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Corel Draw X3 print to PDF color issue

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Last Modified: 2013-12-02
My client does work in Corel Draw X3 using a Pantone color profile. I assume this is something they configured themselves, because Corel support is not able to assist. The problem is that when they print to PDF, the color in the PDF is different to what they have on the screen. We know that they have the right color on the screen, because by definition, that is what Pantone is for... and we know that the profile is probably right, because it prints correctly on paper.  

The only problem, according to the Corel Draw users at my client... is that printing to PDFs aren't working, resultingly my client views this as a technical issue, which according to Corel it is not.

I believe that it is a color profile issue - because Corel Support has not been able to assist us, and have instead suggested we ask the question in a support forum - in the hope that someone else has encountered the same. This makes me think that issue is too 'easy' for Corel Premium Support to charge to fix it, even though my client is prepared to pay them, yet they refuse, or worse perhaps... the Corel support agents aren't skilled enough to understand.

On the other hand, the issue may be too "custom", and should be resolved by a third party Corel expert... however I can't believe that it is not a common occurrence ... other Corel users who make use of Pantone (or other) color configurations must have encountered this same issue.

My reason for asking the question here: is to share the answer in the hope of sparing someone else this hassle when they encounter it.
So if you've fixed a similar issue before... please share your solution here.
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I don't know that much about CorelDRAW, but I can say this:

You claim that "We know that they have the right color on the screen, because by definition, that is what Pantone is for". Unfortunately, Pantone colours are *not* designed for the screen, they are designed to print correctly on a printer with Pantone inks. They are not even guaranteed to print correctly on a 4-colour printer. However, some of the better colour lasers - and especially those with Fiery RIPs - have built-in Pantone matching.

Author

Commented:
Correction - I did not mean to offend any purists :-) I just wanted to say that the colors are right, because they are the correct Pantone colors which the client wants... They print out right, and it is just by merciful coincidence that this holds true for what is seen on the screen as well. Just why this is not the case when printing to PDF, is the real mystery we aim to resolve.
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Which PDF writer do you use? If you're using Adobe's, what are the colour settings in the driver (from Printing Preferences > Adobe PDF Settings > Color)?

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The users just click export to PDF in Corel. In my own troubleshooting attempt... I tested various free print-to-pdf drivers. In Corel Draw X3, you cannot fine tune the color settings which is used in producing the PDF output.

Please do not get frustrated with my answer. I am not a Corel Draw user. Corel Premium Support does not even want to help, because the issue is probably a major shortcoming of the product.
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When you use Pantone colors, what is actually being used are CMYK colors - these never look right on the screen because they are intended to be come inks during the printing process.

If the client wants a PDF that looks good on the screen the colors have to be changed to RGB colors.

I will say that the colors never have been very good on the screen when using later versions of CorelDraw. So, yes there are color management shortcomings in the product.

There are 2 ways to make a PDF using CorelDraw - one is the built in PDF maker (accessed through File>Publish to PDF - when using this setting there are several things to adjust or text how the PDF will look: there are the PDF styles (for document distribution, for prepress, for the web, etc.) I would imagine if the PDF needs to look good on the screen, they might need to select "for the web".

The other way to print is if the adobe printer is installed correctly, just use File>Print and select "Adobe PDF" as the printer. Then there are many settings that can be tested using that method to get the optimal quality PDF.

DeeDee

Commented:
Oh, what I should have said is this: They might not have to change the colors in the artwork if they use the correct settings that will allow the PDF to change the colors (to RGB) by using the web settings for a PDF.

DeeDee

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Commented:
DeeDee, you may actually be onto something, but I'm going to need a "Corel Draw" answer, even if the solution is only partially correct, but it must be specific to how to address the issue in Corel Draw.

It was my first conclusion that the color profile should be adjusted. However, the graphic artists employed by my client, have maintained that because their Pantone colors print correctly to the printer... this is a technical issue and they demand that the computer people fix it. That is when I offered to take theissue to Corel. My client agreed that they'd pick up the charges for Corel Premium Support. To my shock, Corel said this is a user issue, they can't assist. So here we are, and I don't for a minute believe that this is an isolated case. Therefore, if there are others who may have encountered this, and even only partially fixed it... Please share your suggested resolution here.

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Commented:
To: Any respondents:

Please ignore the fact that I mentioned the coincidence of the colors not just printing correctly on the printer, but also displaying correctly on the screen. I never intended to imply that this is significant. The fact that the colors print correctly on various printers is in fact the issue of importance. And then the fact that Corel cannot just give us the same output to PDF.

What I wanted to convey: (and this statement now does include output to the screen) is that we had no other issues with any output from Corel except for the PDF output issue.

So to not be detracted from the sought after resolution: What is printed to the printer should be printed to any printer, be it physical or PDF or any other digital format for that matter. Please only respond if you know how to achieve this in Corel Draw. Any version.
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If I could see the file and download it, I could try some settings using CorelDraw X3.

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Could not resolve issue with client.
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