Adobe has pulled plug on Pantone

As of November 2022 you will no longer have access to Pantone colors except for 3 rather strange exceptions. All Spot colors have to be accessed through a Pantone Connect license. One of the more clunky interfaces I’ve seen in a looooong time.

Link from Adobe:

I particularly like this little note buried at the bottom under a tip arrow, so when your images come up grayscale, you’ll know why:

Illustrator files with place-linked Photoshop files that use spot channels render Gray/Black in Illustrator when colors from Color books are no longer available.

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For me, this will be inconvenient but not a huge issue. I’ll just need to rely more on my Pantone swatch books and, as needed, switch over to Affinity Designer to grab the CMYK approximations to enable me to create the swatches in Illustrator.

As time moves on, I’m using Pantone colors less and less. Even so, Adobe seems fully committed to shooting itself in the foot since I assume this is their decision, not Pantone’s.

yeah, well, I HAVE to use Pantone Connect.
Was just checking my subscription. This past year was $35.99. It renews in January 2023 for $63.24

Now to wait for next month and test to see if my Pantone Connect license autoloads spots when I need to print someone else’s placed photoshop file with spot channel. Or if I have to figure out what they did and fix it, every. single. time.

I would put this one on Pantone. They saw how lucrative a direct subscription model could be. I hope they both shot themselves in the foot.
Cannot wait to retire.

Probably have all pantone colours in files somewhere. Adobe bridge to the rescue

You still have access. I’m guessing until November 1. Get busy!

Illustrator files with place-linked Photoshop files that use spot channels render Gray/Black in Illustrator when colors from Color books are no longer available.

I’ve sent that in action. I used to get some client assets that used their own proprietary color books so they would come up black for me. I knew the CMYK mix and a PMS color so it was an easy fix.

This is really going to be a pain especially for the work I used to do. Third party plug-ins never fail to disappoint in my experience.

You could be right.

I suppose I tend to blame Adobe because they’ve never seemed to adequately support spot color libraries.

For example, they’ve always squirreled away Pantone swatches three, four, or five levels deep in their menu structure, as though spot colors were hardly ever used.

In addition, I’ve heard no plans for Affinity to remove Pantone color libraries from their apps, which leads me to suspect Pantone isn’t the problem.

I have no knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes at Adobe or Pantone. But my uninformed speculation leads me to wonder if Adobe wanted money from Pantone to include their libraries in their apps — money that Pantone wasn’t willing to pay since they saw little value in doing so. Then again, I haven’t a clue as to what I’m talking about. :wink:

The only Pantone books I’ve used are:

  • Pantone + CMYK Coated
  • Pantone + CMYK Uncoated

So this doesn’t affect me much — or i don’t think it does.

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You might be confusing those they’re keeping with those I’ve circled.


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Came across this today



so today (nov 1), i see these pantone libraries available in InDesign and Photoshop; if we only use these libraries, will we need to get the Pantone Connect license? does anyone know for sure?


i opened a docment that had a pantone color using the PANTONE+ Solid Uncoated library, and is showing correctly on screen (that is the library i use the most).

and how does this affect photoshop and illustrator? i’ve been trying to read up on all the articles i can, but its confusing!! can anyone put it in simple language…lol!


ps. and i didn’t any messages saying pantone colors have been replaced with black…

I haven’t seen a November CC update yet.
Putting that one off as long as possible…

As far as I know, these libraries you have highlighted will be included with Adobe CC applications going forward. That might change in the future. You won’t need PANTONE Connect to use colors in the included books you have in your screenshot.

You also don’t need PANTONE Connect to use any PANTONE books you already had installed, such as something downloaded via the old PANTONE color manager software. Keep a backup, and re-install/import the library at each update as necessary.

As far as Illustrator and probably InDesign - I don’t think you’ll need PANTONE Connect to open a file that uses a newer PANTONE color that isn’t present in the included libraries. It’s just a spot color. You could make a PANTONE spot color swatch yourself manually if needed. You’d have to approximate the color visually in the application, but any decent print supplier’s RIP should know what to look for by the spot color’s name.

I’m less certain about photoshop or how linking photoshop documents using PANTONE spot channels will work in InDesign or Illustrator after this. I’ve seen the references to spot colors “going black” but I haven’t looked into it enough to make any claims one way or another.

P.S. - regarding photoshop.
How many designers really know how to properly use spot color channels in photoshop to begin with? We have never ever received photoshop documents that actually use a spot channel even If the customer specs a PANTONE color in their brand guidelines etc. The photoshop files are always RGB or CMYK process color only. Nary a spot channel to be found.

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thank you! i think the same as what you wrote. and yes, true about photoshop…i only really use HEX or CMYK in there. i tend NOT to place photos with links to illustrator…its just not the way i learned, and in this case, maybe it will serve me well. :smiley:

Using spot colors in photoshop is very doable. It’s somewhat of a pain in that the spot channels behave like an overprint unless you’ve got a layer with a white fill in that location. Also, there’s not a way that I know of to do non-destructive editing within channels like you can with the layers themselves.

For reasons of complexity, it doesn’t appear to be very common knowledge among the aspiring/new designer crowd.

Hell, we didn’t even know how to do it correctly in our prepress department until a situation arose where we absolutely could not match colors from an older print technology on a newer one without getting proper spot channel output in a raster image.

The customer had always supplied artwork as working photoshop documents, and it was determined at the time that we absolutely under no conditions could allow the new digital print platform to output this customer’s color differently.

I ended up completely re-working the design in illustrator using the required PANTONE colors along with placed images for various things wherein certain effects like drop shadows needed to not only appear the same, but be the same color as previous.

The illustrator standard drop shadow and/or blur effects were not cutting it, so I endeavored to learn how to get the spot color output correctly within photoshop, and place those files into illustrator. It was a mess of trial and error, but the PDF output files printed flawlessly. The only visual difference between old-prints and new-prints was the finer, less grainy quality on the new prints.


Read the link I posted above:

Probably with the next update the only books that will be available in that menu will be:

Pantone + CMYK Coated
Pantone + CMYK Uncoated
Pantone + Metallic Coated

Those are not spot color swatches, nor are they very helpful.
That link also says, pantone spot colors use in previously made documents will be available.
so get busy making files with your favorite spots. :wink:

However, there is that obscure note at the bottom

Illustrator files with place-linked Photoshop files that use spot channels render Gray/Black in Illustrator when colors from Color books are no longer available.

This will be EXTREMELY inconvenient for legacy files we run often, where what I received came from very savvy designers (or regular designers that just try to find new ways to ruin my day.)
I have yet to find out if that gray/black substitute applies to Photoshop Duotones. If so, that will be very sad, indeed.

As for importing saved legacy color books, don’t put it past Adobe to block those in some way going forward. They may almost be required to do so by Pantone.

Ah yes. I missed the bit about the remaining books only being the useless CMYK books. Ant metallic, for some reason.

I knew I read the bit about the spot channels not working somewhere, and it was on that very linked page, several weeks ago. I wonder how that will affect Acrobat DC. It might look weird/bad in Illustrator, but it should still RIP correctly for digital workflows… I’d hope.

I’m sure it’ll apply to/affect duotones as well. I’m fairly certain a duotone psd is just a document consisting of two spot channels, assuming there are no other image data in the document.

If PANTONE requires that they break support for pre-existing exported color books, we’ll have some royally PO’d people around here at my workplace.

Just don’t update your InDesign.

You can download legacy versions of the software here

It’s legit from Adobe servers.

Odds on how long that link lasts? It really depends on how far Pantone has pulled that plug whether Adobe can offer these any more either.