Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Creative Suite

Color Management in Adobe InDesign CS3

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter covers only the most basic steps for managing color in Adobe InDesign CS3.
Like this article? We recommend

I remember when my family got our first color television set. Back then, there weren’t many programs broadcast in color, so a color television was a strange and mysterious thing.

No one in the family knew how to make the pictures look realistic. We jumped up to adjust the image whenever we changed channels. My sister and I spent more time fiddling with the TV controls than watching the shows.

Well, not many people understand how color is managed in desktop publishing. They don’t know how to make colors look better or how to control images from different applications. They spend most of their time fiddling with the knobs.

Color management is a very complex subject—far too deep for the scope of this book. This chapter covers only the most basic steps for managing color in InDesign. Fortunately, the controls are similar to those in other Adobe products. So if you’ve set your color management in Photoshop, you will find the same settings in InDesign.

If you are interested in learning more about color, I suggest Real World Color Management, by Bruce Fraser, Fred Bunting, and Chris Murphy, published by Peachpit Press.

Choosing Color Settings

The first step for color management is to set up the color system. Fortunately, Adobe provides predefined color settings that are suitable for many users.

To turn on color management:
  1. Choose Edit > Color Settings. This opens the Color Settings dialog box square1.gif.
  2. Check Enable Color Management. This opens the color settings controls.
  3. Choose one of the predefined settings from the Settings menu square2.gif:
    • Choose General Purpose if you are printing to an office printer.
    • Choose Prepress if you are sending files out to a high-end service provider.
    • Choose Web/Internet if you will be outputting to the Web.
    • Choose CMS Off to minimize the effects of color management. (Color management is never really completely off.)
  4. Click OK to apply the color settings. In many cases, this is all you need to do to set color management in InDesign.

The working space applies the default color profiles for RGB and cmyk colors (see Chapter 5, “Working in Color”).

To set the RGB working space:
  • Use the RGB menu to choose one of the following RGB display settings square3.gif:
    • Adobe RGB (1998) has a large color gamut. Use it if you do print work with a broad range of colors.
    • Apple RGB reflects the characteristics of the Apple Standard 13-inch monitor. Use for files displayed on Mac os monitors or for working with older desktop publishing files.
    • ColorMatch RGB matches the color space of Radius PressView monitors.
    • srgb IEC61966-2.1 reflects the characteristics of the average pc monitor. It is recommended for Web work, but is too limited for prepress.
    • Monitor RGB sets the working space to the color profile of your monitor. Use this if your other applications do not support color management.
    • ColorSync RGB (Mac) matches the RGB space specified in the control panel for Apple ColorSync 3.0 or later.
To set the CMYK working space:

You can also set what happens when placed images contain different color profiles than the current working spaces.

To set the Color Management Policies:
  1. Choose a setting in the RGB and cmyk Color Management Policy menus square5.gif and square6.gif as follows:
    • Off turns off color management for imported images or documents.
    • Preserve Embedded Profiles maintains the profile in the imported image or document.
    • Preserve Numbers maintains the actual color values without applying any profiles.
    • Convert to Working Space converts placed images and documents to the working spaces you set for the InDesign document.
  2. Check Ask When Opening (under Profile Mismatches) to give a choice when opening documents with different profiles square7.gif.
  3. Check Ask When Pasting (under Profile Mismatches) to give a choice when pasting information from documents with different profiles.
  4. Check Ask When Opening (under Missing Profiles) to give a choice when pasting information from documents that have no color profiles.

The Conversion Options, in the Advanced Mode, control how objects and color data are converted square8.gif.

To set the conversion options:
  1. Choose one of the settings in the Engine menu square9.gif and square10.gif:
    • Adobe (ACE) uses the Adobe color management system and color engine. This is the default setting for most preset color configurations.
    • Apple ColorSync (Mac) or Apple CMM (Mac) uses the color management system provided for Mac OS computers. Unless you have an optional color module installed, there is no difference between the two settings.
    • Microsoft ICM (Win) uses the color management system provided for Windows computers.
  2. Choose one of the settings in the Intent menu square11.gif:
    • Perceptual preserves the relationships between colors in a way that is perceived as natural by the human eye.
    • Saturation is suitable for business graphics, where the exact relationship between colors is not as important as having vivid colors.
    • Relative Colorimetric is the default rendering intent used by all predefined color management configurations.
    • Absolute Colorimetric maintains color accuracy at the expense of preserving relationships between colors.
  3. Check Use Black Point Compensation to adjust for differences in black points.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020