I am designing a document in InDesign which will be exported to PDF for viewing online, which makes me think I should use RGB. But many viewers will also want to print the file. So should I use CMYK?

I don't want to publish two different versions of the same content.

1 Answer 1


Unless you anticipate people taking it to be professionally printed it makes almost no difference.

Most people don't have calibrated monitors so the RGB doesn't look perfect, and people sure don't have high end printers and paper so the CMYK won't look perfect either. I wouldn't lose any sleep over either format. Go with whichever makes your life easier, if you don't need it to be professionally printed ever then probably RGB. If this is like a catalog that you're printing professionally but also putting online then just leave it in the CMYK you brought the printer, but please please please reduce the file size.

  • And reducing file size of course depends on the details of the actual file/job. If the file is all vector, the PDF you send the printer likely won’t be significantly larger than a web-optimised version; conversely, the last catalogue I sent off to a printer was a 3.6 GB PDF file which, when web-optimised, weighed in at a mere 7.5 MB. So reduce file size if it makes sense. Sep 29, 2015 at 23:48

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.