Convert colors to a different color space

Depending on the color spaces you select, color conversion preserves, converts, or maps (aliases) color values from the source color space to the destination space as follows:

  • Objects with untagged RGB data (DeviceRGB) convert from the working space RGB profile to the CMYK gamut of the destination space. The same is done with untagged CMYK (DeviceCMYK) and grayscale (DeviceGray) values.

  • Objects in device-independent color spaces (CalGray, CalRGB, or Lab) can be preserved or converted. If converted, Acrobat uses the device-independent object’s embedded profile information.

  • Objects set in spot colors can be preserved, converted, or mapped (aliased) to any other ink present in the document. Objects include Separation, DeviceN, and NChannel color spaces. Spot colors can also be mapped to a CMYK process color, if the process color model of the destination space is CMYK. Spot colors mapped to other inks can be previewed in the Output Preview dialog box.

    Note: If you want to convert specific spot plates, use Ink Manager in combination with the Convert Colors tool. To convert only specific spot plates to process, map them to process in Ink Manager. Otherwise, all spots in the document are converted to process if you have selected Spot Color as the color type.

Convert document colors

  1. In the Convert Colors dialog box, select a conversion command. If the list contains no existing commands, click Add to add the default conversion command.
  2. Select the conversion command that you want to edit, and then select an option from the Matching Criteria:
    Object Type
    Specifies if you want to convert the colors for the whole document or for a specific type of object within the document.

    Color Type
    Specifies the color space for conversion.

    Text Size
    Specifies the minimum and maximum text size for text objects.

  3. Select one of the available convert commands:
    Preserve
    Keeps objects in the selected color space when the document is output.

    Convert To Profile
    Uses the destination space profile to convert color objects to a common ICC profile for an output device.

    Decalibrate
    Removes embedded profiles from the color objects in that color space (or alternate space, if one is specified for a spot color).

  4. Specify the conversion profile.
  5. Select the rendering intent to use for conversion. The default is Use Document Intent. If you select any of the other intents, the selected intent overrides the document intent for the conversion.
  6. Select Embed to embed the profile. Selecting Embed tags all objects with the selected conversion profile. As an example, a document can contain five objects: one in grayscale and two each in the RGB and CMYK color spaces. In this case, you can embed a separate color profile to calibrate the color for each color space, for a total of three profiles. This process is useful if your RIP performs color management of PDFs or if you are sharing PDFs with other users.
  7. Select Convert Colors To Output Intent and specify the output intent profile to convert every object to the output intent. An output intent describes the color reproduction characteristics of a possible output device or production environment in which the document is printed.
  8. Specify the pages to convert.
  9. Select a conversion option if applicable:
    Preserve Black
    Preserves the color values of objects drawn in CMYK, RGB, or grayscale during conversion. This option prevents text in RGB black from being converted to rich black when converted to CMYK.

    Promote Gray To CMYK Black
    Converts device gray to CMYK.

    Preserve CMYK Primaries
    When transforming colors to prepare CMYK documents for a different target print profile, preserves primaries. For colors with just one colorant, Acrobat uses that colorant. For colors with more than one colorant, Acrobat finds the color with the smallest color difference.

  10. Click Document Colors to see a list of color spaces and spot colors in your document.
  11. Click Ink Manager to specify the ink settings and create an ink alias. If an alias is set up in the Ink Manager, the alias name is next to the Ink Manager button in the Convert Colors dialog box.
  12. Select a command from the list of Conversion Commands, and Move Up or Move Down to change the order of the conversion.
  13. To create a preset based on your settings, click Save Commands. You can later import the settings by clicking Load Commands.

Convert object colors

If certain objects in the PDF don’t match the color space of the document, you can use the Edit Object tool  to correct them. The Edit Object tool can change the color space of selected objects. For example, if you place an RGB image in a CMYK document, use this tool to change only the RGB image and not affect the other PDF colors. You can change the color space temporarily or embed the profile with the object.

Note: The Edit Object tool doesn’t let you change the output intent, because that affects the entire document.
  1. Choose Tools > Content > Edit Object, and select the objects you want to convert.
  2. Right-click the selection, and choose Properties.
  3. Click the Color tab.
  4. From the Convert To menu, choose the profile for specifying the color space of the object. The current color space of a single object (or identical color spaces for multiple objects) appears at the top of the Color tab for reference. Different color spaces for multiple objects aren’t shown.
  5. From the Rendering Intent menu, choose the translation method appropriate for the object.
  6. (Optional) To embed the profile with the object, select Embed Profile.
  7. Click Convert Colors.