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Calibrating Your Printed Colors with a Color Chart

© 2002-3 by Foster D. Coburn III. All Rights Reserved.

If you could choose a color from a swatch book that relates to the colors in your custom palettes, it would give you confidence in the colors being printed. There are no swatch books for CorelDRAW's default palette or for any other custom palettes that are included in CorelDRAW, but you can create your own.

To create a swatch book (actually one sheet of paper), download the Color Chart file (26K--CorelDRAW 5 CDR file) then print the file on the same kind of paper you will be using for your project. Instead of choosing colors from the on-screen palette, choose the colors you wish to use from the Colorchart.cdr print. After choosing a color from the print, choose the corresponding CMYK value from the on-screen palette. This method ensures a correct color match. Make additional prints for every medium on which you will be printing. For example, if you will be printing on cups using the sublimation method, create a print using the colors you will be using and press it on a cup. The next time you're printing on cups, pick the colors from those on the cup, and you will be assured that the colors will print correctly. If you are outputting to film, spend the money and have a match print made of the Colorchart.cdr file. If you don't create custom swatch books, you will have to rely on the colors displayed on your monitor and they never match exactly.

Loyal reader Jody McCollough sent us a copy of a fantastic version of Corel's RGB Color Palette complete with all the variations you get by clicking and holding on each color. This is by far the most complete color chart I've seen.

Download RGB Color Chart as a Zipped CorelDRAW 8 file (320 KB)

Download RGB Color Chart as a Zipped PDF file (599 KB)

At one point we did offer a similar color chart for printing Pantone PMS colors. But Pantone's lawyers didn't like the fact that we could create a CorelDRAW file full of little rectangles using their colors. They would prefer to make your use of their products more difficult. So we will gladly recommend that you get swatch books from other vendors.

Since the lawyers won't let us supply a file, we will tell you how you can create a PMS Swatchbook automatically in CorelDRAW 10-X4. Select Tools | Visual Basic | Play (or Tools | Macros | Run Macro in X4) and you'll get the dialog box shown above. We've already selected "GlobalMacros (CorelDRAWxx.gms)" from the Macros in drop-down list and "CorelMacros.CreateColorSwatch" from the Macro name list. It may seem like we did it backwards, but that is the order you have to follow. Once you've done that, click Run.

Note: For some crazy reason, Corel did NOT include VBA with the some of the Academic Versions. This was done to save a buck or two on royalties to Microsoft.

You should now be looking at the dialog box above. If you look under Palette, you'll only find two choices. Click the Open button. At the bottom of that dialog, choose "All Files (*.*)" and you'll find the Pantone palettes all start with "pan". Select the one you want and then click Open.

Now you simply need to click OK and watch the palette get created in front of your eyes! Be patient as it may take a minute or two to finish. The finished product is 41 pages of swatches. By changing the spacing between swatches you can limit it to fewer pages.

Also available on the third-party market is a swatch book for CMYK process colors. We use one produced by AGFA called Postscript Process Color Guide. Visit their web page at

Got the hang of color?

Did you find the downloadable color charts useful? Do you now understand their importance? Have you created your own color chart with the VBA macro? If so, we'd appreciate it if you'd use the button below to send a donation to Graphics Unleashed.

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Last Updated Thursday, June 05, 2014

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