I have an .ai document, this is my working document. ! want to export it to PDF (to be portable but still vector), the problem is the color are all messed up and seem washed out (in spite the fact I included the color profile):

Wrong colors

If I export it as PNG the colors are correct:

Correct colors.

How can I do to have a PDF with the colors I want?

1 Answer 1


I would guess that your PDF is a CMYK file rather than RGB. If you're then viewing the PDF with something other than Acrobat or Adobe Reader, the colors in the file may be being interpreted incorrectly when rendered for your screen.

Try the PDF save using the "High-quality Print" setting, which is an RGB mode for desktop printers, and see if that makes a difference.

  • I'll check that, Thanks. FWIW the first capture has been taken from Preview (on MacOS); if I open the file in Acrobat the rendering is still incorrect, but a lot closer to the Illustrator rendering.
    – gregseth
    Nov 2, 2011 at 11:36
  • 2
    Here's a tip: NEVER use Preview for anything important, especially related to PDF. It's been broken since Day 1 and it remains broken. As with most non-Adobe PDF viewers, it implements only a subset of the PDF spec, and (ironically, considering the Mac's early success was because of the graphic design community) it has never handled press-ready PDFs correctly. It also doesn't understand alternate glyphs, and will often fail to display those characters in professionally set text (which can seriously freak out a client). Nov 2, 2011 at 20:33
  • Ok, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the tip. If I get this right, there's nothing wrong with my document?
    – gregseth
    Nov 2, 2011 at 20:56
  • No, there's nothing wrong with the document. It will print the way you expect if your screen is fairly well calibrated to start with. Nov 7, 2011 at 10:14

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