15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2017 11:52 AM by rob day

    HSB color picker

    Scooby007 Level 3

      Does anyone know of a plugin for IND that enables an HSB color picker? I really can't stand the color picker. It gets tiresome having to switch to PS for color picking. I understand how the IND color picker works, but there's no reason why there can't at least be an HSB option, especially for people who are now using IND to design things like ebooks. It's a waste of time. Any plugins that enable fast efficient HSB picking from within IND?

        • 1. Re: HSB color picker

          I'm also looking for this. I know that the inDesign colour picker is geared towards print, but for the purposes of web or ebook design I would really like to see an HSB option.

          • 2. Re: HSB color picker
            [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

            If your native system color picker supports HSB, you can try this little Javascript:


            rgb = $.colorPicker(-1);
            if (rgb >= 0)
            try {
              c = app.activeDocument.colors.add({space:ColorSpace.RGB, colorValue:[rgb >> 16, (rgb>>8) & 255, rgb & 255], name:"#"+rgb.toString(16)});
            } catch (_) { }
            2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: HSB color picker
              geocresent Level 1

              I'm just getting into inDesign and I don't know how to use javascript with it, but I'll find out and give it a try.

              • 4. Re: HSB color picker
                happybana0 Level 1

                I really don't understand why this was omitted. It's in Photoshop and Illustrator, and it's just as likely someone would be using InDesign for online work (even for print, HSB is a much easier way to mix greys and lighten colors). Sometimes Adobe really baffles me.


                Also, that javascript doesn't really do what is needed here. May as well tab back and forth to Photoshop.

                • 5. Re: HSB color picker
                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  especially for people who are now using IND to design things like ebooks.

                  If you are looking for hex values in-tools has a  Hex swatch plugin. You are still limited to InDesign's 3 color spaces for picking, but it also lets you get Photoshop's forground color if PS is running.



                  • 6. Re: HSB color picker
                    happybana0 Level 1

                    Perfect interrim solution! Having to write down those RGB / CMYK values was awful.

                    • 7. Re: HSB color picker
                      Thomas Dearie Level 1

                      HSB would be invaluable not just for online work, but also for the conceptual phase of any design project.


                      It's easy to forget that, before we start production on any project, we actually have to design it. I do all my own production, so I love the production advances that have dominated InDesign's development.


                      But I'm  a designer first and a production jockey second. I'd like to see some focus on the conceptualization end of things.


                      HSB is a much more productive model for conceptual design – it's the model for color theory in design.


                      Human beings understand it much more intuitively than RGB or CMYK. (RGB and CMYK mimic the sensor instrumentation of color vision, but not so much the perceptual end of things)


                      It's also odd that the integrated Creative Suite has HSB in Ps and Ai, but leaves it out in Id.


                      I'd really like to see this model added to ID's color system.

                      • 8. Re: HSB color picker
                        Red Point Level 1

                        Hi Thomas,


                        I think your not alone. Many users would like to see an implementation of the HSB color picker in InDesign. I myself have posted feature request to the InDesign dev team to that regard on countless occasions (today again) only to be fully ignored. It really is frustrating to see this total lack of response from the development team. I must say, I haven't experienced this any where else at Adobe. An example of this frustration can be seen here (its a representative post - one of many): Color picker in InDesign - Graphic Design Stack Exchange


                        The whole color picker thing might be ideologically charged, which of course is a strange concept in software development to begin with - I agree. Lets say this, with the color picker issue in InDesign, its like talking to a wall! It is the "CMYK" wall - to be specific - a remnant from the cold war of desktop publishing. Let me explain:


                        Firstly I would say it is a fact that many users (you can see this on the web in many forums) have various questions regarding the HSB color picker in InDesign missing and are expressing their frustration. I suspect not only users who are crossing over from other creative apps and giving Indesign a try. I would like to see the HSB color picker myself very badly and have been in DTP since version 1 of Ventura Publisher in 1986.


                        It seems there is someone in the development team actively opposing change. Often there are, which I believe outdated, arguments put forward that relate to InDesign as an exclusive layout tool for print (CMYK and so on). But times are changing. Print is evolving from CMYK offset to digital printing. We are also using InDesign as a tool to produce digital content like PDFs that we share online or via email. Although some great new tools have been added to InDesign that seem to reflect a strong understanding of the evolving landscape (like the "publish online" feature which I really love - super professionally done and really works like a charm - even video embed) there are still some remnants of the CMYK guru Ideology poisoning true forward development within InDesign.


                        Every time you hear a response like "you don't understand color space" or "InDesign is used primarily for print and hence has different color requirements" aso you know you are talking to the "CMYK" wall. A remnant of the cold war of DTP. No point in mentioning new trends, new ways in which InDesign is being utilized, changing landscapes in printing technology aso. The CMYK wall will prevent any change from coming to InDesign or, for that matter, will prevent any response coming back to you. I quit frankly could'nt care less about color space. Its like asking a driver to understand the technicality of a car engine before going shopping. Like the driver, I want to focus on the creative process (and shopping).


                        Anyway, I would also like to see the HSB color picker implemented (finally) into Indesign. But I believe this will only happen after resistance in the InDesign is overcome. That being said, it seems that all we can do now is tear down that CMYK wall ourselfs and doing so by popular demand:


                        Hence all users who are frustrated with the current restrictions of the Adobe color picker in InDesign, come and join me in the charge once made by Ronald Reagan to Gorbachev in Berlin 1988: "InDesign Product Developers, tear down that CMYK Wall"!





