Export from ArcMap with CMYK Colors to PDF, EPS, Illustrator, or SVG


ArcMap has the ability to define vector symbols in CMYK color, and preserve that color on export to a process CMYK graphics file. Export of CMYK colors is supported in PDF, EPS, Illustrator, and SVG export formats.


Define the colors in CMYK and export the map to a CMYK document.

  1. Open the properties for the symbol to change to CMYK. In some ArcMap dialog boxes, the application may present a quick selection color palette. In these cases, click the 'More Colors' button to access the full color selector.
    Click the 'More Colors' button to access the full color selector dialog box.

    [O-Image] ArcMapColorPaletteMoreColors.jpg
    If the color selector displays the RGB sliders, the color was previously defined as an RGB color.
    The ArcMap color selector shown editing a color marked as RGB.

    [O-Image] ArcMapColorSelectorRgb.jpg

  2. Change the color to CMYK and access the CMYK color sliders by clicking on the triangle button and selecting 'CMYK sliders'.
    The ArcMap color selector shown editing a color marked as CMYK.

    [O-Image] ArcMapColorSelectorCmyk
  3. Use the CMYK sliders or text boxes to define CMYK values.
  4. Click OK to close the dialog box and store the CMYK colors in the symbol.

    Since the color selector was in CMYK mode when OK was clicked, the color is now tagged as CMYK. When this symbol is exported to a vector graphics format with the exporter's Destination Colorspace set to 'CMYK', the CMYK numbers will be preserved in the output file.

  5. Navigate to File > Export map.
  6. Click the 'Save as type' drop-down list and select one of the following export formats: PDF, EPS, Illustrator, or SVG.
  7. View the export options panel and select the Format tab. For the Destination Colorspace option, select CMYK.
    Set the Destination Colorspace to CMYK.

    [O-Image] ArcMapVectorExportColorspaceCmyk
  8. Set other options as needed, and click Save to export the map.

    The output file is marked as a CMYK mode file. When viewed in other graphics applications like Adobe Illustrator, the CMYK values for vector symbols match the values defined in ArcMap.
    CMYK output is supported with the following limitations:

    · ArcMap raster layers always render internally as RGB colors. This means that even when a raster is defined with the color selector in CMYK mode, it does not internally get marked as CMYK color, and the raster layers stores only the RGB equivalent. On export to a CMYK graphics file, the stored RGB information is converted from RGB back to CMYK, but the CMYK values do not match the user defined CMYK values selected during set up of the raster layer properties.

    · Vector layers with transparency render as raster. Thus, any transparent vector layer using CMYK colors are not preserved CMYK numbers during output to a CMYK export file.

    · Picture Marker symbols sourced from a vector EMF file always use the colors defined in the EMF. Since the EMF file format does not support CMYK colors, it is not possible to define EMF Picture Marker symbols as CMYK. Instead, use a Simple Marker Symbol or a Character Marker Symbol, and follow the procedure documented above to define the symbol colors in CMYK.

Article ID:000009120

  • ArcMap 9 x

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