New PANTONE libraries

Pantone, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, Incorporated, and world-renowned authority on color, has recently made available the PANTONE PLUS Digital Libraries Installer, a free utility that allows you to integrate the PANTONE PLUS Libraries quickly and easily into the Adobe Creative Suite.

The PANTONE PLUS SERIES line of publications is a major enhancement to the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® and retains all of the previously existing PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors.

How to obtain the new libraries

To obtain the new libraries, download the appropriate installer for your operating system from this page on Pantone’s website:

Please read the important information provided on that download page, as well as in the PANTONE PLUS Color Library Technical Notes which can be downloaded from the same page as a PDF document.

46 Responses to New PANTONE libraries

  1. Lisa says:

    Pantone’s download page gives you system requirements, however the one thing it doesn’t indicate (and neither do you) is what version of Adobe CS is required. Will these new Pantone Plus Digital Libraries work with Adobe CS3, CS4 and CS5? Or do they only work with CS5? Not everyone is up to date with CS apps.

    • Bob Bringhurst says:

      I believe the libraries work for CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, and CS5, but I haven’t confirmed it.

      • Josephine Turquet says:

        i have just tried to install on CS4 for a PC and the message comes up that it cannot be done and I need an upgrade. this is surely outrageous, misuse by Pantone, and Adobe.
        Do you have evidence to the contrary?

  2. Timothy says:

    The installer includes CS–CS5. No additional work required.

  3. David says:

    Great news – I’ve been waiting for this for a while. Thanks for the update

  4. Dave Courtemanche says:

    I’ve had some issues with Illustrator files with a placed monotone .psd using a regular Pantone color giving a “The file is not readable” error and not opening. I have to open the .psd file, change the color to the Pantone Plus library color and save. Then it will open. Also, the Pantone Metallics have been replaced by the Pantone Premium Metallics – and the old colors are not in it. That kinda sucked for preexisting artwork.

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  6. Kay says:

    I installed and the Color Bridge shows up in Illustrator but not in Photoshop palettes…

  7. Jeff says:

    There are 6 of us here on CS5.5, and we’ve installed the ‘+’ Series download patch whatever from Pantone, but we can’t get the plus series to show up in our swatch palettes. We could, however do it fine in CS4. Anyone else have this problem? Is this patch compatible with CS5.5?

  8. Jeff says:

    I’ve just registered one of my PMS books to get the free color manager software to see if that version of the swatch upgrade works better, but it still hasn’t updated any of my CS5.5 swatch palette.

  9. Jen says:

    Also having the same problem with CS5.5 – none of the pantone plus swatches are showing up in the adobe applications after running both the digital library installer and pantone colour manager can’t export swatches to applications.

    Anybody find a solution yet?

    • Kevin says:

      I had the same problem, I have found that loggin on to my mac as admin not as my user and trying to export from there into each CS program seems to work. The problem with that is you have to do each fan separately for each of ai, indd and psd. This is taken a while to do and I need to do this across a number of mac’s. Also the new Pantone Plus swatch palette doesn’t sit in the Colour Books in ai it sits in the Swatches menu outside (weird).

  10. Katie says:

    I’m also having trouble loading these new swatches in CS5.5. I don’t have any other version at work and I can’t use the swatches my client picked out. Very frustrating!!

  11. Sandy Black says:

    Your Adobe CS5.5 suite must be installed in the Applications folder same as the Pantone Color Manager which will only install in the Applications folder. My Hard drive is partitioned into System, Apps and Storage (old PC habit)

  12. Alan says:

    Had Tech Support at my office swap out the Pantone Plus library for the old library and now my “unreadable” file opens! So much for progress! (And the color in question was PMS 1605 C, which is in the Plus library, but…well, who knows…)
    p.s. why does it look like the Plus colors are Lab colors instead of CMYK?

  13. Darlene says:

    Since I’ve uploaded the new swatches in CS5, I’ve had nothing but trouble. In the color palette it will only list process DS-000 colors. I need to use a client-specified color and can’t find it. Think I will try upgrading to CS5.5 and I will see what Pantone recommends. This is very frustrating!

  14. Alfredo Quiroz says:

    Alfredo Quiroz (from Mexico City) _ The solution for + series is simply: add the Pantone Library manually. If you have CS4, copy the new PANTONE .acb files from ColorBooks swatches Folder from any program (ex. Illustrator) and paste in same Folder of each CS 5.5 program. Or if you dont have CS4, ask someone to work with it to copy that folder and import these libraries swatches from each CS5.5 program.
    Stop suffering!

  15. matt says:

    I seem to have the same issue…. PANTONE® PLUS Digital Libraries for Adobe doesn’t work to get the new colors into my CS5.5 color books, nor does installing Pantone Color manager. I would try loading the swatch books manually, but I can’t find anywhere to download the individual .acb files. Has anyone figured out a way to make this work. I wrote this as a question to Pantone and have not heard back yet.

