How To Fix Gray Colors in Illustrator

Illustrator is an incredible program, but you might struggle to adjust the colors. Regardless of the color you chose, Illustrator sometimes changes your choice to grayscale. Fortunately, this pesky problem can be easily remedied by following a few relatively simple steps.

How To Fix Gray Colors in Illustrator

Read on to find out how to fix this issue and how color schemes work with Adobe Illustrator.

How to Fix Illustrator Grayscale Problem

There are a few solutions you can try These include checking the color setting on the file, using the Swatches panel and, if all else fails, you can completely disable the grayscale option.

Check Color Setting on the File

The first thing you’ll want to check is the color setting. It’s possible you may have created the file in grayscale mode. To check whether this is the case, follow these few steps:

  1. Go to “File. “
  2. Click on the “Document Color Mode” and check whether it’s set to “RGB,” “Grayscale,” or “CMYK Color.” Click on the color that you want.

Before you make your choice, you’ll need to know what the colors are and how they’re different. RGB stands for red, green, and blue. These are the primary colors of light. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. These are primary pigment colors. Grayscale is a set of colors comprising a spectrum of gray, neutral colors. It’s a trendy, popular choice because it projects a particular feeling from the image. It’s more sophisticated and helps informative content stand out.

Keep in mind that your color choices matter depending on what you’re creating. You’ll want to choose RBG if you’re creating graphics for online content. Why? Because it’s the standard used by devices like monitors and other screen-based software like Illustrator. However, if you’re making graphics for print media, you’ll want to work in CMYK because it’s standard for printers

Once you’re ready, you can choose a color scheme (RGB or CMYYK) that meets your preferences. You can also tinker around with the HSB. HSB allows you to change hue, saturation, and brightness. Hue refers to the qualities that compromise a color, saturation is the intensity of the color, and brightness is pretty straightforward, the illumination of the color. Play around with the settings to see what works for the image you are creating.

You can also convert grayscale images to color if you want.

  1. Go to “Edit.”
  2. Click on “Edit Colors.”
  3. Then you’ll choose “Convert to RGB” or “CMYK,” depending on what color mode you need.

Illustrator makes it simple to convert images to color. It’s done in two simple steps.

Change the Color in the Swatches Panel

The Swatches panel allows you to change colors.

  1. Head on over to the Swatches panel. Click on a swatch and enter a value in the color panel.
  2. Click “Okay” if you want to change the color of an object using a swatch.

The colors will now be available to you whenever you want to use it.

Disabling Grayscale

You can disable grayscale all together. Try this if the other options haven’t worked or if you’re not really interested in using grayscale.

Keep this in mind: if you decide to try this option, you need to save your file in the grayscale format first. Failing to do so means all your work in grayscale will be lost, and you’ll have to start over.

Once everything is saved, you can move on to disabling grayscale by following the steps below.

  1. Open your design.
  2. Click on the “Edit” button to see “Edit Colors” under that.
  3. A new box will open on the right with various options. Select “Convert to RGB.”
  4. Go to the “Window” option at the app’s top and select “Color” from the drop-down menu. That will open a box on the right-hand side and allow you to choose your design’s colors.
  5. You’ll see a box with three lines in the top right-hand corner. Click on that, and a box will appear. Select “RGB.”
  6. You’re ready to click on your design and use the colors window to choose a color you’d like.

That’s all you have to do to get out of grayscale. Remember that if you prefer to instead use CMYK, then choose that option.


Why do the colors look gray and faded after printing?

Try the “Print Preview” option. Selecting this option will show whether the colors are appearing or not. If they are, there’s something wrong with the printer or your printer settings rather than your color setup.

Why aren’t my documents printing in color but only grayscale?

Make sure your printer is working as it should. You can test whether it’s working properly by printing another document in color. Check to see if there’s an issue with that. Also, make sure your drivers are up-to-date. There should be various options under the ‘color management’ section of your print options screen if your drivers are updated properly.

Can I change the color setting back to grayscale?

If you decide after changing your document or image to a color you don’t like, don’t worry. You can change it back to grayscale if you want. To do so, head over to the edit option on the document and convert it to grayscale. Depending on your preference, you can also play around with the brightness to make it darker or lighter.

Fixing Your Grayscale Problem

Illustrator offers various color schemes to imbue the images with rich shades. You can try the different options to see how they look when applied. That said, it’s difficult when the grayscale continues to appear. But all is not lost. If you’re experiencing problems with Illustrator and grayscale, it’s easy to fix the problem. You can disable grayscale or check to ensure that the file isn’t set to that option, and finally, you can use the Swatches panel to change it too. There are many color schemes you can choose from, so make sure you have the settings correct on the file. And don’t worry. If you prefer grayscale to color, you can easily change it back.

How did you fix your grayscale problem? Did the tips and tricks in this article help you? Let us know in the comments section below.

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