How to Choose Color Management Print Options in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Choose Color Management Print Options in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

There are many different options for color management while printing with Photoshop CS6. Different output devices operate in different color spaces. Monitors, desktop printers, large-format printers, offset printers, and so on all have their own unique color space. The color management options enable you to convert the color space of your image while printing.

Different printers have their strengths, shortcomings, and quirks. It is recommended that you run test prints on different types of paper to see which settings give you the most accurate result, and stick with those.

Follow these steps to experiment with the Color Management settings and discover what print settings work best:

  1. Choose File→Print to open the Print dialog box.

    Previous users will be happy to learn that Photoshop CS6 has tweaked the print dialog box to make it less confusing. In addition the print dialog box is now sizeable. Drag the triangle in the lower–right corner to size your dialog box smaller or larger.


  2. Expand the Color Management options by clicking on the triangle.

  3. Select a method from the Color Handling pop-up menu.

    • Printer Manages Colors: Sends the document unchanged to the printer, tagged with its color profile. The printer driver then picks an appropriate color profile and converts your document’s colors to the final printout. Just make sure you enable color management in your printer dialog box.

    • Photoshop Manages Colors: Tells Photoshop to handle the color conversion, using the settings you select from the Printer Profile and Rendering Intent pop-up menus. Photoshop also checks whether you selected the Black Point Compensation option with this setting. Make sure you disable any color management in your printer dialog box.

    • Separations: Select this option if you want to print color separations. Your image must be in CMYK mode.

  4. If you chose Photoshop Manages Colors in Step 3, select your printer and paper type from the Printer Profile pop-up menu.

    Profiles associated with the current printer you select in the Printer submenu are sorted and placed at the top of the profile list.

    Although you may be able to change the Rendering Intent setting, leave this at the default setting of Relative Colorimetric, especially when printing photos or multicolored artwork.

    If, by chance, your image has a lot of areas of solid saturated color, you can try Saturation. Also, leave the Black Point Compensation check box at the default setting of selected or deselected — unless, you’re a color guru and have a better reason not to. Setting this option enables your printer to more accurately print the blacks in your image.

    When you select Photoshop Manages Color, you have three additional options located directly below the image preview. These options are strictly preview options. The Match Print Colors option displays a soft proof of your print based on the profiles, color management options, and printer you select.

    The Gamut Warning option displays colors that will be out of gamut, or out the range of printable colors. These colors appear as gray pixels by default. And, finally, the Show Paper White option simulates the white point of the paper you select in the Printer Profile submenu.

    If you have a 16-bit image be sure and select Send 16-bit Data.

  5. When you finish making your selections, click Print.

    If you selected the Photoshop Manages Colors option, you should turn off color management in your particular printer’s dialog box.

If all you want to do is print color prints on your desktop printer, start by selecting Document in the Print area and selecting Photoshop Manages Colors for Color Handling, which gives you the most control over printing. If you have a little time and paper and ink to burn, then print another copy by using the Printer Manages Colors option and compare.