I've googled and searched here for an answer to my question but haven't been able to find anything.

I designed several pieces of collateral, all using the same single color. Some of the pieces I designed in Illustrator, and one in InDesign.

The problem is, when I copy and paste the yellow color value (whether it's RGB or CMYK - I've tried both ways), it CHANGES between Illustrator and InDesign. The color stays the same between Illustrator documents, but if I C+P from InDesign - or vice versa - the color value literally changes before my eyes. And I don't mean it just "looks" different, the actual number changes.

Here's a real example:

Drew a box in Illustrator and chose the color #f8f1e0 / 2% 3% 12% 0%. Drew a box in InDesign, C+P'd the color values into it, and it DID change to the correct color for an instant. Clicked okay. Clicked back into the color picker and the color is now #f8f1e1 / 2% 3% 11% 0%.

If it's relevant, it seems the color will change to a marginally darker one every time.

And yes, both documents STARTED OUT as CMYK documents, and stayed that way. I also have my colors synchronized via Bridge. I'm working on CC 2015 and all programs are up to date.

Any clue what could be happening? Thank you in advance.

  • Okay, I just chose Overprint Preview in Illustrator and that also changed the #f8f1e0 color to #f8f1e1. I see now it's not a program malfunction but can anyone explain WHY this happens? I'm still new to color management and it's quite confusing to me. Thank you again.
    – user46448
    Jul 8, 2015 at 17:35
  • Something else - when I save the InDesign document out as a readable PDF and then pull it into Illustrator, the color is now #f8f2e2, even when viewing Overprint Preview.
    – user46448
    Jul 8, 2015 at 17:44
  • You can't use Hex colors if your art is CMYK. HEX colors are RGB values. And overprint preview is a print setting which, again, has nothing to do with RGB color.
    – Scott
    Jul 8, 2015 at 18:18
  • Scott, thanks for the reply. I figured since the CMYK values were auto-populated in the color picker that it was okay to do it that way. So I should be using the CMYK color panel only?
    – user46448
    Jul 8, 2015 at 18:45
  • 1
    Well you can't compare RGB color breakouts to CMYK breakouts.
    – Scott
    Jul 8, 2015 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


You have to use the same color settings (for RGB and CMYK) in both software. I suggest you to use FOGRA39 (or FOGRA27) profile for CMYK and sRGB profile for the RGB colorspace.

Go to: Edit > Color Settings... and set the right color settings for all CC software.

But, as said, you can't paste hex color value inside a CMYK colorspace. Instead, just copy the right color values.


To retain RGB values, make sure your Indesign File>Document Setup> Intent> is set to web instead of print. Note: You cannot print RGB values how your monitor displays them.

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.