Colors in output are not the same as displayed in ARCPLOT

Last Published: April 25, 2020

Solution or Workaround


When a plot is sent to the plotter, the colors on the plot are not the same as what appears on the screen. For example, red plots as blue.


ARC/INFO 6.x remaps the raster plotter's colormap.


If the graphics file is being sent to a pen plotter, only use device color numbers. Some symbol sets that use device color numbers are:


If a line is being drawn with LINECOLOR 20, another with LINECOLOR blue, and the last one with LINECOLOR 20 again, this happens. When the raster plot file is created the first line is drawn with plotter colormap device color 20, which could be red. The second line may remap color 20 in the plotters colormap to be blue, and plots it blue. Now the last line is to be drawn, and it is drawn with the device color 20. It comes out blue, because ARC/INFO has remapped the plotters colormap.
ArcInfo resets the the colormap when it changes the colormap, but only after the entire file has been converted. If it resets the colormap every time, the performance of the command would be impacted.

It is ESRI's intent that the output should appear in the same colors in the plot as it appears on the screen no matter what hard copy device is being used. However, plotter manufacturers such as HP, Calcomp and Versatec do not use the same colormap. Moreover, postscript printers do not even have a colormap. Thus, it is important that ARCPLOT remap the colormap.

ESRI has not removed the hardware device color symbol sets for two reasons. ESRI still supports earlier versions of ArcInfo, and ESRI still supports pen plotters, which do not understand LINECOLOR ORANGE.

Using hardware and software colors in the same graphics file should be avoided. The exception is 0 (background) and 1 (foreground). On all standard raster output devices, 0 plots the color of the paper, and 1 plots as black.
Changes to the design in ARC/INFO 6.1.2 convert colors 0 to 7 into software colors when raster plotters are specified.

0 - background
1 - black
2 - red
3 - green
4 - blue
5 - cyan
6 - magenta
7 - yellow

Article ID:000001268

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