5 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2013 10:10 AM by Mike Ornellas RSS

    CMYK working space


      Hi, If i want to get my files offeset printed so they will be done in CMYK


      The word "working space" CMYK confuses me a little i thought printer profiles would be "output space" or something

      1. Are the CMYK working space options in photoshop actually printer profiles? eg. U.S Web coated (SWOP) v2

      2. I ask the guys who do the offset printing what printer profile they use and that is the one i should select in photoshop.

      3. So when I soft proof it uses the CMYK working space and my file is previewed or it mimics what i would look like printed on the paper/ink combination at the printers.

      4. All the CMYK working spaces available in photoshop are all ICC compliant?


        • 1. Re: CMYK working space
          Community Member

          A color working space is one of various standard, device-independent color space, such as ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB, sRGB, CMYK, etc.  I have listed these examples in decreasing order of the gamut or range of colors each of them can cover.  Of the ones in this group, ProPhoto RGB is the widest one of the four listed here, containing the most colors.  CMYK is the narrowest, with the most limited gamut or range of colors.


          A target or printer profile is a device-dependent profile specific to a given combination of printer, inks and paper.


          Always use a device dependent-target profile to Soft Proof an image, never a working color space which by definition has to be device-independent.


          Most of us work in the widest practical working space, such as ProPhotoRGB or Adobe RGB when generating an image for print and leave the conversion to CMYK to the very end, as the very last step in the production process.  Always ask your printer (printing company) which specific target profile will be used by their equipment, one specific to the combination of printer, ink and paper to be used for the final output.

          • 2. Re: CMYK working space
            Community Member

            You can start learning about color management here:




            It's a very comprehensive web site, please read it in its entirety.

            • 3. Re: CMYK working space
              spitty2013 Community Member

              thanks for the reply

              • 4. Re: CMYK working space
                Willi Adelberger MVP

                1. A colour space is a colour mode under a specific colour profile. E.g. RGB with ECI v2 (European Profile).

                2. When you print and place the images in InDesign, leave them in RGB! Conversion from an RGB Colour Space to the Output Colour Space should be done upon PDF export (PDF X1a) or later (PDF X3 or X4), and always with the same working step as transparency flattening is done and never before.

                • 5. Re: CMYK working space
                  Mike Ornellas Community Member

                  All this theory is just that.


                  Adobe's RGB ideology of working spaces is good for about 85% of the image proccing needs for the masses. Technically a CMYK working space does not exist by defination, but we use a CMYK color space because the tools don't exist for ALL the requirements of print in RGB. So realistically, by defination, working spaces are broken so do what you want.