  16. matt says:

    With the help of another designer, we figured it out on our end.

    We installed the PANTONE® PLUS Digital Libraries for Adobe to an external hard drive — that got it around from trying to put them in the “right place” and messing up, so all the .acb files just installed into a loose folder labeled tmp. We took those new Pantone+ acb files and replaced the old Pantone acb files back on our machine’s hard drive. Ta-da!

    An example of how to find/replace your old color book acb files in Illustrator would be, go into the application’s folder > presets > swatches > Color Books… remove the old, put in the new.

  17. Cedric says:

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  19. Jen says:

    So another way we’ve figured out to solve this problem for Pantone Plus in Illustrator is….

    Open pantone colour manager, have the fan deck showing which you want to add to your Illustrator. Lets say ‘Solid Coated’ as an example. You can pick the fan deck from the little book icon in the bottom right hand corner.

    Then go to ‘File’, ‘Save As’ and from the ‘File Type’ drop down menu pick Adobe Swatch Exchange file (ase) and save the file to your desk top. Do this process for all the fan decks so you have all the files on your desk top and put them in a new folder called ‘Pantone Plus’.

    Then copy this folder into the following location Applications > Adobe Illustrator CS5.1 > Presets > en_GB > Swatches. You’ll see other folders of swatches just drop your ‘Pantone Plus’ folder in there. Restart Illustrator and then when you open the swatch library in Illustrator you will see ‘Pantone Plus’ with all the other swatch options. Note it is not within ‘Colour Books’. It sits outside as mentioned on previous comments.

    • Laura Ramirez-Gonzalez says:

      Thank you SO MUCH!! That solved the problem. What an extremely inconvenient mess they’ve created (Adobe and Pantone)!

  20. stevenvisual says:

    I recently upgraded to the pantone+ library to find solid coated and solid uncoated colors have a different appearance (the coated appear darker than the previous library and the uncoated appear lighter and washed out). In the previous version coated and uncoated had a common appearance.
    When opening a file created with the previous color books, the visualization is consistent between the c and u libraries. The problem is, when an object is copied and pasted into a new document, pantone+ will apply the new unique appearances of c and u colors (which in my current situation is not desirable).
    Anybody know a way around this?

    • SuzieQ says:

      Stevenvisual – I’m having the same problem and it is incredibly frustrating. All of my old files (created using the embedded pantone swatches in Illustrator) maintain their appearance. However, when elements from these old files are copy/pasted into a new document with the Pantone+ swatches loaded, the appearance of the color changes – usually it looks much darker on the new file. (The PMS # is the same, both are Solid Coated, yet somehow the color changes between the original files and the new files using Pantone+).

      I thought the purpose of Pantone numbers was to have consistency in colors. There must be a way to get the colors to show up as they used to, while still being able to use the new colors that have been added to the Pantone+ series.

      I hope someone is able to help us solve this problem. It really is a terrible mess as-is.

  21. Jeff D says:

    Oh, Pantone. Making our lives so much easier with this need to move files around on our computers instead of installing them in the right place, then having colors look inconsistent.

    As for the color inconsistency, this is something that I always found with their color libraries, but only in on-screen view. In fact, I’ve never understood why they even have an uncoated, coated, and matte library for use on the computer. It’s the same number, and makes no difference to printers, and should have zero impact on the final, printed piece.

    The only issue is in how they look on-screen. So I’ve always picked one system (typically coated because it’s more saturated) and stuck with it. When the piece is printed, it should make no difference. And if the final piece is intended to be viewed on screen, we ought to use RGB conversions, rather than Pantone swatches.

    That said, I can’t attest to a change within the coated or uncoated family between Pantone and Pantone+. I’ve only just now even figured out how the hell to install the + libraries (thanks to the posts on this site!)

  22. Mark Bunger says:

    I recently updated my CS5 creative suite with the Pantone Plus library. I am now unable to open Illustrator files that have placed .psd files with spot colors. I am not sure if it is every spot color, that causes the problem, but it is really irrelevant, as I receive files from many different sources and I can’t use software that will not open certain files.

    I have reinstalled the Pantone books that came with the original CS5 suite and the problem is gone.

    Recently Pantone seems to have lost touch with the needs of it’s primary user. I have had to purchase several new Pantone books in the last couple of years and have nothing but confused customers and files that won’t open to show for it.

    An example of the confusion can easily be seen by looking at the process equivalents for instance for Pantone 200 C, in just the last few years, you can get at least 4 completely different CMYK formulas for the exact same color, depending on weather you use the “Color Bridge” book the “Plus Series” book or Illustrator CS5 or CS4 or Photoshop CS5, etc. etc.

