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In AI you can mix a color at any time and not have to add it to the swatch list. It will only work if you have made a swatch for each color used in the file. One way would be to use the Add Used Colors from the Swatch panel flyout menu to add all the colors to the Swatches panel.
Thank you Larry. This is very helpful to know!
I chatted with a friend, who knows much more about colors, printing, etc. and now I see that I can only get item swatch names when the item is set to a spot (or global I believe). Process on the other hand will just return specific number values for each color (c, m, y, k). So I think I have a better understanding now.
If you use the Add Used Colors, the colors will be added as Global colors with the name being the CMYK numbers (to whole percents)