN_CANADA
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 33551690
You can automate the process by recording an Action.

Click the Create New Action button at the bottom of the Actions palette, give it a name to save under Default Actions and then hit the Record button and begin your actions.

You should include all actions including opening and closing the psd file then click the Stop Recording button at the bottom of the Actions palette to complete the recording.

Now go to File > Automate > Batch, select your recorded Action in the Action drop list, select the folder where your psd files are stored, tick (check) all four Check Boxes and then hit the OK button.

You can watch each file in the folder being opened, processed and closed automatically.

Good Luck!

Author Comment

ID: 33551698
Hi avgavg,

Thanks for the quick response. The problem is not creating the action but rather how to create the action so that it lists all of the pantone colours in the open psd file. As I described above, I know how to find the pantone colours but I would like a way that photoshop tells me all the pantone colours in a file without me having to manually click the eyedropper tool on each distinct colour.

Thanks for your help,

LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:David Brugge
ID: 33573504
Tell us a little bit about your workflow. It seems that if you had all of the pantone colors on a single psd image, you would still need to select them with the eyedropper.

How are you describing the Pantone colors to your supplier? Are you specifying actual Pantone colors as spot colors, or are you just giving CMYK or RGB approximations?
If you are defining spot colors, I don't believe there is a good substitute to getting them from the swatch pallet. If you are just getting the color approximations, you are probably hampered by the fact that you can only see a small portion to the colors at once (unless you switch to small thumbnails which isn't very practical if you are looking for specific colors)
If it is the case that you are only using the approximations, you can get a pdf of the pantone colors here:, but you will still need the eyedropper tool.


Author Comment

ID: 33599863
Usually an artwork has 2 or 3 distinct colours in it. I need to specify these colours (in pantone colour format) to our supplier. At the moment I use the eyedropper tool and find out each one individually. It would be great if there was some automatic way that Photoshop could tell me all of the pantone colours in the file.
LVL 26

Accepted Solution

David Brugge earned 500 total points
ID: 33600128
>  (in pantone colour format)

I may be telling you what you already know, in which case, forgive me.

Pantone's main business is to publish formula guides for printers to use to mix ink. There are generally (but not always) inks that can not be created using the four colors most commonly used to print photographs (CMYK)

In it's default state, Photoshop generates artwork in RGB. This is usually converted as a last step into CMYK for a printer to separate into the four printer plates that he will need to print.

Pantone colors need their one printer plate. This is why, when creating your art, you create a spot color that will let Photoshop keep all of the ink for that Pantone color on a separate plate.

Just as almost all Pantone colors cannot be reproduced with CMYK inks, they cannot be reproduced on the computer screen either.

When you select a Pantone color from the swatch pallet, you do one of two things. Either you select a specific color for your spot color plate and put what Pantone determines the closest simulation to that color is, on the screen,
you select the RGB or CMYK simulation of the color and use that along with your other colors.

If your intent is to simply show a simulation to the colors for your vendors, I would think that the easiest solution would be to open the pdf file in Photoshop and your working file along side of it, and sample your colors from the PDF.

If on the other hand, you must provide your vendors with a Photoshop file that has the specific Pantone colors as spot colors (for printing purposes, it is critical that you select the colors from the swatch menu.

If you have a list of all of the colors that you will be using, you could build yourself a custom swatch file with just those colors which should make your job easier.

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