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Q. Why don't the colors in my images look right when I print them? What are "color spaces" like RGB and CMYK?

Welcome to the mysterious world of printers and "color spaces." First, check your printer settings. Printers want to know what kind of paper you are using so they use the right amount of ink -- more ink for heavy, glossy paper; less ink for light paper. Be sure you are not set in "draft" mode, which reduces the inking significantly.

Alternatively, your printer software may not be converting the colors correctly. There are two distinct color systems (or “spaces”) in digital imagery. An RGB (Red, Green, Blue) profile is used for display on computer monitors. A CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) system is used for printing on paper. Digital images commonly use an RGB profile, since they are primarily viewed on the computer. Today’s computer printers, inkjet and laser, convert the RGB colors from the computer into CMYK colors to print them.

If your printer is not converting properly, first check with the manufacturer. Next, try converting the image color system from RGB to CMYK with photo editing software such as Adobe PhotoShop or Corel Paint Shop.


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