Normal colors, Tints, Shades and Linked colors

Normal colors

These are the normal stand-alone colors you apply to objects.

Xara can also define colors that are linked to another color, that is when the parent color changes the linked color will change as well. There are three ways you can link a color to its parent: Tints, Shades, and Linked colors. These are very powerful techniques that allow, for example, single-click re-coloring of complex shaded drawings.


Tints are based on other colors (called the parent color) and are always a paler version of the parent. They have two main uses:

  • Where you have paler shades of a parent color and you may want to change the parent color in future with the tints automatically updating.
  • To extend the range of colors available from printing inks.

    For example, a 25% red tint gives a pink color. Therefore using just a red ink you can have both a pure red and a pink using only one ink. Similarly, if just using black-and-white printing, it's often useful to be able to use tints to create various shades of gray.

    If you are printing with a limited range of colors (it's usually cheaper to print one or two color, instead of full or four color printing).

A tint can be based on any type of color, including another tint.

Any changes you make to the parent color also change tints based on it. For example, you might define the color pink as 50% of a red parent color. Changing the parent color to orange automatically changes pink to light orange.


These allow both lighter and darker colors to be created all based on a parent color. Changing the color of the parent changes all associated shades. For example, a drawing of a car might use shades for the highlight and shaded regions of the car body. A single edit to the parent changes all the colors of the entire body but keeps the shading correct. Setting up shades this way is more time consuming but it is a very powerful way of altering colors.

For best results, the parent color should be a "pure" saturated color. When using the HSV color mode, saturation and value should ideally be 100%. When viewed in the Color Editor the cross should be in the top left-hand corner.

Linked colors

Linked colors are similar to shades but give greater flexibility. These are also based on a parent color but you define which attributes you want the linked color to share with its parent. For example you can create a linked color that is a more or less saturated version of the parent, but the hue and lightness / darkness follow the parent.


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