InDesign’s Eye Dropper tool has a lot of power packed into a seemingly straightforward tool.
The Eye Dropper tool in InDesign is quite unique. It can actually apply colour. Use it to click on a colour. You’ll notice that the tool icon flips over. That’s the loaded eye dropper. It drops the colour into the new shape.
Note that InDesign’s Eye Dropper is not a pixel-based tool. To prove it, sample a gradient. It will not sample the spot where you clicked, like Photoshop would do. It works like Illustrator does. It will sample the whole gradient.
Beyond the Basics
To go beyond the tool’s basic capabilities, you can change its settings. Double-click on the Eye Dropper to open its settings dialogue. You can see that it can sample much more than just colours.
You can see that you have the option of sampling many elements on the page. The default settings are good for most users most of the time.
If you change the settings of the Eye Dropper as shown below, you can sample the size of objects on the page.
You’ll generally want this setting turned off. It could come in useful in very specific cases.
Sample Text Styling
The Eye Dropper allows you to sample text styling. Simply select the text you want to affect, then click on the text you want it to look like. It will even pick up its style sheets.
Sample Anything on the Screen
You can sample any colour on the screen from InDesign. Go to your Swatches panel. Option-click on the New Swatch button.
Switch the colour mode drop-down to RGB. You’ll see an eye dropper appear at the bottom of the dialogue. Click and hold on it and drag around the screen.
Colour Theme Tool
The Colour Theme tool is where the magic really happens. You can drag across multiple items on the page to quickly pick up their colours.
It allows you to click at one spot on a photo to create a series of swatches based on the colours in that photo. Note how they appear in the theme panel as soon as we drag. All you need to do is click to add them to your Swatches panel.
The process is just as simple with a photo. In this case, we just click on the photo. You have the option to choose a different theme in the drop-down menu.
As you can see, InDesign’s Eye Dropper is a way more versatile tool than is immediately apparent. Now you know how to use this tool to its full potential.