I created a poster in Photoshop and it in CMYK mode because it is going to be printed (not used on the web at all). I saved it as a JPG (also in CMYK) and when I sent it to someone in an email and they downloaded it, they sent me a screen shot and it looks neon colored. I understand this happens because screens are in RGB, but my questions is:

Will it print almost exactly how it looks when I created it in CMYK? (When I opened the JPG on my computer, it looked the same as when I created it in CMYK in Photoshop)

It was originally a light pink color (in CMYK) and on screen when downloaded it looks bright purple.

Thank you in advance!

2 Answers 2


CMYK Jpeg, while valid, has limited support in software, especially in browsers and in-built OS preview handlers. It can also vary by software revision.

It may be better for you to export an RGB Jpeg file for your clients preview use or provide a PDF or CMYK TIFF instead.

OSX CMYK Jpeg color inversion

Windows CMYK Jpeg thumbnails do not display


  • Thank you. Just to make sure, the JPG will print as it should (original CMYK colors)?
    – Lynn
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 21:25
  • For print submission, I would use a lossless TIFF or better yet, a PDF so any type will be preserved in vector format. As far as I know, though, the software a printing house uses will probably support your CMYK file just fine.
    – Yorik
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 21:29

How a CMYK jpeg will display on a client's monitor is a wild variable. As Yorik notes, support for CMYK is spotty at best. Your system is much more sophisticated than your client's, and has color profiles installed that your client doesn't have. That's why the jpeg may look fine to you but awful to the client.

There is also a wide variation in how colors are displayed from one monitor to another. If the client isn't paying for an actual press proof, your best alternative is to make a color-accurate print and send that to the client with a note that total color accuracy is not guaranteed.

To answer your questions:

It will print close to what you see in Photoshop. Can't guarantee it will be exactly like that, because you don't have a calibrated monitor. If you have a good proofing printer and know how to use it with the "Photoshop manages color" setting, this can also give you a good approximation.

When you create a print document in CMYK in Photoshop and want to send your client a soft proof to look at on screen, you can do one of the following:

  • Save As a Photoshop PDF using the "High Quality Print" setting. Disable Photoshop editing capabilities, otherwise the file size will be huge. (Photoshop will save a complete copy of the PSD inside the PDF if you leave it enabled. That's what "Preserve Photoshop editing" means.) This is generally the best option.

  • Use Save for Web, which converts to sRGB by default, to save a jpeg. Send that to the client. Be sure to include the color profile.

  • Convert the PSD or your CMYK jpeg to sRGB using Edit > Convert to Profile. Set the Intent to "Perceptual" and check "Use Black Point Compensation" and "Flatten Image to Preserve Appearance." If you convert the PSD, remember NOT to save the change!

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.