I wanted to open some old files in Illustrator but when I opened them I found it had changed the colours and dulled them all down.

I haven't changed any settings myself, though I believe it's been updated since I created the files. The image below shows an exported PNG of the file on the right with the correct colour and the image is on the left with the dulled colours. I have also included my colour settings in the screenshot for your convenience. I've used the eyedropper tool on both the PNG and the colours within Illustrator and they're just straight up different colour codes.

Please if anyone knows what I can do to fix this I would be quite grateful! Thank you in advance!

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


Your new document is in CMYK color mode.

PNGs are RGB, which has a wider color gamut than CMYK. I believe that your settings are such that the RGB is not being converted to the document's color space. This is why the new version looks duller than the old version.

I'm not sure but it sounds like your default color mode is CMYK and that is overriding the color mode of the original file. If you can open it as RGB, that should fix the issue.

If not, you can change the color mode of the new document to RGB. That won't fix your colors automatically, though, because they'll already have been converted to CMYK.

You would have to refer back to the color builds of your original file and update them in the new file. Using global colors and selecting by appearance will make this go quickly.

  • Hi, thanks for the response and apologies for taking this long to get back to you. When I exported the PNG it was in RGB, hence why the colours aren't as dull so yeah it sounds like your explanation is correct that it's overriding the colour mode. Do you know how I can open it as RGB? I tried with another file that I hadn't opened in CMYK but it did the same thing.
    – Pentax25
    Feb 6, 2021 at 17:35

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