                        PS.: Many layout changes that were easily done in DTP were difficult or impossible to do in web design (I still remember the Netobject Fusions days). But it speaks volumes, that today it is often easier to create things in web apps than in Illustrator or InDesign. Try to create a one sided strokes box / frame in Adobe InDesign. Its much easier done in Muse (Web App) than it is in InDesign. Seriously, I don't even now if there is a dedicated feature for it in InDesign. Which of course is very sad for software that prides itself to be the standard in DTP. I often think, that it would be good for the InDesign Dev team / product managers to spend a day or two with their Muse colleagues to see how simplified DTP could look like! And yes, I am being sarcastic - sorry about that!

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: HSB color picker
                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                          InDesign Product Developers, tear down that CMYK Wall"!

                          InDesign doesn't have a document color space, you can define native colors as RGB, Lab, or CMYK either as spot or process. There can be a mix of all three on a page, or if you want you could build an entire document using only RGB or Lab and completely eliminate CMYK color. So ID has never been CMYK-centric. An HSB color picker would be nice and I can't tell you why it's not a feature, but it has nothing to do with a preference for CMYK.

                          • 10. Re: HSB color picker
                            Red Point Level 1

                            Yes of course. My reference was to the voices who claim that InDesign is mainly used as a DTP tool for offset print, hence my reference to CMYK (in relation to an offset print centric use of InDesign). I am aware that InDesign can follow RGB or CMYK (; - btw, CMY are simply negatives of RGB. But i agree, the CMYK wall needs to be renamed...


                            What I was trying to get at is that if InDesign is recognized as something more than just DTP for Offset, maybe the dev team would also accept that a color picker HSB would be an important feature to add. But then again, they may have a completely different reason why they are not including this picker. Maybe my assumptions are wrong. Anyway, thanks for clarifying. Its always good not to impart wrong impressions.


                            My issue with the color picker in InDesign is not only that the HSB picker is missing. The whole color picking process is counter intuitive in comparison to other CC apps. Take Muse for example. Super easy to create gradients. Just click on the color and chose. It always takes me ages (and I am not exaggerating here) when I am back in InDesign to figure out how to bring in swatch colors into the gradient tool. Or to get a tint of one specific color. OK, I can use L in Lab or the tint picker. But not very intuitive. In all other apps it one simple step. Click on color swatch and pick tint. Very simple.


                            I think an overhaul of the whole color picking process could do InDesign some good. Simplify it. Color is at the core of the creative process and therefor an area where simplification / streamlining / intuitive UI's could help immensely. Click > Pick > Go. That's the way to go with color! Also, start unifying color process picking / interfaces across apps. If Adobe wants individual users to use multiple apps more frequently, then unifying the color picking process would help.


                            I would also like to drag a swatch from one app to the other. I create a website, create the colors. Then need to work on some brochures with the same colors for CI's sake. Why not just drag them from one app to the other. I think that is more intuitive then what is possible now. The whole thing with swatches in the cloud is a little to cumbersome for my taste (but that's just my opinion). The first file I create for my client usually becomes the reference point for all other files for that same client / CI (in terms of colors and fonts anyway). Not the cloud. My guess is, many work the same way. And with 20 Gigs cloud storage offered by Adobe, I think it will stay that way for some time...

                            • 11. Re: HSB color picker
                              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Simplify it.

                              InDesign's color requirements are considerably more complex than an image editing application like Photoshop or a web app where the document has a single color mode and color management is easier. When I pick HSB color in Photoshop I know when I apply it, it will simply get converted into my document's single profiled color space (which is never HSB).


                              Over in ID things get more complex because I can have a mix of color modes on the page and different output considerations. So if I could pick HSB 5|32|36 do I want a color managed process color conversion into the document's CMYK color profile? Do I want an RGB equivalent to be converted to the print space later downstream or used for screen display? Do I want Pantone Metallic 8540 which needs to output to a spot plate for one print version, a process simulation for another, and exported to RGB for a screen?


                              Or there's HSB 0|0|0 black. What does that mean? Should it be a color managed conversion into the printer's maximum total ink black point i.e., 75|68|67|90 CMYK? Do I want black only 0|0|0|100 for text? A "rich black" build 45|35|35|100 for large print areas? Or is it only for screens—0|0|0 RGB? I could go on, but I don't think you will get simple. An HSB interface on the Color Picker maybe, but I don't see how you could have HSB swatches, which has probably stopped it from happening.

                              • 12. Re: HSB color picker
                                happybana0 Level 1

                                I can't believe this is still not being addressed. This, among many other horrendous affronts against the user and performance issues, are why I avoid InDesign whenever possible. I would rather use Illustrator for almost any layout need (with the exception of a book) than InDesign.

                                • 13. Re: HSB color picker
                                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  In InDesign I use the L view in Lab—the interface is similar to the intuitive HSB  H view that everyone likes, but with hue and brightness swapped.


                                  Selecting Hue is simply a rotation around the standard ROYGBIV color wheel:



                                  And Saturation is a move from the center to the outside:



                                  • 14. Re: HSB color picker
                                    jane-e Adobe Community Professional

                                    I have heard this request many times before.

                                    Please submit a feature request that will be read by the InDesign team so they will know it is important to us:



                                    • 15. Re: HSB color picker
                                      rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      I have heard this request many times before


                                      Yes for at least 10 years—usually that means it's not going to happen.


                                      Sure seems like there's a color management reason for it. InDesign handles color very differently than AI, PS, or DW—it can have native objects filled or stroked with 3 different color spaces on a page. That's not possible with the other apps, which have a single document color mode, so there's never any ambiguity about how the HSB representation will be converted when you use it in the document. (see my #11)


                                      In ID the dialog would at least have to have some extra complexity. There would need to be a query somewhere that asks the user which color mode the chosen color should be converted to—there's no HSB color mode in any of the apps, it's an abstract representation of color.