How to Convert RGB to CMYK in Illustrator

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Computers and printers create colors in very different ways. Computers mix red, green and blue light to make other colors in a process known as additive color mixing. Printers, on the other hand, mix cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink in a process known as subtractive color mixing because each color of ink absorbs, or subtracts, certain wavelengths of light and reflects only the color you see. Because these processes are different, not every color on an RGB screen will look then same on the printed page. To help designers estimate how the finished project will look, Adobe Illustrator has a CMYK color mode that approximates how your document's colors will appear when printed. Changing from the RGB mode to the CMYK mode, or vice versa, in Adobe Illustrator is a quick and easy process.

  • Open your document in Adobe Illustrator.

  • Click on the "File" menu. In the pane that opens, select "Document Color Mode" and then "CMYK."

  • Save your project. The document is now converted to the CMYK color mode.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can revert your document back to RGB at any point by selecting "File," "Document Color Mode" and then "RGB."

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