How To: Print or create PostScript CMYK color separates with ArcMap


Instructions provided are to create or print four-color PostScript separates from the ArcMap Print dialog box.


  1. Select the PostScript printer and the PostScript Printer Engine.
    For ArcMap 9.x:
    Select the PostScript printer.
    1. Click File / Page and Print Setup.
    1. Click the printer Name drop down list and select the printer you want to create PostScript separates for.

    [O-Image] ArcMap Page and Print Setup - PostScript printer

    Select the PostScript printer engine.
    1. Click File / Print.
    2. Click the Printer Engine drop down list and select PostScript Printer.

    [O-Image] ArcMap Print - PostScript printer engine
    For ArcMap 8.x:
    On Page Setup, select your printer from the printer Name dropdown list and select PostScript Printer from the Printer Engine dropdown list.
    [O-Image] Select PostScript printer and PostScript printer engine
    PostScript separates can not be created nor printed with the PostScript printer engine if the printer driver is not enabled with PostScript. 
    Check the Printer Driver Properties. For both Windows NT and Windows 2000, open Start / Settings / Printers and open the properties by selecting the printer and selecting File / Properties.
    With Windows NT, there is an icon of a printer in the upper left-hand corner on the General tab; if the printer driver is PostScript enabled, this icon will appear with the letters "PS" next to it. There will also be the name of the printer driver in the Driver box on the middle of the General tab, which should indicate whether the current driver is PostScript enabled or not.
    With Windows 2000, the icon and printer driver name are on the Device Settings tab.

    [O-Image] Determine whether printer driver is PS enabled

    If intending to print on a printer or imaging device that is not in-house, install a local dummy printer to duplicate the settings of the target printer.
    See: How To: Create a 'dummy' printer and set it to be the default printer for Windows
  2. On the Print dialog box:
    1. Click PostScript Printer Properties.
    2. Click the Color Separation tab.
    3. Click: the Vendor dropdown list and select the printer manufacturer that corresponds with your printer.
    4. Click the Device dropdown list and select the PostScript Printer Description (PPD) file that corresponds with your print
      [O-Image] How to select a PPD file in ArcMap
      1. From the Print dialog box, click Properties to open the PostScript Printer properties.
      2. On the Color Separation tab, select the printer's manufacturer, such as HP, from the Vendor drop-down list and select the printer model, such as HP DesignJet 5000PS, from the Device drop-down list. This is the PostScript printer description (PPD) file.
      3. Click OK.
  3. Under Use Plates, select Separates.
    [O-Image] Selecting to create separates on PostScript printer properties
  4. Optionally:
    • Create PostScript (PS) Level 3-compliant separates files by selecting the Create PS3 Level separates check box.
    • Modify the screen angle of each color plate by double-clicking on the color in the Value table.
      A. Creating a PostScript Level 3-compatible separates file will write all four-color separates into a single PostScript file, which may not be compatible with some printers or imaging devices. Be sure to check the manufacturer's documentation before selecting this option.
      B. The screen angles will default with the value found in the PPD file. Be sure to test any modifications you make, as they may drastically change the look of your output image.
      ArcMap does not support setting SPOT plate, which is why the SPOT plate saturation percentage is unavailable.

      [O-Image] Optional PostScript separates options
  5. Click OK to apply the PostScript properties settings.
  6. If creating separates to print on a printer or imaging device that is in-house, click Print to print the color separates. However, not printing directly and saving the separates to file (print to file) is usually a better option for most people.

Related Information