Working with color harmonies in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6
by Suzanne Smith
Color styles can be combined into groups called harmonies. A harmony allows you to link color styles
relationships and modify them together as a set. By editing color styles in a harmony, you can
quickly create a variety
of alternate color schemes by shifting the colors together, or you can alter the color composition
of your artwork in
You can create a color harmony from scratch or from the colors of an existing object.
This tutorial will teach you:
- how to create new color harmonies from color swatches
- how to associate the colors in a color harmony with objects within the document
- how to create color harmonies from existing objects
- how to edit the colors within a color harmony
- how to exclude colors from a color harmony
- how to create a gradient color harmony
- how to export your color styles and harmony folders as a CorelDRAW style sheet
for future use
For additional information on color harmonies, see:
- Help > Help Topics > Templates and Styles > Creating and applying color styles
- Help > Video Tutorials > Working with... > Working with Color Styles
- Help > Guidebook > Chapter 6: Color Basics > Working with color styles and harmonies
Creating a color harmony from scratch
- To create color styles and color harmonies you must first open the Color Styles docker by
clicking Window > Dockers > Color
Styles (or press CTRL + F6).
- In the Color Styles docker, click the New color harmony button
and choose New Color Harmony from the drop-menu (see Figure 1).
- Drag a color swatch from any open palette to the harmony
folder (see Figure 2).
- To continue adding colors to the harmony folder that you just created, drag additional
swatches directly onto the harmony folder icon (see Figure 3).
Note: Dragging color swatches to the lower panel but not onto the harmony folder
icon will result in
additional harmony folders being created.
Associating colors from the new color harmony with objects in your document
- Choose a color swatch from the harmony folder and drag it to one or more
objects (see Figure 4). This will “link” the harmony color with that object, so that it will be
automatically updated whenever you edit the harmony colors.
Creating a color harmony from existing objects
- Drag an object to the bottom part of the gray area in the Color
Styles docker (see Figure 5).
- In the Create Color Styles dialog box, enable the Group color styles
into harmonies check
box and drag the slider all the way to the left until 1 appears in the box (see
Figure 6). This will generate color styles from the object’s colors and group the color styles
into a single
harmony folder (see Figure 7).
Editing a color harmony
When you edit a color harmony, you can change all color styles simultaneously by preserving the
relationship between them, or you can modify individual color styles within the harmony.
This color harmony was created by dragging a clipart object from the document window to the color
harmony folder (aka, the bottom part of the gray area) in the Color Styles docker (see Figure 8).
- To modify the colors in a harmony, click on any of the color selector rings and
then rotate the rings in the color wheel (see Figure 9).
- To change the value of one color only, click on a color selector swatch (in
either the color harmony folder or the Harmony Editor). The
corresponding color selector ring will become highlighted within the color wheel so that you can
adjust the color.
Note: To select all colors again, click an area outside of the color wheel.
Using the Harmony Editor, you can experiment with different color schemes. By
changing one color, you can also find other colors that go well with that color.
Applying precise color values to a harmony color style
After selecting a specific color from the harmony folder, the Color Editor provides
several options for editing the color. You can use the eyedropper to sample a new
color from within the CorelDRAW workspace, or from the desktop. You can also use the various
color sliders, color
viewers, and color palettes to pick a precise color (see Figure 10).
Excluding colors from a color harmony folder
There might be situations where you want to protect certain object colors.
For example, in the graphic below, you might want to protect the brown color of the tree trunk but
modify the remaining leaf colors in a color harmony folder. There are two options you can use to
- The first option is to drag the brown swatch to the top part of the
gray area in the Color Styles docker, which will remove the color from the harmony
folder and create an individual color style (see Figure 11).
- The second option is to select the brown swatch and click on the
Trashcan icon to completely remove the color from the color harmony folder (see
Gradient color harmonies
CorelDRAW allows you to create a special type of color harmony called a gradient. A gradient
consists of a master color style and a number of shades of that color. In most of the available
models and palettes, the derivative styles share the same hue as the master color style but have
different saturation and brightness levels.
Note: In the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM and custom spot color palettes, the master
and the derivative styles are linked to one another but have different tint levels.
To create a gradient color harmony
- In the Color Styles docker, select a color style swatch (or
drag a color swatch from an open palette to the bottom part of the gray
area in the docker).
- Click the New color harmony button and choose New Gradient
(see Figure 12).
- In the New Gradient dialog box, accept the default settings, and click
The New Gradient dialog box allows you to specify the number and type of shades that you
want to create from the selected master color style (see Figure 13).
When you change the hue of the master color style in a gradient, you automatically update the
related color styles, based on the new hue and the original saturation and brightness values (see
Figures 14 and 15).
Assigning gradient color harmonies to objects
After you create a gradient, you can apply it to the design elements in your document.
- Simply drag a color swatch from the harmony folder to an object (see Figure
You can use the Harmony Editor in the Color Styles docker to preview your design in
schemes. Simply select the gradient folder, and then drag to rotate any of the
rings in the color wheel (see Figures 17 and 18).
Saving color styles and harmony folders as CorelDRAW style sheets
You can make styles and style sets available for use in other documents by exporting them to a
CorelDRAW style sheet (.cdss) file. A style sheet contains all the object styles, style sets, color
styles, and default object properties in the active document. You can also use styles and style sets
from other documents by importing the style sheet to which they were saved.
To export color styles and color harmony folders as a style sheet
- In the Color Styles docker, click the Import, export or
save defaults button, and choose Export Style Sheet (see Figure
- In the Export Style Sheet dialog box, type a name for your style sheet in the
File name box and
then click Export (see Figure 20).
- In the next Export Style Sheet dialog box, enable only the Color
styles check box, and click OK (see Figure 21).
To import color styles and color harmony folders
- In the Color Styles docker, click the Import, export or save
defaults button, and choose Import Style Sheet (see Figure 22).
- In the Import Style Sheet dialog box, navigate to the folder in which the style
select it, and click Import.
Note: You can share your harmony folders and color styles with other CorelDRAW X6 users, or
import them on another machine. Simply email the stylesheet.cdss file and then import it into
CorelDRAW X6 by following the above
Note: You can also import styles and style sets from an existing CorelDRAW file by
selecting the file
in the Import Style Sheet dialog box and clicking Import.