Pantone’s “Pantone Connect” and how to get a Free or Pro account

Oct 29, 2021 | Design Tips

Since I design both print and website projects, at the beginning of any new project, I always begin with my Pantone color book. This enables the client to have a color consistency between their print designs and their website.

For years, I used Pantone’s Color Management Software, one purchase and you were good to go. Somehow, and maybe it was one of those nights I was cleaning my computer and decided “I don’t this anymore,” it disappeared from my computer. More than likely it seemed reasonable since most of the Pantone colors are built into the Adobe products I use.

Today, for the good bad, or ugly, I found out that the system is being eliminated at the end of the year. So, for designers like you and me what are we supposed to do? How do we keep up to date with the latest Pantone colors? Luckily, Pantone hasn’t completely left us high and dry, rather they have joined the “Subscription and Cloud” model.

Pantone now has “Pantone Connect.” The system has been out there for a while and is an extension in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. It started out free and still is unless you want the latest colors.

How do you get the free version of Pantone Connect?

First, in your Adobe Creative Cloud application, activate the extension “Pantone Connect.” It will automatically connect to all applications. Using the free version, you will have to follow steps 1 and 2 below.

How do you get the Pro version?

First, it’s a ridiculous system to figure out, and nowhere on their website will you find any instructions or flashing red lights to purchase it:

  1. Go to and set up a new account.
  2. Confirm your account.
  3. On the menu bar, click on “Colors.”
  4. Click “Convert.” With the free version you won’t be able to convert a RGB or CMYK color to the Pantone color equivalent with the free version. THE OPTION TO BUY TO PRO ACCOUNT NOW SHOWS UP.
  5. Purchase the Pro account.

Connecting to Pantone Connect in the Adobe products

Once you’ve activated the software, luckily this is an easy process:

  1. On all applications go to the Window menu and scroll down to Extensions.
  2. Scroll over and click on “Pantone Connect.”
  3. Launch the extension.
  4. Log in.

You will have to do this once for each application.

With everything set up, the system is great. But by far, it is the most confusing system I have ever worked through. And sadly, the Pantone representative who worked with me agreed.

The price for the new subscription service is not unreasonable. If you want to pay month-by-month it is $8.99. If you purchase the yearly service before October 31, 2021, it’s only $35.99. Every year thereafter it will be $55.99.

Personally, I don’t need any more monthly subscription fees, and further, I am getting sick of all of them. But if you are like me and use the Pantone color system on a daily basis, either the $35.99 or $55.99 will save the day.


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