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Should InDesign be in RGB or CMYK setting?

Explorer ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Hi,

I edit InDesign document and I wonder should color settings be RGB or CMYK. I will need to use this work in digital and print both. I will make it specific CMYK in export but in working space should it be RGB or CMYK?

Thank you so much!

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Work in RGB color mode, do not convert to CMYK unless your printer specifically asks you to.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Hi @Jonathan32years , Unlike Photoshop and Illustrator, InDesign documents don’t have a color space, you can mix CMYK, Lab, and RGB colors and objects on the same page.

 

ID documents have both CMYK and RGB profile assignments that manage the previews of RGB and CMYK native colors or images with no profile embedded. There is a CMYK or RGB Transparency Blend Space that handles transparency flattening when different color spaces are blended together, but it only affects spreads that incude transparency.

 

When you export to PDF you can choose to leave the document colors unchanged, or make a conversion to a specified color profile, which you choose in the PDF output tab. So for a print document where you are sure of the final press profile, there would be the option to make a color managed conversion to that CMYK profile on Export—e.g. the PDF/X-4 preset with the Output Destination set. Interactive PDF exports automatically convert everything to sRGB

 

For screen viewing you would set the Output Destination to sRGB and all CMYK, Lab, and profiled RGB color would be converted to sRGB on the export.

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Explorer ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Okay, I didn't know that. I thought it was just like in Photoshop. 

I have PSD-file image where I use Adobe RGB (1998) color. And that color should be used in InDesign too, I tried to make some changes to Color Settings in InDesign but I don't know did that make anything really. 

I now made InDesign file for Web, some it maked it automatically RGB. And then I place there those Adobe RGB (1998) images. I will add some text, which color will be only black. I will add nothing else in InDesign, only black text. 

And when I have placed black text and those Adobe RGB (1998) images I should be able to export that to Adobe RGB (1998) for web use and also specific CMYK profile that I will get from print company?

 

I'm just nervous will colors go wrong when I apply different color profile...

 

This info is important but makes my head spin, so many things where I can mess up and do something wrong. Thank god this Support community exist and there are people like you do tell people like me some hard facts 😄 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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What do you mean "I've made an InDesign file for web"?

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Explorer ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Derek Cross, I meant that when I created an InDesign document, I clicked area where it said "Web". Other options were "Recent", "Saved", "Print", "Web" and "Mobile". It was in the beginning when I first created a document.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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What is your final output format?

If it's for printing select Print as the intent.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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If your placed images have the AdobeRGB profile embedded, the embedded profile will override the InDesign document’s profile.

 

InDesign’s Color Management cascades. If an image has an embedded profile (see the Links Info panel), the image‘s profile is used—for the image it doesn’t matter what the ID document profile assignment is. If the image has no profile (Link Info shows Document RGB), the InDesign document assignment is used as the image profile. If there is no embedded profile with the image, and there is no document profile assignment, the final fallback is to the Color Settings Working Space.

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Guru ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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RBG apply to print also.

 

digital printing is rbg

offset printing is CYMK

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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But which CMYK, that's the thing Jonathan.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2024 Apr 05, 2024

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This is incorrect, digital press printing is CMYK.  The most common CMYK standards in use in the digital print industry today are GRACoL 2013 (North America) and Fogra39 (Europe, and most of the rest of the world).

RGB for print output is typical only for photo printers (RGB lasers or LEDs onto photo paper), or for inkjet systems (e.g. Epson, Canon, HP printers, which do the conversion from RGB to their many inks inside their RIPs).

RGB still applies to screens, of course, with sRGB, Adobe98, and DCI-P3 as the most common standards used. Most browsers handle non-sRGB content fairly well these days.

So, RGB for screens.  CMYK for press printing, analog or digital. RGB for many-ink inkjet printers in the "photo" world.

Source: I'm color scientist for a major global printer.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 05, 2024 Apr 05, 2024

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There are other views on this matter John.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2024 Apr 05, 2024

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Such as?   My point is that "digital printing is RGB" isn't not true in the world of print today. It's a mix of RGB and CMYK, depending on print technology, application, and what you're trying to achieve with the print. Pleasing photos and accurate brand colors require different approaches, sometimes in the same InDesign document, which is why the mixed colorspace possibilites of InDesign are powerful.

 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 05, 2024 Apr 05, 2024

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I think @JonathanArias  meant that you can make the conversion from  profiled RGB to a CMYK destination anywhere in a color managed workflow—it could be in Photoshop to each individual image, or it could be done more efficiently on a PDF Export by setting the Output Color Destination profile to the press profile, or it could happen at print time from a color managed RIP. The advantage in placing profiled RGB is the conversion can be delayed when the final CMYK destination press profile is unknown.

 

Most composite Inkjet printers use drivers that expect RGB color even when they print with a CMYK or CcMmYKk inkset. If you send CMYK color, the driver is going to convert the document CMYK colors to new values—the document CMYK values don’t print.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2024 Apr 05, 2024

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That's a good clarification, and no argument from me on anything in your comment.  For photo / raster content, staying in RGB until later in the workflow is often a good idea, for the reasons you cite.  For design content (fonts, vectors, fills, brand colors), if you are going for accuracy and optimized ink builds, CMYK can be a good choice.  If a particular color appearance is paramount, specifiying a spot or swatch by its Lab color is also a powerful option.

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