How to Make a Gradient in InDesign

In this walkthrough, we've outlined how to make a gradient in InDesign, so that you can apply complex colors to your project. 

What is a Gradient?
Gradients are a blend between two (or more) colors or shades. They can include any colors that you like, and the transition point between colors is called a stop. Most gradients have a gradual blend, with the midpoint between colors at the swatch's center.   

How to Make a Gradient in InDesign
1. InDesign makes it easy to create a custom gradient swatch. First, go to the Swatches panel menu and select "New Gradient Swatch". A new dialog box will appear, with various gradient settings. Type a name for your swatch, and choose a gradient type (Linear or Radial).

2. In the same dialog box, select your gradient's first stop color. You can choose a color mode from the drop-down menu, and then tweak the various color values. If you choose the "Swatches" option, you'll be able to select an existing color in the Swatches panel.  

3. Select the next (or final) stop color in the gradient, and repeat step 2. Once you've chosen the stop colors, you can tweak their position with the Gradient Ramp. For more precise positioning, you can also select a stop color marker, and then enter a value in the Location box.

4. Finally, you can adjust the gradient midpoint by dragging on the diamond-shaped marker located above the Gradient Ramp. Just like the stop color markers, you can select the diamond marker and enter a new Location value as well. 

5. When you're satisfied with how the gradient swatch looks, click OK to add it to the Swatches panel. This is our preferred method for saving gradients, since you can name them and locate them more easily. 

Saving Gradients to the Gradient Panel
Just like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign also has a Gradient panel, which can be accessed by selecting "Window" > "Color" > "Gradient". If you save a gradient to this panel, it will not be named or labeled. However, if you'd to add the current gradient to the Swatches panel, you can select "New Gradient Swatch" at any time. 

To add a gradient to the Gradient panel, click the left stop color icon on the Gradient Ramp, located inside the panel. Then, drag an existing swatch onto the icon, or Alt/Option+click on a swatch. Repeat the process for the second stop color icon, and then adjust the Gradient panel settings as desired. 

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