Is there any way to get Inkscape to work in cmyk colors? I have an .ai/.pdf file with cmyk colors which I need to to open in inkscape because I have to cut/paste part of the content to a new file.

But the problem is that as soon as I save the document as pdf in inkscape, it saves a pdf file with rgb colors instead of cmyk colors -(

Is there no way to get inkscape to preserve the cmyk colors? I don't need to edit/change any colors. And if not, what software should I use instead.

I am using inkscape 0.48 on Linux.


Does inkscape not have the ability to preserve cmyk colors?

No ... it doesn't, that is, yes it does not.

if not, what software should I use instead.


  • I tried to use Scribus, but the pdf files it produces does not seem preserve the colors. Are you sure it should be able to do this? – MTilsted Apr 18 '12 at 15:24
  • I've not tried it but Preparing a document for printer: CMYK PDF looked hopeful. – RedGrittyBrick Apr 18 '12 at 19:26
  • The negative here is confusing. Perhaps clearer: "Q: Does Inkscape have the ability to preserve CMYK colors? A: No." – iglvzx Apr 18 '12 at 20:22
  • @iglvzx: youtube.com/watch?v=InTAt2hI_kg – RedGrittyBrick Apr 18 '12 at 20:45
  • I ended up using Scribus. It can be made to work(That is: It does preserve the cmyk colors) – MTilsted May 5 '12 at 23:44

Sorry I doubt it: http://duckduckgo.com/?q=inkscape+preserve+cmyk Inkscape WIKI

Also, IIRC (this is about 6 years ago) Adobe vs Inkscape CMYK profiles were very different; by default Adobe uses calculations in a patented/copyrighted process, so by that nature it will not be the same as Inkscape. So if your ultimate destination for the PDF is a print shop, you need to use the tools they have there.

  • Seems you can use Scribus to open CMYK PDFs codewideopen.blogspot.com/2010/10/… – tomByrer Apr 18 '12 at 14:15
  • Just found out that the big problem with inkscape, is that it can't include cmyk colors in pdf files at all. What is the purpose of inkscape having some kind of cmyk support, when it can't export it to anything which can be printed, and it can't even print cmyk itself without first converting to rgb. – MTilsted Apr 18 '12 at 15:24

No, PDF = RGB. You can use "pdfimages" [of poppler-utils] or "gs" to extract the images from a pdf and save them as a bitmap. Then you can use gimp or ImageMagick to set the colormap to whatever you want for that image. But you said you don't need to change the color mapping. So just import the bitmap into Inkscape and you're done. You may need to convert the image first to a PNG depending on how your Inkscape was built. Gimp is nice Good for Image maniPulation as well.

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