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I know how to define a color using \definecolor with literals to describe the color. How can I define a color using an already defined color? In other words: How can I make a color accessible under multiple names?

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

This can be simply done using \colorlet{mycolor}{someothercolor} from the xcolor package. Here someothercolor can be any other color name or a color mix like
colora!<number>!colorb.

You should note that this copies the current color definition. If someothercolor is changed afterwards (e.g. using another \colorlet) mycolor will not change.

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