For detailed information and instructions, click the links below.

Use color management when printing

When you print a color-managed document, you can specify additional color management options to keep color consistent in the printer output. For example, suppose that your document currently contains a profile tailored for prepress output, but you want to proof the document colors on a desktop printer. In the Print dialog box, you can convert the document’s colors to the color space of the desktop printer; the printer profile will be used instead of the current document profile. If you select the Proof color space and target an RGB printer, InDesign converts color data to RGB values using the selected color profiles.

When printing to a PostScript printer, you also have the option of using PostScript color management. In this instance, InDesign sends the document’s color data in a calibrated version of its original color space, along with the document profile, directly to the PostScript printer and lets the printer convert the document to the printer color space. The printer’s color space is stored at the device as a color rendering dictionary (CRD); this makes device-independent output possible. CRDs are PostScript equivalents of color profiles. The exact results of the color conversion can vary among printers. To use PostScript color management, you must have a printer that uses PostScript Level 2 or higher; it is not necessary to install an ICC profile for the printer on your system.

Note:

While working on a color-managed document, you can use the Preflight panel to make sure that your colors conform to the guidelines you specify.

  1. Make sure that you’ve installed the correct driver and PPD for your printer.
  2. Choose File > Print.
  3. If a printer preset has the settings you want, choose it in the Printer Preset menu at the top of the Print dialog box.
  4. Adjust settings as desired for this document.
  5. Click Color Management on the left side of the Print dialog box.
  6. Under Print, select Document.
  7. For Color Handling, choose Let InDesign Determine Colors.
  8. For Printer Profile, select the profile for your output device.

    The more accurately the profile describes the behavior of an output device and printing conditions (such as paper type), the more accurately the color management system can translate the numeric values of the actual colors in a document.

  9. Select Preserve RGB Numbers or Preserve CMYK Numbers.

    This option determines how InDesign handles colors that do not have a color profile associated with them (for example, imported images without embedded profiles). When this option is selected, InDesign sends the color numbers directly to the output device. When this option is deselected, InDesign first converts the color numbers to the color space of the output device.

    Preserving numbers is recommended when you are following a safe CMYK workflow. Preserving numbers is not recommended for printing RGB documents.

  10. Press either Setup (Windows) or Printer (Mac OS) to access the printer driver dialog box.
  11. Turn off color management for the printer, and click Print to return to the InDesign Print dialog box.

    Every printer driver has different color management options. If it’s not clear how to turn off color management, consult your printer documentation.

  12. Click Print.

Color output options for composites

In the Output area of the Print dialog box, you can determine how composite color in the document is sent to the printer. When color management is enabled (the default), the Color setting defaults result in calibrated color output. Spot color information is preserved during color conversion; only the process color equivalents convert to the designated color space. If you’re not sure which color choice to use, consult your prepress service provider.

Composite modes only affect rasterized images and objects created using InDesign; placed graphics (such as EPS and Adobe PDF files) are not affected unless they overlap transparent objects.

For more information on composite printing, see the Adobe Print Resource Center at www.adobe.com/go/print_resource.

Note:

The options available for non-PostScript printing depend on the color model the printer uses, which is usually RGB.

When you print as composite, automatic trapping is disabled; however, you can select the Simulate Overprint option to proof overprinting for text, strokes, or fills.

The Output area in the Print dialog box includes the following Color options. Additional options may also be available, depending on your printer.

Composite Leave Unchanged

Sends a full-color version of specified pages to the printer, preserving all color values in the original document. When this option is selected, Simulate Overprint is disabled.

Composite Gray

Sends grayscale versions of specified pages to the printer when, for example, you are printing to a monochrome printer without making separations.

Composite RGB

Sends a full-color version of specified pages to the printer when, for example, you are printing to an RGB color printer without making separations.

Composite CMYK

Sends a full-color version of specified pages to the printer when, for example, you are printing to a CMYK color printer without making separations. (This option is available only for PostScript printers.)

Separations

Creates PostScript information for each of the separations required for the document, and sends that information to the output device. (This option is available only for PostScript printers.)

In-RIP Separations

Sends separation information to the output device’s RIP. (This option is available only for PostScript printers.)

