How to Change a PDF to CMYK for Printers

By Jeff Grundy

Adobe created the PDF, or Portable Document Format, which is the defacto standard for documents shared via email or on the Internet. PDFs are readable on any personal computer with a PDF reader application. By default, Adobe Acrobat uses the RGB (Red, Green Blue) color mode for photos embedded in PDF files. RGB is ideal for photos in PDF documents designed for viewing on the Web because the resulting files are generally smaller and download faster. However, if you need to print a PDF document, changing the color mode to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key) can produce better color-matching on the printer and images more true to those on the computer screen.

Launch Adobe Acrobat on the computer by clicking the "Start," "All Programs" and then "Adobe Acrobat Professional."

Click "File" and then "Open" on the Acrobat menu bar. Browse to and select the RGB-formatted PDF file you want to convert to CMYK color mode and then click the "Open" button in the file browser window.

Click "Advanced" on the menu bar, then click "Print Production" and "Preflight."

Click the arrow icon next to "PDF Fixups" to expand the list of conversion options for the document.

Choose the "Convert to CMYK Only" option and then the "Analyze and Fix" button. Wait a few seconds for Acrobat to convert the color mode for photos and images in the PDF document.

Click "File," then "Save" on the Acrobat menu bar to save the color mode changes. Click "File," then "Print" to open the Print dialogue box. Print the PDF document to the desired printer.