Colors on screen and color printout may not match

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Article ID: 198213 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you print a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation on a color printer, the colors on the screen may not exactly match the colors on the printout. This is also true for other programs that produce color output.


This discrepancy in color results from the fundamental differences between how color is produced on a video monitor and how it is produced on a color printer.

The discrepancy is particularly noticeable when you print the colors blue and yellow. Blue usually prints darker than it appears on the screen and has a purple tint. Yellow usually prints with a golden-brown tint. In both cases, you can attain the desired color by increasing the brightness of the color as it appears on the screen.


To avoid undesirable results in color printing requires experience. Identifying and using colors that print reliably is the best way to achieve predictable and desirable results.

To test how colors render on your device, print the PowerPoint color palette to your color printer. Keep this printout near your printer, and refer to it when applying color to your PowerPoint presentations.

You can obtain the Printme.exe file from the Microsoft Download Center. This file is a self-extracting archive that contains the Printme.ppt file. The first slide contains instructions on how to use the presentation.

The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:
Printme.exe Contains: Printme.ppt; Release Date: September 11, 1997
For additional information about how to download Microsoft Support files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
119591 How to Obtain Microsoft Support Files from Online Services
Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help to prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.


Your video display is based on a process that combines various amounts of red-, green-, and blue-emitted light to produce the various colors that you see on the screen. This is known as an additive color process. With this process, combining all three colors produces white; combining none of the colors produces black.

In contrast, almost all color printers produce color by combining various amounts of cyan, magenta, and yellow pigment (and sometimes black). This is known as a subtractive color process. With this process, combining all three colors produces black; combining none of the colors produces white (assuming you are printing on white paper).


For more information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
163792 PPT97: Sample Color Wheel Available For PowerPoint 97


Article ID: 198213 - Last Review: August 11, 2004 - Revision: 2.4
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003
  • Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007
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