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CMYK and PowerPoint

How can I use CMYK colors or CMYK graphics in PowerPoint?

Simplistic answer: You can't.

PowerPoint works strictly in RGB. You can't specify colors in CMYK and any graphics you import get converted to RGB. While PowerPoint will generally convert your CMYK colors to RGB when you import a graphic, you have no control over the way the conversion is done.

And in some cases, CMYK graphics files can cause weird display or printing problems, so it's best to avoid CMYK altogether.

Best practice is to convert all graphics to RGB in some other program and only then import them into PowerPoint.

But when I convert to RGB, the colors go funny

That's fairly common. Sometimes it's because a given Pantone or CMYK color has no exact equivalent in RGB. In other cases it's because the program you're using has some form of Color Management (CM) going on. Generally you want CM turned OFF when converting graphics to RGB.

It's pretty easy to tell if CM is turned on:

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CMYK and PowerPoint
Last update 07 June, 2011