Am attempting to print separations for a T-shirt. I will set one object 100% black.

enter image description here

I will change another object to 100% Yellow. Then when I come back to the first object, these are the numbers:

enter image description here

Then I go back to the yellow and 100% yellow has become 3.88% magenta and 93.26% yellow.

As usual these surprises rear their heads when I'm on deadline. Why is Illustrator doing this to me?


Your document might be set up as RGB. Check that via 'File → Document Color Mode' and switch to CMYK if needed. Then update your objects again to use CMYK values.

  • That did the trick. Normally a new document opens as CMYK. I haven't had to deal with this. But this document was a svg logo I downloaded from the internet. Now I know that web documents are set up as RGB. – HopDavid Apr 22 '17 at 5:06
  • You always need to be aware of your Document Color Mode, otherwise these conversions will happen. And if they do, now you know why :) – Lucian Apr 22 '17 at 6:55

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