How to Convert RGB to CYMK and Export to PDF

Written by kylene arnold
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How to Convert RGB to CYMK and Export to PDF
Colour documents are printed with cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Digital documents and print documents create colours in different ways. Digital documents use an RGB colour space, which combines red, green and blue light. Print documents, however, use cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink. Consequently, RGB colours may look different when printed. To approximate how the printed image will look, you can change an RGB colour space into CMYK. You can also export the converted file into a PDF so others can view it. Many of Adobe's digital design programs, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, can help you accomplish both of these tasks.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Adobe Photoshop CS5
  • Adobe Illustrator CS5
  • Adobe InDesign CS5

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Instructions

    Photoshop

  1. 1

    Open the document in Adobe Photoshop.

  2. 2

    Choose "Mode" from the Image menu, then select "CMYK."

  3. 3

    Click on the "File" menu and choose "Save As."

  4. 4

    Name the document, then select a target location.

  5. 5

    Choose "Photoshop PDF" from the Format drop-down menu, then click "Save." The Save Adobe PDF dialogue box will appear.

  6. 6

    Select a PDF preset that best suits the target format of your document, or create custom settings.

  7. 7

    Click "Save PDF."

    Illustrator

  1. 1

    Open the document in Adobe Illustrator.

  2. 2

    Select "Document Color Mode" from the File menu, then choose "CMYK Color."

  3. 3

    Click on the "File" menu and choose "Save As."

  4. 4

    Name the document, then select a target location.

  5. 5

    Choose "Adobe PDF" from the "Format" drop-down menu, then click "Save." The Save Adobe PDF dialogue box will appear.

  6. 6

    Select a PDF preset that best suits the target format of your document or create custom settings.

  7. 7

    Click "Save PDF."

    InDesign

  1. 1

    Import the file into InDesign by clicking the File menu and selecting "Place."

  2. 2

    Resize the image to fill the document, if necessary.

  3. 3

    Click on the "File" menu and choose "Export."

  4. 4

    Name the file, then select a destination location.

  5. 5

    Choose "Adobe PDF" from the Save As drop-down menu in Windows or from the Format drop-down menu on a Mac.

  6. 6

    Click "Save." A pop-up window will appear containing PDF settings.

  7. 7

    Select a PDF preset that best suits the target format of your document.

  8. 8

    Select "Output" from the categories on the left side of the dialogue box.

  9. 9

    Select "Convert to Destination" from the "Color Conversion" drop-down menu.

  10. 10

    Select "U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2" from the Destination drop-down menu. This instructs the program to save the document in the CMYK colour standard for publication.

  11. 11

    Choose "U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2" from the Output Intent Profile Name drop-down menu, if available.

  12. 12

    Click "Export" or "Save" to begin conversion to a CMYK PDF file.

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