Text As Black

Select this option to print all text created in InDesign in black, unless it has the color None or Paper or a color value that equals white. This option is useful when you’re creating content for both print and PDF distribution. For example, if hyperlinks were blue in the PDF version, they would print black on a grayscale printer, rather than in halftone patterns that would be difficult to read.

A hard proof (sometimes called a proof print or match print) is a printed simulation of what your final output on a printing press will look like. A hard proof is produced on an output device that’s less expensive than a printing press. In recent years some inkjet printers have the resolution necessary to produce inexpensive prints that can be used as hard proofs.

  1. Choose View > Proof Setup > Custom.
  2. In the Customize Proof Condition dialog box, select the device you want to simulate, and click OK.
  3. Select Preserve RGB Numbers or Preserve CMYK numbers, and click OK.

    This option determines how InDesign handles colors that do not have a color profile associated with them (for example, imported images without embedded profiles). When this option is selected, InDesign sends the color numbers directly to the output device. When this option is deselected, InDesign first converts the color numbers to the color space of the output device.

    Preserving numbers is recommended when you are following a safe CMYK workflow. Preserving numbers is not recommended for printing RGB documents.

  4. Choose File > Print.
  5. If a printer preset has the settings you want, choose it in the Printer Preset menu at the top of the Print dialog box.
  6. Adjust settings as desired for this document.
  7. Click Color Management on the left side of the Print dialog box.
  8. Under Print, select Proof. The profile should match the proof setup you specified.
  9. For Color Handling, choose Let InDesign Determine Colors.
  10. Select Simulate Paper Color to simulate the specific shade of white exhibited by the print medium as defined by a document’s profile (absolute colorimetric rendering intent). This option is not available for all profiles.
  11. Press either Setup (Windows) or Printer (Mac OS) to access the printer driver dialog box.
  12. Turn off color management for the printer, and click Print to return to the InDesign Print dialog box.

    Every printer driver has different color management options. If it’s not clear how to turn off color management, consult your printer documentation.

  13. Click Print.

Improve gradients and color blends in print

PostScript Level 2 and PostScript 3 output devices can print up to 256 shades of gray, and most PostScript desktop laser printers are capable of printing approximately 32 to 64 shades, depending on the device resolution, specified screen frequency, and halftoning method. Banding occurs when each available shade covers an area large enough for you to see individual shades. Also, if you specify a gradient using two percentage values that differ by less than 50%, you’re specifying a narrow range of shades that’s more likely to result in banding. If you have difficulty printing smooth gradients without banding, try these techniques:

  • Use a gradient that changes at least 50% between two or more process color components.

  • Specify lighter colors, or shorten the length of dark gradients. Banding is most likely to occur between very dark colors and white.

  • Increase the percentage of change in the gradient.

  • Decrease the screen frequency for the document (PostScript output devices only).

  • If banding occurs in an imported graphic, such as an Adobe Illustrator® file, you might need to adjust the original graphic.

  • Print to a PostScript® 3 output device, which is capable of producing smoother gradients.

  • Use shorter gradients. The optimum length depends on the colors in the gradient, but try to keep gradients shorter than 7.5 inches.

About halftone dots and printer dots

Most printers simulate gray by using halftone dots printed on a grid; the grid cells are called halftone cells, and the grid rows are called lines or line screens. Each halftone dot is made up of printer dots. As the halftone cell fills up with printer dots, the halftone dot gets larger, resulting in a darker shade of gray.

Printer resolution determines the number of dots available to create the halftone dot. A printer with smaller dots can produce a wider variety of halftone dot sizes, allowing more shades of gray. Screen frequency also plays a role: As screen frequency increases, the halftone cell gets smaller, and so can hold fewer printer dots, resulting in fewer possible shades of gray. As a result, there is a trade-off between the number of possible gray levels and image coarseness.

Simulating continuous tone with printer dots
Simulating continuous tone with printer dots

A. Continuous tone simulated by line screen B. Line screen consisting of halftone dots in rows C. Halftone dots consisting of printer dots 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License  Twitter™ and Facebook posts are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.

Legal Notices   |   Online Privacy Policy