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ICC Color Profiles

What is a color profile?

Your computer screen displays colors in the RGB color space, whereas your printer will use CMYK colors when printing. So how does your monitor display CMYK colors? This is where a color profile comes in - it will translate the CMYK color values into RGB colors, and visa versa to display on your screen and convert when printing.

There are many variables with printers - each having different ink, paper, print resolution and so on. This is why each printer has a preferred or specific color profile it uses. It ensures that no matter from what device you print from, the colors will be accurate. 

What color profile should I use?

It's best to consult with your print shop as to what profile to use and embed in your document. 

For home or office printing (i.e. an inkjet / laser printer), then you'll need to check with the manufacturer of your printer.

If your unsure or can't see what profile to use, stick to the default - U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2.

Setting a color profile

Please note this applies from Designer Pro 20.8+ onwards

1) Click on Utilities > Options

2) Click on the View Tab

3) At the bottom, select the color profile you wish to use for CMYK conversions from the drop-down list, or select Browse to embed a profile.

4) Click OK to save.

Custom color profiles

To embed a custom profile click Browse and select a custom ICC profile. This profile is then embedded and saved in the document. If you move the XAR project file to another PC, it will still contain and use the custom profile.

Color profiles and PDF

If you export to PDF/X (as used by default when selecting the Commercial quality preset option), the profile you have selected will be embedded within the PDF.

For standard PDF's (Draft / Web / High Quality preset options), a color profile is, by default, not selected or embedded. If you wish to do so, change the color model to CMYK in the General tab. This will allow you to set a color profile (and will default to what is set within the View tab).

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  1. Robert Turner

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