Importing Embroidery Thread Charts into Adobe Illustrator

If you’re like me you do a lot of patch designs in Illustrator. When doing this you use the standard Adobe color pallet. You can certainly make designs with the default one, but then you need to change the colors in your digitizing software to see the final colors. This article will show you how to import a CSV into Adobe products.

Download the Importer Script

Importing colors into Illustrator can be done one-by-one. Obviously that’s not very nice when you have thousands of colors to add. I have a script that you can download to make this painless.

I like to move the file into the Scripts directory of my installation. This makes it easier to access. It’s not necessary to do, but requires less clicks and time. So when you download it, go to the Presets folder and move it to the scripts folder.

Illustrator 2019: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CC 2019\Presets\en_US\Scripts

Screenshot showing the script in my Scripts folder

Once it’s placed in the folder you can now open, or restart, Illustrator. You should then see the script appear in the File>Scripts Menu.

Screenshot of the Scripts Menu

How to get Thread Charts

If you don’t have the thread chart there are several ways to get them.

The first is to use our resource library and download our premade ones. We formatted them for import into Illustrator, and some are for importing into other software.

A second method it to reach out to your thread manufacture and ask if they have a .csv file with the colors. This option is unlikely as we tried and didn’t get any help. Most likely you will need to reformat the document for import. We can help with that.

The last method is the most painful one. This is how we converted some of them. You can create a spreadsheet in Excel and manually put the color code values in. This takes along time, but if done correctly you can re-import it faster.

Browse our Thread Chart Library

We have prepared several Thread Charts that are available for download.

Gunold Poly 40wt
Gunold Poly 40wt – USAF OCP Colors only

Making your Own CSV

Making your own is a pretty straightforward process. It involves setting up a spreadsheet with four columns. The first will be the name of the color, followed by the individual values for the RGB color space in their own columns. There can’t be any headers.

61001 – Bright White244244248
61002 – Soft White245238242
61005 – Black000
61011 – Steel Gray150150149
Example CSV for Gunold Poly 40wt

Once you have the colors input you can export the spreadsheet as a .csv and save it to your computer.

If you need to rip colors from a web browser, I use Chrome with the Eye Dropper extension.

Importing the Thread Chart

To import the thread chart you will need to create a new document or open an existing on in Illustrator. Once you’re there you can import your CSV via File>Scripts>csv import for Adobe Illustrator. You will now see it in the Swatches as a swatch group. You can then click the Swatch Group and use the options menu to Save Swatch Library as ASE.