I have a semitransparent PNG file in the RGB color space. While conserving the transparency, I need to convert it to CMYK but I am having trouble finding a file format that will accomodate both of my needs - CMYK and transparency.

I have tried a layerd TIF, but unfortunately the program I am later using the image in does not support that. What are my other options?

  • 1
    PNG is using an ARGB (Alpha, Red green Blue; or RGBA) pixel format. This really just means the alpha is stored alongside the other color values in the stream. The closest to this for TIFF is CMYK TIFF an additional Alpha channel (the channels are stored as individual "grey value" streams per-channel. You don't mention the "later program" so a work-around is hard to conceive of.
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:28
  • @York The later program is an old version of QuarkXPress (that a person downstreams in the chain uses). I am happy with just file formats to try, even if they might not work.
    – Anders
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:44
  • 1
    The version is going to matter I think. Quark before maybe 7 could only use alpha as a clipping path, and did not support graphic transparency. Been a few years though. The work around in that case is to color match the backgrounds and use an alpha to silhouette it. This obviously isn't an option for multiple overlaps and complex compositing.
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:49
  • @Yorik I am not in control of the later part of the process involving Quark, so what I am looking for is a file format supporting what I need that I can just send over and not a Quark work around. If there is no such file format I will go with color matching the background. Thank you!
    – Anders
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 7:22
  • Alpha channel in a tiff works, its a grey-scale (256 level) transparency channel
    – Yorik
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


The main option is PSD itself. Corel PhotoPaint CPT can do that.

Regarding the TIF, try saving it without compression. There is a chance the other program does not support the compression method. Another thing to try is saving a normal TIF with a selection, not a layer. This selection can be interpreted by diferent programs as a transparency.

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