I’m trying to print from Illustrator (CMYK) and it comes out red: All the blue tones appear black and everything that was either beige or grey looks like it has a red layer over it. All the colours seem to be affected (except for white).

  • The printer is an HP Envy 4500.
  • I’ve tried to save it as a PDF and print from that PDF instead but it didn’t work.
  • 2
    Can you provide more details, maybe even a file? What (or what colors) are you trying to print? Oct 9, 2017 at 5:23
  • 1
    Printing to what printer? Does the printer have Postscript Level 3 Support (although the PDF should address this) What is the Document Color Mode? Are your colors in that same color mode? What does "red" mean? Is everything red or are things just overly red in general? are all colors effected or just one or two? Providing more detail will only assure you of getting helpful answers.
    – Scott
    Oct 9, 2017 at 18:05
  • Thank you for taking the time to answer. The printer is a HP envy 4500. I don't know what postscript support is. The document is set up in CMYK. How can I find out if the colours are in the same mode? When I print, all the blue tones appear black and everything that was either beige or grey looks like it has a red layer over it. So yes, all the colours seem to be affected, except for the white. Oct 9, 2017 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


Based upon comments....

The HP envy 4500 is an end-user all-in-one inkjet printer.

Inkjet printers, for the most part, have no idea what CMYK color is. When you print a CMYK document to an inkjet printer what happens.....

  • Printer sees a color it doesn't understand (CMYK)
  • Printer converts this unknown color to something it does understand, RGB
  • Printer then converts the RGB to CcMmYyK for output

This results is multiple color conversions within the printer driver itself.

For best results using an end-user all-in-one inkjet printer, always send the print RGB color.


Even though your document is in CMYK, it sounds like your colors have been defined as RGB at some point. The black and grey areas get a color tint when they consist of not just black. First, be absolutely sure that the document is in CMYK mode (File -> Document color mode) Second, select a black or grey element, open/go to the color window. If the sliders are anything else than CMYK, select CMYK from the window's hamburger menu. Now that you have the sliders, you can see what the colors really are and adjust them as you like for each element.

As for the blue, hard to say, but if it was RGB at some point, it probably has too much color in it, if the total percentage of color is above 250 %, it usually gets quite dark.

Also, take into account that it is impossible to match 100 % what you have on a screen with print.

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