Image Discolouration when printed in Microsoft Word


I have an image which was created in Adobe Photoshop and is being inserted into a Word Document.

The document contains a rectangle with a coloured fill which the image sits on top of.

The same RGB values are used for the colour in Photoshop and Microsoft Word and this looks perfect on screen however when the document is printed the image colour comes out a darker shade than the document colour.

I have changed the display and Photoshop colour profiles to sRGB IEC61966-2.1.

When I take a screenshot and colour pick the document and image colours in Photoshop they have the same RGB values.

EDIT: Just to check - my problem isn't that the chosen colour isn't identical to the on-screen colour (I know and accept that the printed version will be darker). My problem is that if I create a solid coloured rectangle in Photoshop and then save it. When I insert the image into Word and then add a rectangle as a Word shape and use the same RGB colour settings for its filled background and click print the image colour will print darker than the Word colour.

8/20/2015 11:50:00 AM

Accepted Answer

It's normal that the colors on the screen are always brighter than the ones on paper. There's also other factors like the type of paper you use and the printer itself. And as it was mentioned in the other answers, Microsoft Words is a text editing software and doesn't have much accuracy for color management. I don't know with the new versions of Words but it's possible your color profile is simply ignored by it.

You can try using a tiff image format and have it in CMYK color mode. It will look less bright on the screen but the results should be closer to reality when you print. Yes, tiff are very heavy but they are alright with Words.

You could always use a high quality JPG but you need to be careful with images that have a white background; sometimes the white isn't printed pure white because of the compression and you'll see a very light background instead of white on your images!

If you plan to get that document printed at a print shop, you'll need to get used to CMYK mode. They usually require CMYK colors for your images and texts.


You want the shape created in Word to have the exact same color as the one in Photoshop; they use the same color values but it doesn't work.

I know this might look like a dumb solution but it works in a lot of software and it's another way to maybe fix the issue.

Try to do the same as what is done for websites; create a square of that color in Photoshop and use it as "texture" in your rectangle drawn in Microsoft Word.

Technically, the triangle you created in Photoshop and the rectangle in Word filled with that image should come out the same color.

Fill shape with picture texture in Microsoft Word

Apply custom texture in Microsoft Word to make colors of Photoshop same as colors in Word

8/20/2015 12:02:00 PM

What file format are you using? MS Office products prefer PNG files over all others, even if they aren't using a transparent background. Try saving out as PNG, if you aren't already.

I actually think Adobe 1998 is a more widely-used standard for non-Mac, and non-design workflows. It's become much less of an issue over the years, but clearly you're still having trouble.

Finally, MS Word is weird. You may have to concede certain accuracy for the fact that you're demanding a hi-precision piece from a ham-fisted, clunky bit of a software. Perhaps the solution is to create an alternate image that compensates for how MS Word messes things up. For example, if it's too dark, make the image artificially light.