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UPDATE: This issue has been resolved. The culprit was Acrobat DC Pro. I started noticing other issues when using the program. Did an uninstall/reinstall, and the colors are now printing perfectly.

Thank you to all who offered assistance.


When creating a design in Photoshop and saving as a PNG, the colors print as displayed on the screen.

When saving the same design as a PDF and using the same printer, the colors are off especially the greys which print bluer.

How should I adjust my settings to get the PDF color to be more accurate?


Color profiles are sRGB in both PNG and PDF.

Color issue appears to be related to specific printer as PDF printed as expected on an alternate printer.


This may be an issue with my printer but I'm including this information for further context.

The image was created with layers in Photoshop using sRGB with a 300 dpi. The image was flattened within Photoshop.(Layers>Flatten Image)

When saved as a PNG file and viewed and printed from Photoshop, image prints correctly.

"EXPORT" as PDF is not an option. I am using Photoshop 2023 (not Elements) on a Windows desktop.

When "Saved As" a PDF (File>Save As or Save A Copy) these were my selections:

High Quality Print Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities is NOT checked Output Color I have tried Convert to Destination with Desination being Working RGB - sRGB IEC61966-2.1 as well as just sRGB IEC61966-2.1 I have tried No Conversion with Include Destination Profile and also Don't Include Profile

PDF opened within Adobe Acrobat DC Pro and image looks the same as when in Photoshop regardless of my selections above.

Select Print and image looks the same within the print preview box. Click Advanced and confirmed that image is set to print at 300 dpi

For Color Managment as I have tired all the options:

Acrobat Color Management with Color Profile set to Working RGB - sRGB IEC61966-2.1 (have also tired sRGB IEC61966-2.1) with Treat grays as K-only grays and Preserve Black both checked I have also tried Same as Source (No Color Management) and Printer Managed Color

Results are the same each time with the PDF printing bright and bluer.

My print is an HP Color laserjet (several years old with no option to adjust color profiles that I can find)

A test print done by my son from his computer printed both the PNG and PDF correctly.


Trying to narrow this down, posting this update should this help anyone else.

I have abandoned trying to create the PDF from Photoshop. Instead, I converted the PNG to a PDF via an online converter.

When opened in Acrobat and printed, the results were still bright and bluer. When opened in a Foxit and printed, the results were correct.

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  • I don't think this can be answered the way it is written.
    – joojaa
    Jun 1, 2023 at 4:31
  • I have restated the question.
    – Ichabod
    Jun 1, 2023 at 13:12
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    1st guess is that png is saved using sRGB profile and the PDF may not be
    – Yorik
    Jun 1, 2023 at 14:47
  • Perhaps I'm doing something incorrectly, but it appears to me that both are saved as sRGB. I am a novice, so it may be that I'm missing something obvious to others with experience. I simply cannot determine why the PNG prints in the muted tones as desired while the PDF prints more bright and blue.
    – Ichabod
    Jun 1, 2023 at 17:44
  • what exact steps did you take. What pdf creation options, what software did you use to print the pdf in etc etc.
    – joojaa
    Jun 2, 2023 at 3:28

1 Answer 1

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You do not "save" as PDF, you "export" as PDF.

This means that a PDF can be rasterized, transformed, resampled, compressed, and converted to strawberry jam, depending on the exporting options. Probably the PDF is exporting the raster images to CMYK, for example.

If you use more or less the same settings, mainly exporting as RGB and embedding the same color profile as the PNG, probably sRGB, in theory, you would reduce the color changes to a minimum.

But you first need to flatten all the blending modes you have, and also transparencies, depending on the PDF version you are using, either you do it or the applications will do it for you.


Another possibility is that the software you are using to view, and then sent to print, are using these color profiles differently.

Adobe Acrobat will be pretty robust in handling them, but probably the "image viewer" you are using to view and print the PNG is not.

(A lot of "probably", because I do not know those details)

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  • Thank you Rafael and joojaa. I've added the details of the steps I've taken and the results to my original inquiry above.
    – Ichabod
    Jun 2, 2023 at 16:37

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