I am trying to print out a design (made in Illustrator and Photoshop) that requires pure Cyan lines/elements in the final from my Epson WF-7520 printer. However, even though the image element colors are set to 100% Cyan only (and the file is already in CMYK) the lines are printing as a mixture of Cyan, Magenta, and Black inks.

This is frustrating because the printer has a separate Cyan cartridge. Though I presume this model printer is more "business" class and probably considered an RGB printer, it is using separate CMYK inks in the hardware to approximate this RGB color model.

So the hardware doesn't seem to be the problem. It seems like the problem is in the software, which seems to be translating that CMYK information into RGB and then back out into a "contaminated" CMYK version.

All I want is for the print-out to be pure ink from the Cyan cartridge. Theoretically, this seems attainable, yet I have had a very difficult time finding a way to accomplish this.

I am aware that using a different printer might remove this difficulty entirely, but unfortunately I need a solution that will work on this printer.

I saw an online suggestion to save the PSD as a PDF and print through Acrobat Pro in order to use it's native proofing and color separation features. I am not an Acrobat expert however, so after saving as a PDF and opening it in Acrobat I haven't found a way to accomplish this goal with the settings available.

Also: It might even work if I could get the whole image to print in only one ink color; even another color. For instance it might even work if I could get pure Magenta instead.

Any help would be appreciated!

  • I am interested in your use-case behind the question. Normally, one would output an individual color channel as black. My first thought is you are compositing or something using real-world materials
    – Yorik
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 19:54
  • 1
    Possible duplicate: How to print a pure CMYK colors in a regular inkjet printer?
    – user9447
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 20:58
  • 1
    I'm an illustrator trying to create a comic-book page design that has the proper Trim, Bleed and Safe areas marked in pure Cyan, so they can be removed after the penciled artwork is inked. Having the pure color for the marked lines allows for an easy removal in Photoshop after the art is complete. Having mixed colors causes much more work.
    – Geoff
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


Either your OS and/or the printer are performing color management. When this happens, your CMYK document is likely being converted to RGB and then back to CMYK in the printers' profile. Or, less likely, there are device link profiles in play doing a similar thing.

Either way, disable any color management in your printing dialogue and printer setup; that will get you closer. (I can't give you specifics because I don't know what your setup is.)


I found an answer from Per Berntsen over at the Adobe forums. Using his method allowed me to get the best results I've found. I don't know if the output is technically pure Cyan, but it's close enough for my purposes.

Here is Bernsten's answer:

Inkjet printers use CMYK inks, but expect to fed RGB files. So it's possible that the printer does a double conversion (CMYK to RGB to CMYK), which may be part of the problem. Besides, CMYK profiles are generally for offset printing, and the profile you're using will not be able to produce a saturated cyan. CMYK has a much smaller color gamut than RGB, and most inkjet printers have a much larger color gamut than printing presses.

So you should prepare the file in RGB, where 100% cyan is equal to R=0 G=255 B=255. Then use the proper paper profile for your printer/paper combination. Printing profiles should come with the printer, or can be downloaded from the Epson website.

In the Photoshop print dialog, set Color handling to Photoshop manages colors, and choose the correct Print profile. Also disable printer color management in the printer driver.

Here's a Link to the original post

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