I was wondering if anyone has experienced this.

When I test print a design from Photoshop, my printer output something closer to the colors on screen.

However, when I print the same design from InDesign, using the same printer, somehow the colors change - darker....hue change a little bit.

Does anyone have any idea why this happens?

I don't understand because it's printed from the same printer and it's the same file.

Why does this occur?

  • 1
    I've little experience printing, but from previous questions/answers on the SE network I suspect it has something to do with the applied colour profile. Is it possible that Indesign applies a different colour profile to the document than Photoshop? Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:16

4 Answers 4


There are two key points where color information is manipulated: your printer settings and the application's settings. The third (undesirable) option is "both," and you have to ensure that this isn't happening. The details depend on which model of printer you're working with, but I'll assume you're using a decent photo-quality printer rather than a Fiery or similar Postscript RIP.

Both Photoshop (in practice) and InDesign (in theory) give the option of letting the printer control the color or having the application control the color. In either case it's the ICC profile, as @Robert W McElaney points out, that finally determines how the ink hits the paper. What you need to make sure is that it's the right profile and that it's the only one applied to the color information on its way to the paper.

Some basic troubleshooting tips:

  • Make sure that the default RGB color space for both applications is sRGB, that your Photoshop document is in 8-bit mode, and that the document is in RGB mode in both. (In InDesign, set Edit > Transparency Blend Space to RGB.)

  • In Photoshop, convert your artwork to sRGB if necessary (Edit > Convert to Profile) before printing. In Photoshop's printer dialog, select "Photoshop Manages Colors" and choose an appropriate ICC Profile for your printer and the paper you will be using.

  • In InDesign, which in almost all cases insists upon doing the color management, set "Output" to "Composite RGB" and under "Color Management" set the Printer Profile to the same ICC profile you used for Photoshop.

  • In both cases, ensure that you turn off color management in the printer settings dialog for your printer. How you do that will depend on the printer manufacturer and model. If you don't know, dig into the manufacturer's website to find out. If you leave the printer at its defaults, it will take the incoming color information from the application and apply its default ICC profile to "correct" the color, with unpleasant results.

Having said all that, don't rely on what comes out of your desktop printer as an indication of what will come off a commercial press unless you have calibrated your monitor and printer using a professional calibration tool.


Set each program to use the same color profile, preferably the ICC profile of the printer your printer is using.

The Adobe site has more info on setting for the different programs. http://help.adobe.com/en_US/creativesuite/cs/using/WSBB0A8512-8151-408c-9F79-4A9E9E3BA84C.html#WS6731476A-B9EA-4962-97E8-5065D1A62676

(Also just as an afterthought, ensure both programs are setting the same color mode, CMYK or RGB. if these are different, you will see odd results.)


There's a lot of reasons why this might happen, most of them the printer is most suitably equipped to answer. Ask him first. Ask him always. Bring him scotch.

  • Could you please name a few reasons? As of now this answer is not really an answer and should probably be posted as a comment. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:15
  • How would one ask an inanimate object? The question clearly states "When I test print the design..." eluding to the fact that the "printer" in this case is a device, not a person.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 7:00

Why use sRGB when adobeRGB1998 was devised to accept more of the cmyk gamut than ssRGB which is a rgb monitor profile. Even Better why not let the LAB color values be used because they use every possible combination of color--theu give the best representation of Pantones or other spot colors especially when using an inkjet printer that has cmyk, rgb light cyan, light Gray, and photo black. SRgB does not hold this spectrum of the combined rgb and cmyk spectum with the addition of other colors that are frequently used in High Dynamic Range Print devices which use the light magenta and light cyan as well as a pure orange and green that can not exist with only cyan, and greens that do not exist with the use of cyan. RGB=CMYK with extra blacks for grayscale images are the ultimate for any color combination. But back to the original question why is srgb assumed tod to be better than Adobe1998 RGB-- I get some of the greens and purples are arguable better in srgb, but many pastels are simply annihilated with srgb instaed of adobe1998 in cmyk printing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.