this is my first time here.

I work for a magazine that is online and in print. We have the problem that the online versions are much more vibrant than the printed versions, and we have received some complaints for that. I know that it is not possible to match the CMYK to an RGB, so I consider presenting online the look of the CMYK profile in RGB mode in order to have similarities between the online version and the printed version. Is it possible to obtain the RGB look of the CMYK profile?

I have tryed to convert CMYK to RGB and booth pictures look diffentelly, and that is not what i'm expecting.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Best regards, Mariano

  • I think I understand what you mean. I have the same problem when sending RGB PDF to clients for approval. I don't want to send CMYK because I'm afraid that the client is using a viewer which shows the colors wrong (like Mac's Prview or a browser), but the RGB file doesn't give a true preview. I don't understand what you mean that you "tried to convert CMYK to RGB". How do you mean? You might be able to place your CMYK file in a new InDesign document and export to RGB, but you won't be able to simulate softproofing.
    – Wolff
    Mar 7, 2020 at 22:01
  • Lowest common denominator.... work in CMYK... the online version export (with proper PDF job options) will be converted to RGB and CMYK is well within the RGB gamut. They'll look much more similar.
    – Scott
    Mar 8, 2020 at 7:58
  • @Scott so when your client changes the paper from coated to uncoated one hour before print, you have to convert all the images again and change the colors on all vector graphics?
    – Wolff
    Mar 8, 2020 at 9:33
  • @Wolff possibly, that's what rush fees are for.
    – Scott
    Mar 8, 2020 at 10:15

2 Answers 2


There are two questions here, the other one is hidden in the context. So the first question is it possible to simulate the print job on a rgb monitor?

Yes, just do a profile to profile transform. Preferably with one of the colorimetric transformation intents.

Will it look the same? Only if you and your clients have a recently calibrated monitor and viewing conditions. Otherwise there is no knowing what you converted to. So colors will for most parts be absolutely random for internet users with random screens.


In general, export the images as CMYK and then convert them again into RGB.

The procedure will be a bit different if you have the images linked to the source document, for example in InDesign. In this case, you can batch convert a copy of the images in one specific folder and relink the images.

If the images are embedded you probably need to export as CMYK and then "reprint" to a virtual printer.

One thing that you are not saying is that if the magazine online is in PDF format. Check that you have the right embedded profiles. A professional pdf viewer like adobe reader sill displays the CMYK files correctly, but some other random applications, including some browser viewers, could not doing a good job.

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