Working on a graphic for a thank you letter that will be printed and sent out to clients.

Already found exact color that prints as expected (Neon mountain dew green on screen, green apple ish color when printed - perfect). Took RBG#s and applied to elements in word document (boundary accent lines).

The accents in the word document need to match the graphics which are being exported from illustrator and are set to the same rgb color - but are being outputted differently within word.

However, when I export the graphics from illustrator as a PNG-24 and insert the png into word and print - the color in the graphics and in the accents comes out drastically different.

When the graphics are printed directly from illustrator with these print settings:

  • Color handling: Let Illustrator determine colors
  • Printer Profile: sRGB IEC61966-2.1
  • Rendering Intent: Absolute Colorimetric

and compared to the document accents printed from word - they match perfectly.

Because they should be converting the rgb to CMYK in an identical fashion (that's why they look the same).

SO - why is it once I export the graphics to png-24 from illustrator and put them into the WORD document and then print - do they look so different?

Am I embedding a color profile and don't even know it? And how do you avoid this?

or am I screwed and going to have to go back in and manually adjust graphics colors until I find a color that outputs the same as the word accents once exported?

What can I do to avoid this and get the exported graphics which have the same rgb color applied to them to output the same as the word document accents?



Additional notes: The graphics have to be exported and used in word as employees will be filling out form elements in the document - otherwise I'd just make the whole thing in indesign and use as a pdf form.

  • You must save the image as sRGB. If you really want to control printing from word then embed a EPS file. Thsi only works with a few caveats such as that the printer accepts postscript. Its not saved as PDF with a converter software but a print software, you can not rotate or scale the image in word or it will get be rasterized and it looks ugly.
    – joojaa
    Jan 14, 2016 at 21:41
  • I'll try that but I just realized if I export it as a .emf or .wmf is works perfectly. Eureka moment Jan 14, 2016 at 21:43
  • IF that works, you can get all kinds of problems with EMF in transit.
    – joojaa
    Jan 14, 2016 at 21:44
  • This will be printed on an office printer with no ability to accept postscript... unfortunately. The graphics are saved to the needed pixel size and the .emf worked perfectly for this, there are some slight losses though, but within an acceptable range. Jan 14, 2016 at 21:50

2 Answers 2



In playing with export options in illustrator I spotted .wmf and .emf.

Exporting the graphics as an .emf made the word document accents and graphics match perfectly! Because you're telling it to work in a format that Word clunkily understands!

Insert eurekas, duhs, and celebrating here.


It deserves being said once again, but certain colours will never look the same on-screen as they do in print, no matter how you save the document or what application you use. If you're working with a bright colour — such as Mountain Dew green — it may be out of gamut, meaning that you can't reproduce it with CMYK inks on paper. The only way to create a similar effect is using a spot colour at a professional printer. These neon swatches are formulated differently and can achieve the effect desired.

A similar example — perhaps too simplistic — is of a metallic ink. No matter how hard you try, your office printer won't display a silver shimmer. You have to work with a specialty printer who can make that happen.

  • The issue here was not that the printer could not print the color. Feb 15, 2016 at 15:59
  • The issue here was not that the printer could not print the color. The issue here is that two programs do not output to the printer in the same way. We found a way around this so that both programs output to the printer in a way that gives the same resulting target color. You have to export to word as a .emf. Otherwise you get unpredictable color shifts because word can't understand it and will output it differently. This is not a rgb vs cmyk, out of gamut, have to use spot color issue. Feb 15, 2016 at 16:05
  • The target color is not out of gamut nor a neon (as mentioned above it is a strong green apple, green), to reach it on an office cmyk printer - on screen - the color has to look and output as rgb (because word can't understand anything else) as a neonish green to hit the target color in these circumstances where using a spot color and sending to a professional printer is not feasible. Feb 15, 2016 at 16:09

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