Color settings between Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Word

I'm a graphic designer setting up a letterhead design. I'm trying to place my graphics in the Header of a Word document. Design elements and logo were created in Adobe Illustrator and no matter what file format or color setting I export them as (jpg vs png; RGB vs CMYK vs Pantone) - when I print from Word the color is extremely different than when I print natively from Adobe.

What can I do to achieve the color I want?
(Office 2011 - Mac)

Question Info

Last updated September 20, 2019 Views 3,911 Applies to:

Microsoft Office applications are not color-managed. Here are the most common color issues that crop up:

  • OS X's color picker is color managed. When you use it with non-color-managed apps, you can't get exact values. The workaround is to install a color picker panel that doesn't use color management. Here's my article on this subject: Mac PowerPoint: Accurate Colors
  • Microsoft Office uses only RGB and HSL color models. Mac versions can appear to use CMYK because they use the OS X color picker, but behind the scenes, other models will be converted to RGB.
  • When you're creating graphics in Illustrator that will be used in Office, choose File>Document Color Mode>RGB Color in Illustrator to ensure that it exports correct RGB values.
  • Office 2008 and 2011 for Mac, and 2003 for Windows do not display or print vector (called autoshapes in Office) and bitmap objects as the same color even when they have exactly the same RGB values. This problem has been fixed in Office 2016 for Mac and all modern versions of Office for Windows.
Author of "OOXML Hacking - Unlocking Microsoft Office's Secrets", now available
John Korchok, Production Manager

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