.pdf vs.mxd Print Colours

09-23-2011 02:27 PM
New Contributor II

After going through several trials and many errors I cannot find any setting that will solve my problem.  When I print an .mxd and a .pdf of the same map, using the same printer, and using the same print settings I get a much different colour red with the .pdf.  The red I print on the .pdf is more of a orange and brownish red.  The red on the .mxd is not the exact red I want but it is red.

I have done several things with the plotter (z6100ps 60in) including clean printheads, align printheads, calibrate colours, etc;.

If anyone can tell me if there is a setting out there in which I am able to print .mxd's and their respective .pdf's with the same colour pallette it would be much appreciated!

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4 Replies
Occasional Contributor III
Hi Justin,

Sounds to me that this is not a screen colour calibration problem (my first though) since both programmes are producing different colours but it may be because the colour profile in Adobe is different to that in ArcMap. It wont be your printer per se that is the problem but how it converts the file information into colour on printed paper, which may be different for different programmes unless you have a standard colour profile (ICC).

Are you using Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat? and do you have Adobe Creative Suite?

If you have CS:
Within Adobe Photoshop where you can open the PDF it should pop up with a warning about the colour transformation>click through discarding it and from there you can pull down "Edit" at the bottom click "Convert to profile" and use a more appropriate colour setting.

From my understanding Adobe RGB(1998) is the best colour scheme as most printers understand this profile.

This link may be of some help http://www.computer-darkroom.com/ps10_colour/ps10_1.htm
But if you are only using Adobe Reader I am not sure you can play with the colour settings.

I hope this helps.
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New Contributor II
Thanks Simon.
Unforunately I am using Adobe Acrobat Standard 9 and there does not seem to be any options for Adobe RGB 1998. 
I utilize the same settings printing from .pdf as I do .mxd and unfortunately I still get differences between the two.  Red seems to be where most of the issue is found.

I attached an image that shows what settings I get to choose from.  I also use teh Printer Emulation: HP Designjet 5500 Dye series setting as this seems to work best.
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Occasional Contributor III
That is wierd...too me it must still be a colour calibration thing. Could you export your map to a JPEG/TIFF or something other than PDF and see is the colour issue is still there? And check for updates on your Adobe Reader from Help>Check for updates.

This will determine if it is Adobe and not something in the export process from ArcMap.

Also, if you try changing the colour calibration to Adobe RGB(HP).. shown in your attachment...to see if that works.
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New Contributor
I am experiencing the same problem.  I think it began when we switched to the Microsoft Office suite that creates .docx instead of .doc, etc.  Prior to that switch, my maps printed from .pdf were the same color as the maps printed from an open .mxd. 

Now during the export, the colors are altered.  The .pdfs themselves have different colors.
I've been unable to correct the problem.

(It is possible there was some kind of Adobe Reader upgrade at the same time as the Microsoft Upgrade.  Perhaps a different color library was installed?)  It is disappointing.  If anyone can offer any guidance, I'd love to hear it!
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