    Unfortunately recently the Pantone system has become more of a burden, than a useful tool.

  23. Kat says:

    The link you referred to at the top of the page doesn’t work, says server cannot be found… anyone know where I can get the Pantone Plus updates please?! I’m using CS5…


  24. Ben says:

    Good day,

    I am having the same problem (By Mark Bunger – 9:16 PM on January 12, 2012 Reply

    I recently updated my CS5 creative suite with the Pantone Plus library. I am now unable to open Illustrator files that have placed .psd files with spot colors. I am not sure if it is every spot color, that causes the problem, but it is really irrelevant, as I receive files from many different sources and I can’t use software that will not open certain files.

    I have reinstalled the Pantone books that came with the original CS5 suite and the problem is gone.


    How do I reinstall the old color books?


  25. Liam says:

    It seems that a manual install is the only way, I found this page that explains how to do it.
    If I’m missing something let me know, but this is the only way I have found that works…

  26. Kristie says:

    I also found that the link at the top of the page no longer works (mentioned By Kat – 9:26 PM on January 15, 2012). I’ve sent a question to Pantone but haven’t heard back yet. Has anyone else been able to use that link or to find the location of the installer on Pantone’s website?
    Thanks, Kristie

  27. Ben says:

    Hi all,

    Here is my solution, I had to find a machine that had CS5 installed with no Pantone + libraries, then manually copy all of those color books to the machine with the Pantone + libraries
    I kept a folder of the + libraries to swap out if needed again in a pinch. Terrible that there is no backward compatibility! shame on you pantone
    – Ben

  28. Snailz says:

    Seriously, what does it take for Adobe and Pantone to fix this with a solution on THEIR end so it just loads like good software SHOULD LOAD. OBVIOUSLY it is a problem that has been on going for TWO YEARS. BUY A CLUE. We should be doing our work, NOT YOURS.

  29. raul says:

    Hi, I have problems with the new libraries of Pantone Plus Series.
    I downloaded the Pantone Color Manager and the Pantone Plus Digital Libraries… but when I want to select them from any Adobe application they doesn’t appear. Is like they doesn’t exist. I have the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite (cs5.5).

    Can anyone help me please? I need to use these libraries as soon as possible.
    Thank you very much.

  30. raul says:

    Hey, I realized that Liam solved this problem doing it manually. I tried and IT WORKS!!!!!

  31. The_Designer says:

    Simple solution is to copy the old color books to a folder on the desktop and then upgrade to pantone plus. Once installed just merge contents of the color books. Placing the old files into the same color books folder located inside the application folder. This should allow you to open old files along with using the new colors. Little more leg work on our end but you only do it once. Did this for my design studio and never ran into problem.

  32. ryan says:

    I had the same problem with the Pantone Plus library updating in CS 5.5. Below is the explaination from Pantone. Just follow the directions and it works. Swatches are listed in the “Open Swatch Library” palette instead of in the “Color Books” dropdown box.
    PANTONE Color Manager does not ‘automatically’ update the libraries; rather, it provides you with access to the libraries for export into your applications.

    The steps to do this are fully documented within the online help system installed with the software, and accessible from the Help menu. You will find them on Page 11 therein. Here’s a brief description:

    1. If your target applications are open, close them.
    2. Launch PANTONE Color Manager
    3. Go to View/Fandeck and select the desired library to export.*
    4. Go to File/Export/select your application/choose L*a*b* for print output or sRGB for Web design **
    5. The library is exported and is now accessible from within your target application.

  33. Chris says:

    My simple solution was to rename the three application folders from CS5.5 or 5.1 to simply end in CS5 (i.e. Adobe Photoshop CS 5.1 > Adobe Photoshop CS 5) ran the installer again, Pantone+ installs, then rename the Application folders back again.

    I assumed the installer was looking for those folders. Again, just rename the folders (not the app) and just long enough for the installer to complete.

  34. This Adobe help file for Illustrator has links to the “traditional” PMS libraries for InDesign and Illustrator, and explains how to copy swatch libraries manually.

  35. pj says:

    I have CS3 on Mac 10.4.11. I cannot afford a new system. Can I upgrade new pantone colors with what I currently have?

  36. Alicia says:

    I have CS5 and someone told me that Pantone Colour Manager came with. Is this at this.

  37. Hanna says:

    Hi, I am a bit confused. Can someone tell me if, for example, Pantone 2218 UP is a spot colour or a CMYK colour? I followed the threads above and have successfully installed the export from the PANTONE Color Manager in the Presets folder in Adobe Illustrator. However, I cannot load Pantone 2218 ‘U’ but only ‘UP’. Where do I find/upgrade to library of swatches with one of the new Pantone colours (in this instance Pantone 2218 ‘U)’?