Symbol Palette Control panel


Interactive panel which allows users to create multiple color palettes associated with a Symbol and then switch between these palettes.
Color palettes can be copied (cloned), modified with color effects, reorganized, saved as files or loaded from a saved file.
Palettes can also be optimized, by unifying the color of similar swatches, thus reducing the overall number of colors.
Color swatches can be modified individually, grouped, regrouped or excluded from color swapping.

Color palette information is written as metadata into the Symbol Library item.

Note: Symbol Palette Control requires Flash CS5 or newer, i.e. does not work in Flash 8 or CS3.

Suggested use

1. Multiple color palettes
Any situation where it would be useful to have multiple color variations of an item.
In character animation it can be different color palettes for day and night or color variations that distinguish multiple characters based on the same design.

Example: Fox has default orange and white color palette, but also has a variation with cool bluish tinted colors for night-time scenes.
If the night-time scene is a separate document (FLA), the character colors are simply swapped by using Symbol Palette Control panel.
If the night-time scene shares the same document with day-time scenes, the Fox character symbol is first cloned using Duplicate Symbol Recursive and then the duplicate's color palette is switched to 'Night'.

2. Color optimization / reduction
Another usage scenario would be color optimization, when reduced palette is preferred, but originally the design was created using many nuances.

Example: Fox has 12 different variations of orange in a multitude of elements.
A palette is generated and then the closest orange colors are separated in groups where the nuance that will be kept is put (for easy identification) as the first color of each group.
The palette is then cloned and the clone is modified. Clicking on the small [ = ] button at the end of a group will invoke the Unify Colors dialog. When pressing OK all orange colors in the group will become the same as the selected one.
Then the Master palette is swapped with the modified clone. The set is after that deleted and a new set can be generated which will have fewer unique orange colors.

Where does it work?

One selected Symbol in the Library

Palette Sets are created and managed within the panel itself, but stored as metadata within the Symbol or exported as files.

EDAP Tools shortcut

n/a; open Symbol Palette Control panel from Window menu > Other Panels (Extensions in Animate) > Symbol Palette Control


Click on swatch to select
Double-click on swatch to edit color
Double-click on group to rename
Drag swatch to reorder
Drag swatch to Bin to delete

Buttons, Dropdowns

Full description

SPC panel

Symbol name when palette is loaded. In brackets – number of swatches in the loaded Master Palette.
Menu with various selection options:

  • Set Current Palette – allows to manually tell the panel which palette is 'current'
  • Set Master Palette – allows to manually change the Master Palette
  • Delete Palette Set – deletes the currently loaded set
  • Delete All Sets – deletes all palette sets from the current document
  • Import Set – imports a saved palette set from file
  • Export Set – exports a palette set to file
  • Clear Panel – clears the panel

Main panel area where color palettes appear:

  • Palette name and indicator in brackets which one is 'current'. A button to expand/collapse a palette.
  • Swatch area. Swatches can be reorganized in groups and groups can be excluded from swapping by removing the checkmark in front of their name. (Double-click on the group name to edit it); [ + ] button at the end of groups in Master to add a swatch; [ = ] button at the end of groups in other palettes to unify colors.
  • Buttons to add a Group, copy the palette or rename it. On the right a “…” button which opens the Color Effects dialog. Color effects can be applied selectively to certain groups and cannot be applied to the 'current' palette.

Buttons at the bottom:

  • Generate / Palette Set – generates a Palette Set (or loads an existing set) for the currently selected symbol in the Library. If no selection is present, but there are Palette Sets present in the Library and dialog pops out, allowing users to choose what to load.
  • Swap palettes – pops a dialog which allows the user to choose new palette for symbol
  • Find selected color – when one color is selected, the button becomes active and when pressed will display information about the color in Output
  • Pick color to identify swatch – when pressed a mini-dialog with color picker appears; a color can be picked on Stage and upon pressing OK, its swatch will be identified and selected in the current palette.
  • Bin – function both as a button deleting the currently selected swatch in the Master palette or as a hot spot where a swatch can be dropped to be deleted.


Symbol Palette Control requires Flash CS5 or newer, i.e. does not work in Flash 8 or CS3.

Known issues

Colors in Groups may not be processed during palette swap: Shapes in groups may fail to be re-colored, depending on the content of the Group and also how deep it is nested.
Avoid using Groups and use Unions, Layers and Symbols instead.

Color Pickers do not work on Mac OS Mojave, Catalina or newer: Under certain circumstances color pickers get blocked by the OS and users are unable to use them to pick colors from the Stage.
To enable color picker, go to Security & Privacy settings > Accessibility and make sure that Animate is allowed to control your computer. (Click below to see instructions.)

Enable color picker Mac OS

Video demonstration

All our videos are 1080p. If for some reason full HD is not available here, try watching them on YouTube.

Time Stamps:
00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:33 – Where SPC is; How it works; Creating a palette
00:03:59 – Selecting swatches; Finding colors; Identifying swatches
00:05:35 – Organizing palettes; Groups; Deleting swatches
00:06:22 – Duplicating palettes; Corresponding swatches
00:07:04 – Applying color effects to palettes
00:09:39 – Editing individual swatches
00:10:18 – Swapping palettes
00:10:44 – Saving palette to a file
00:11:13 – Setting current palette in case of mismatch
00:12:46 – Refining a palette
00:14:38 – Saving document with palette; Loading existing palette
00:15:20 – Refining a palette
00:16:28 – Excluding a group from swapping
00:17:33 – Creating a deep copy of character
00:19:04 – Finding and isolating specific colors
00:22:19 – Creating palettes for a prop
00:23:55 – Optimizing a palette; Reducing the number of colors
00:27:31 – Unifying colors

This panel is part of the Flanimate Power Tools package. Get the latest version from Downloads.

Hello! I've been testing this feature and am really impressed with how it manages color palettes. I wanted to share an observation for a possible improvement.

When using the `Swap Palettes` function in the Symbol Palette Control Panel, I noticed that the Paint Brush gets bypassed and isn't processed. It's smooth sailing with Animate's built-in styles like Hairline, Solid, Dashed, Dotted, Ragged, Stippled, and Hatched, which is great!

On the color front, I understand there are two types of Paint Brushes. It would be fantastic if the Symbol Palette Control Panel could accommodate the second type of Paint Brush.
– TYPE 1 is preset with several colors and doesn't allow post-style color adjustments.
– TYPE 2 is more like an alpha brush in a single color, offering the flexibility to tweak the color post-style. It would really take the palette management up a notch!

Hi Hoon,
Thanks for your comment and the kind words about our work!

Unfortunately, the Paint Brush strokes that come in the Brush Library or any Custom Brushes are out of reach.
Many new features, introduced by the Animate team after the name change were never exposed to the API and cannot be accessed and modified via extensions.

If you use Modify > Shape > Convert Lines To Fills on those Paint Brush strokes they will become normal fills and will be visible to Symbol Palette Control.

Years ago we did request access to those features. Our requests were ignored.

Oh, that's a bit of a bummer. But for sure, the `Convert Lines To Fills` workflow seems like a good route to explore!

Yes, it's not ideal, but is a viable workaround.

We can always hope that one day personnel changes in the Animate team may lead to better support of the API. During the Flash years new features were always added at the time of release.

Leave a Reply