Using GIMP I would like to create a color-separated PDF. I plan on making printing plates for a home letterpress and they request a color-separated PDF, which seems to just be a page for each color but I don't see a way to do this in GIMP.

2 Answers 2


You're sort of in a tough spot if you want to use GIMP for print, since it doesn't support CMYK colorspace. You can try the Separate+ plugin, but it does have some limitations (though they may not be an issue for what you're trying to do?)

More in-depth reading about GIMP & CMYK issues: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/CMYK_support_in_The_GIMP

  • Thanks for the info I'm actually using GIMP to make the plate then I'm printing by hand so I don't need to worry about the CMYK. I will try the plugin and let you know if I can get the color separated pdf generated.
    – Jeff Beck
    Mar 7, 2011 at 13:09
  • 1
    @Jeff Good luck! Looking forward to the update on if it works or not.
    – Farray
    Mar 7, 2011 at 16:03

One way to separate the colors is to merely turn off all but one channel and then export a pdf of that channel as a grayscale. What software are you using to create the plates and why PDF?

Since there is a CMYK issue with gimp, you really only have R G and B plates.

  • Why PDF I have no idea the place i used just required it. This solution worked and I also simplified the design. As for the actual colors I just needed a page for each color I intended to print since each color means a run through the press.
    – Jeff Beck
    Apr 25, 2011 at 19:56
  • It just seems odd to me: GIMP could easily save a TIFF which is cross-platform and anyone who has a printing press probably has software which supports this (Historic Jamestown excepted). But "whatever works"
    – horatio
    Apr 26, 2011 at 17:54

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