Color swatch

6 Steps to Build a Sublimation Swatch Chart in CorelDraw

David Gross is president of Condé Systems Inc., of Mobile, Ala. For the past 24 years, he has devoted to advancing sublimation technology. He can be reached by email at

At the heart of our system is an undocumented feature in CorelDraw. This Visual Basic macro will take any CorelDraw color palette and build a printable swatch chart from it. This method is much better than printing an existing color chart because we are using a real CorelDraw palette composed of existing vector colors. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Select a color palette (I’ll use the Default RGB palette in this example): Window > Color Palettes > Default RGB palette. This will “dock” the palette on the right side of your screen.
  2. Choose the page size for each swatch page: Layout > Page setup. Make your pages as large as your printing equipment and/or available substrate(s) can handle. Suppliers offer a variety of substrates that are big enough for large charts.
  3. So that this larger page size becomes our default size, select Tools > Save Settings As Default.
  4. Go to pull-down menu and select Tools > Visual Basic > Play. Once the Visual Basic menu pops-up, click on the Macros In option, select All Standard Projects, select Corel Macros Create Color Swatch, then click Run. Once the Create ColorSwatch menu pops up, select your palette then click on the Print box to include brief reference notes in the header of your chart (printer, printer settings, inks, paper, substrate, color management setting and transfers details); although it looks like you can only type in a small amount of information, you have almost unlimited space. This information will appear at the top left of the charts when printed. Over time, you will not be able to remember what settings were used to print and transfer the charts, so do not skip this step. Click OK.
  5. Once generated, save as .cdr files for future reference and reprinting.
  6. Print the swatch-chart page(s) and transfer to the desired substrate. Make sure your printer is healthy by doing a nozzle check before and after printing. Note that the name of the color is printed below the swatch. This will be your way of making sure you select the right color back in CorelDraw. I have a set of color charts transferred onto fabric and various other substrates due to the fact that colors will look slightly different on each.

—David Gross, Condé Systems