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Printed Colors Different than on Screen: Blue is Purple, etc.

This article was previously published under Q97600
You may notice that the colors on your screen and the colors that you printlook different; for example, blue becomes purple and red becomes orange.This is not a problem with your printer driver, with Microsoft Windows, orwith your printer.
Many Windows color printer drivers were designed using the cyan-magenta-yellow-black (CMYK) color model. (You can tell if your printer uses thismodel by looking at the ribbon. If it has four bands of blue, red, yellowand black, its associated Windows printer driver probably uses the CMYKmodel.)

The CMYK model uses subtractive primary colors rather than additive primarycolors. The most common additive model is red-green-blue (RGB). An additivemodel adds colors together to create the desired color. For example, tocreate white, RGB adds all the colors together. To create black, RGB addsno colors, leaving the screen (or whatever media) black.

The CMYK model subtracts cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to create thedesired color. So, to create black, CMYK uses all the colors. To createwhite, it uses no colors. This method is well-suited to printing on paper.

Because your computer monitor is using RGB and your printer is using CMYK,the results will differ. To better print primary colors, like blue or red,choose cyan or magenta respectively. For other colors, some experimentationmay be necessary.
Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary
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Article ID: 97600 - Last Review: 09/24/2011 00:09:00 - Revision: 3.0

  • Microsoft Windows 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.1
  • KB97600