How to check colour management settings in a PDF file for CMYK

Written by kate sedgwick Google
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How to check colour management settings in a PDF file for CMYK
Keep your colours consistent by converting your colour space. (Getty Thinkstock)

Before having a document professionally printed, converting the colour space to CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) as opposed to the default RGB settings (red, green, and blue) will help you maintain colour-balance. RGB is a setting meant for screens, which use light and those three colours to create an incredible number of tones. Printed colours require a different colour space because the inks are added to the surface of a paper, rather than using light. Converting your PDF to CMYK prior to printing will help ensure your colours are as close as possible to what the original screen image.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Adobe X Acrobat Pro

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  1. 1

    Check with your printing company first to see what colour space is best for them. Let them know you'll be submitting your document in PDF form.

  2. 2

    Open the document you wish to save as CMYK by going to "File," then "Open," and then selecting the file from the dialog box.

  3. 3

    Duplicate the file by going to "File" then "Duplicate." This will allow you to preserve the original file for display online. It's always a good idea to keep an original of any file you alter.

  4. 4

    With the new, duplicate file open, select "Edit" in the toolbar, then scroll down to "Preferences." Select "Colour Management" from the Categories list.

  5. 5

    Click the "Settings" drop-down menu and choose "European Prepress 2." This converts the document to the colour profile used by most printers in the UK.

  6. 6

    Under "CMYK," select the option your printer recommended and click "OK." Your document has now been converted to the correct colour space for printing.

  7. 7

    Go to "File" then "Save," and name the file. It's practical to put CMYK in the title of the image to keep it separate from the original file. Most printers will have the capability to convert colour spaces, so if you have any doubts about the conversion you've run, send along the original document as well.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't have Adobe X Acrobat Pro, it's possible to make the colour space conversion online (see Resources).
  • Colour space conversion can also be carried out in Photoshop, InDesign and even with free imaging software, The Gimp, with a plugin.

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