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I made PowerPoint template on PowerPoint 2010 for PC and everything seemed to be just fine.

But when I opened it on my Mac (PPT 2011), I could see the background color was wrong. So I tripple checked the RGB-values on the background and they was OK.

So I tried to write some text over the background with the SAME RGB-value on the text as on the background. There was clearly a difference here. It seems to me that the text got the correct color and the background is wrong.

I tried to do the same thing on a blank presentation (and blank document in Word) and I could reproduce the same result.

Why is there a difference in the background color and the text color when they both have got the same RGB-value?

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Are you using 3D or shadowed/textured text? – Tog Jun 4 '13 at 8:16
No. I'm using plain regular text on regular background fill. I've also tried to fill shapes with a specific RGB-value and add text with the exact same RGB-value, same happens then. I've sent it to someone else to test it on their mac, and they get the same difference as im seeing. Is anyone else able to reproduce this? When I use the Digital color meter on my Mac it gives me correct RGB on the text, but the background fill is wrong. – effico Jun 4 '13 at 8:19
I can't reproduce this on PP v.14 (Office 2010). Are you saying that if you have red text on a red background, you can still "see" the text? I tried that and whenever the text and the background were the same color, the text was "invisible". – kmote Jul 11 '13 at 22:01

4 Answers 4

It doesn't seem to be a profile issue, as the colour appears differently between a native solid colour filled shape or background and text filed with the same, manually entered RGB value. No colour is sampled from a placed object.The text just appears darker and is closer to the visual appearance of the RGB colour in Photoshop on the same screen. But it's a mystery why text and solid filled shapes appear differently.

As a workaround, by using the equivalent HSB picker values in photoshop, entering them in PowerPoint and changing the Saturation setting by 1 point, the solid fill matches the text colour. But if you go back to the PowerPoint 'more colour' slider, the values are listed differently than those entered before. Also if you set the text to the same HSB value as you changed the solid fill, it goes darker again by 1 Saturation step.

The problem here is that, if a colour theme is to be saved, 2 values for the same visual target colour between text and solid fills will be required. Unfortunately negating the purpose of a consistent colour theme.

Hope this helps.

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This has probably to do with color profiles, probably on your mac, but it might be on the PC of course.

I've had this in the past, used color profiles on my mac with Internet Explorer (about 10 years ago). That resulted in strange effects. I made screenshots of websites I created and opened in IE, that had completely different colors from the same colors in Photoshop. I ended up disabling color profiles.

So you should check if color profiles are active on one of the computers. Disable them, and then see if this problem disappears.

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I can't find where to disable color profiles on the Mac. But why would the same RGB-value look different within the same color profile? My solution to the problem was to insert a one color image as the background. The image showed the right colors in PowerPoint, so this works. But im wondering if anyone else is able to reproduce this "error" on their systems using Office 2011? – effico Jun 4 '13 at 8:45
For OSX: Open System Preferences, click Displays, and then click Color. I cannot help you at the moment because I don't have a mac here, so you should google for this. – SPRBRN Jun 4 '13 at 9:56
Thanks. But im unable to disable the color profile (sRGB...).. the "delete" button is grayed out. But I dont see why the same RGB-value would show different within the same color profile? – effico Jun 4 '13 at 10:23
The default profile probably cannot be deleted. I suppose this is the one that does nothing. I'm not 100% sure that this is the cause of your problem, I just recognized the strange behavior from 10 years back. We're talking about two different machines, different OS, so they have a different color profile. The Mac displays colors differently from Windows, I believe darker. Try to take a screenshot of the powerpoint, open that in photoshop, see what the rgb-values are of a known color. If it differs, I'm pretty sure it is a color profile thing. But I can't tell which machine is causing this. – SPRBRN Jun 4 '13 at 10:43
Another option is to try LibreOffice, open the powerpoint there, see if it happens there as well. It might be specific to the program. – SPRBRN Jun 4 '13 at 10:44

It's a peculiarity of the MacOS way of handling color correction.

This page on my PPT FAQ site explains what's going on and how to fix it:

Colors appear different on Mac vs PC PowerPoint

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Thanks for "doing it right" with linking to your own site by disclosing your affiliation and not only answering questions where you can link to your site. We would appreciate it though if you could encapsulate the key steps from the linked page into the answer. All answers should stand on their own, with external links for reference but not strictly required to achieve the solution. If you could just summarize in a few bullet points how to solve the problem, then we'll be good to go! That way, if your site should ever go down, have the page moved, etc. people will still have the answer! – nhinkle Aug 4 '13 at 2:19
I understand your concerns, but by leaving it as a link to my site, users get the benefit of any additional information added to pages there later as updates become available/necessary. This way they're assured of getting the most up-to-date info I have. Updating information here is not practical. As to reliability, the site's been in continuous operation since '96 or so and in that time, has been down once for a few hours. I don't move pages w/o leaving a link to the new location behind. And if I can answer questions with a link, it leaves me more time for the ones that need research. – Steve Rindsberg Aug 4 '13 at 15:58

The main issue appears to be that Office on the Mac only works with standard colours. As soon as you start using custom colours it is very broken and renders the backgrounds differently to the pictures even with the same RGB numbers. This even happens if you create the picture using Mac Office, save it to PNG and bring it back in.

The only way I can find to make this work is to create the PNG with a transparent background. This way you aren't matching colours at all. On a PC Office handles colours fine but on a Mac it's very broken with seemingly no fix, only a workaround.

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This is called "color management profile mismatch" and is probably not broken (for example google: sRGB powerpoint problem"). The OP seems to be talking about solid fills of color applied within Powerpoint, and not placed images. This is a different beast altogether. – horatio Mar 26 '14 at 15:23

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