Do You Want Names or Numbers on Your Color Palette?

February 10, 2011

A change was made to the way that colors appear in the color palette in CorelDRAW X5 and it is a very divisive change. Some users are happy with the new information while others want the told way. Those who love the new way are already happy. Now I’ll show you how to get the “names” back. Once you follow these steps, you can have either method. A big thanks go to Pratik Shah for pointing out this tip to me.

First, let’s see how things work out of the box. If you hover your cursor over a color, you’ll get the information shown at right in a pop-up. My screen shot is in an RGB document. If you are working in a CMYK document, you’ll have CMYK values. Those designing for the Web are really appreciative of the hex values being shown.

Now let me stop and talk about why the current method is the best method in my opinion and then I’ll talk about how to change it back to the names. I rarely paid attention to the names shown in the past because they are meaningless to me. The worst was that the name for a color in the RGB and CMYK palette was the same even though it could give a different result when output. In this case, the color being displayed is named “Green”. Print this RGB color and the result will be a darker shade of green. You just can’t get that “bright” of a color from a printer. To me, the numbers are valuable.

The counterpoint from users is that clients will ask them for colors by name because it is easier to communicate than the numbers. But if a client asks for green, is that really telling you what they want? There are thousands of variations of green!

OK, so you still want the names and now I’ll show you. The first step is you must have Service Pack 2 of CorelDRAW X5 installed. If you have it installed and select Help | About CorelDRAW, the version number will read If you don’t already have SP2 installed, follow the link above and download/install it now. Otherwise, the tip won’t work for you.

Once you have it installed, you need to open up the Color Palette Manager shown at right by selecting Window | Color Palettes | More Palettes… You’ll get a Docker similar to the one shown at right. OK, you won’t have the scribbles I’ve drawn on mine. Look down near the bottom and find the one labeled Default Palette (I’ve circled it). Click and drag it into the “My Palettes” section at the top (just like my arrow shows). If the palette in the My Palettes section is visible (the eye is filled), you’ll get the names. If the “Default Palette” at the bottom is visible, you’ll get the numbers. Heck, you can have both palettes open and you can get different pop-ups depending on which palette you use.

If you are using the menu that provides names, you’ll get the pop-up shown at right. Once I moved the Default Palette to My Palettes as shown, I immediately went back to only using the Default Palette at the bottom of the Docker. Why? I don’t care about the names. After this tip, you can choose which you prefer and that should make every user happy.

Did you like this tip? Great! Do me a favor. Could you retweet it (there’s a button down there for it)? Or could you post it on Facebook (there’s a button for that too)? If you can do that, more users will learn about this great tip.

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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