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Last modified: Monday, February 09, 2004 

Short for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, and pronounced as separate letters. CMYK is a color model in which all colors are described as a mixture of these four process colors. CMYK is the standard color model used in offset printing for full-color documents. Because such printing uses inks of these four basic colors, it is often called four-color printing.

In contrast, display devices generally use a different color model called RGB, which stands for Red-Green-Blue. One of the most difficult aspects of desktop publishing in color is color matching -- properly converting the RGB colors into CMYK colors so that what gets printed looks the same as what appears on the monitor.

Also see The Science of Color in the Did You Know . . . ? section of Webopedia.

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For pages about CMYK . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

CMYK, RGB, and HGB color models
An explanation of CMYK, RGB, and HGB color models.

Converting RGB to CMYK
This page gives a detailed technical explanation on how to convert RGB images to the CMYK color system for printing.

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related categories


Color Printers


related terms

color matching

color separation

desktop publishing

Intel microprocessors

offset printing

RGB monitor

spot color

thermal printer


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