December 02, 2010

A “No Color Management” print utility for Photoshop

For many years Photoshop supported a “No Color Management” printing mode.  Unfortunately the option caused user confusion, and it was difficult for Adobe & Apple to continue supporting.  In the course of modernizing Photoshop’s foundations (moving to Cocoa, 64-bit, Quartz, etc.) in CS5, we dropped this feature.

There are, however, people who need to print without color management. They print color targets which are then used to generate printer profiles for new printer/paper/ink combinations. These users range from printer manufactures to third-party ink suppliers to power users like Andrew Rodney who supply their own high quality profiles.

Therefore we’ve created the Adobe Color Print Utility, a simple app designed solely to enable printing without color management.  This way we’ve been able to simplify the Photoshop printing pipeline (both in terms of user experience & code maintenance) while offering power users a needed tool.  Please see the tech note for more application details.

Posted by John Nack at 6:15 PM on December 02, 2010


  • Michael — 5:42 AM on December 03, 2010

    On Windows how is this different from setting “Printer Manages Colors” in Photoshop and turning off color management in the printer driver?

    • alex kent — 10:27 AM on December 03, 2010

      I don’t think there is a difference.
      But the ability to do this relies on the Printer Driver having a ‘no colour management’ option, which i’m guessing not all printer drivers have.


  • Timothy — 8:53 AM on December 03, 2010

    Any reply on Michael’s question?

    “On Windows how is this different from setting “Printer Manages Colors” in Photoshop and turning off color management in the printer driver?”

  • melgross — 9:01 AM on December 03, 2010

    I wanted to thank Adobe for deciding to replace the PS based feature with this yesterday, but couldn’t figure out a good place to post it. I’ve been using my older copy of CS to do this with, and it’s a bit much. This will help. With new papers coming out all the time without profiles, or good profiles, this is a requirement.

  • Dave Polaschek — 10:24 AM on December 03, 2010

    On Windows, the main difference between using the mode that Michael describes and this application is that with Printer Manages Colors, the image data is converted to sRGB before sending it to the Windows print system (because that’s a requirement of the print system). So if your target is tagged with a color profile (it really shouldn’t be, but some are), there will be a color conversion done by Photoshop.

    ACPU does no color conversions at all.

  • Mike — 10:54 AM on December 03, 2010

    The “No Colormanagement” option in PS did confuse CMS pros, too, due to the fakt it´s not working as expected in Mac OS X 10.6, under most circumstances. Good to have this tool now.

  • Phil Brown — 2:59 PM on December 03, 2010

    Excellent news and thank you to the team (particularly Dave P.) for the effort to bring it all together.

    We’re already using it at work to great success.

  • Photoshopace — 3:21 PM on December 03, 2010

    If it had just been left alone it would not have confused anyone.

    [I suppose people can choose to believe an anonymous commenter, or they can believe the people actually on the product team (who talk to customers, work with partners at OS and printer companies, etc. –J.]

    Those who needed it used it, those who didn’t should have left well enough alone. Why must everything get dumbed down for the masses. Like ethnic food – stop trying to make Polish sausage milder for american tastes. Then it is not Polish anymore. If you don’t like that kind of food don’t eat it but let me enough it’s ethinicity.
    Not everyone should be using every feature. It is a professional program…..
    So keep the amatuers happy and mnake the pros waste $$$$ and many hours creating work arounds to get their work done right.

    Poor poor philosophy.

    [More like, “We at last deprecated something we’d been asked by partners to remove long ago.” –J.]

  • Debbi — 5:15 PM on December 04, 2010

    I always had to close CS5, open CS4 and print from there.
    Very intuitive to fix it for us.

  • lorin duckman — 12:03 PM on December 05, 2010

    I still don’t understand what his does and why I need it.

    • John Nack — 1:48 PM on December 05, 2010

      Then you don’t need it. :-)

  • Wayne Bennett — 1:23 PM on December 05, 2010

    Why is this only good for TIFF files? Why not all files used in Photoshop when printing? I miss this feature as I always did a “Convert to Profile” first then went to the print option. I found my results were much better, consistently, than with the option of “Photoshop Manages Colour”. With CS5 my prints are always darker than on the screen. The monitor is calibrated but I have to make my pictures brighter on screen to get a good print. That did not happen with the other system as in CS4.

  • Andrew D Rodney — 8:16 AM on December 06, 2010

    >Why is this only good for TIFF files?
    Because the only time you need this utility is to print untagged targets for building printer profiles and they are all TIFF. IF you are not printing such targets, you have zero need for the new utility.

    >With CS5 my prints are always darker than on the screen. The monitor is calibrated but I have to make my pictures brighter on screen to get a good print.

    Then read this:

  • George G — 7:05 AM on December 09, 2010

    Eventually found about about this but unfortunately won’t work with my Canon MP980 printer. It just does not print out the target which gets lost in space. Unfortunately I cannot get any advice on how to get round this except bin the Canon and buy an Epson which seems to work fine.

    Any suggestion please before I bin the Canon.

    • Dave Polaschek — 9:23 AM on December 09, 2010

      Are you on Mac or Windows? Which OS? Are you running the most recent printer driver for your printer? I don’t think we have an MP980 on hand, but it was tested on a pretty wide variety of printers.

      • George G — 12:54 AM on December 10, 2010

        Hi I am on a Mac OS 10.5 and yes I think I am on the most recent driver for my printer as I get automatic updates but I will check if there is a newer one.


  • Nick Powell — 2:54 AM on December 14, 2010

    I’ve been using this utility to print test targets. Seems ok on A4 targets but resizes the target when printing A3. The problem seems to be that you cannot set the paper size which reverts to A4. I’m using Windows 7 Professional (64 bit).
    Are you planning on future releases?

  • Andrew Beattie — 3:31 AM on January 10, 2011

    At last! It has been released.

    Shame it wasn’t mentioned in Adobe labs where I was instructed to wait for the announcement.

  • George Gray — 12:40 PM on January 10, 2011

    In an earlier posting I mentioned that I “this won’t work with my Canon MP980 printer. It just does not print out the target which gets lost in space. Unfortunately I cannot get any advice on how to get round this except bin the Canon and buy an Epson which seems to work fine. Any suggestion please before I bin the Canon.”

    Well as I could not find a solution i binned the Canon and bought and Epson stylus 1400 and guess what. It still does not print; i cant believe that it is so hard to get a decent print.

    I am using a Mac with OS 10.5, I open the test sheet as advised, I do the print set up including turning off the color management and then I ask the damn thing to print and it goes off into space. When I come out of this utility and go back into CS5 everything prints fine except for the colour matching.

    Any help or ideas will be appreciated as this is driving me nuts

  • Pelekanakis Vaggelis — 5:03 AM on February 01, 2011

    I use Mac os 10.6.6 and an EPSON R2880 printer .I waited for the adobe release but I still can not print without colour management because even through ACM print utility there is no dialog to turn colour management off ,only printer management or colorsync

  • Harold Brown — 1:40 AM on February 02, 2011

    As somewhere mentioned above, the tool seems to be faulty because of scaling.

    When printing files from X-Rite ColorPort 2 software using Win7 64 on my EPSON STP3800 the files are scaled down a bit, regardless what borders I set (even to 0). So the prints can not be read by my X-Rite DTP70 chartreader.

    The files are tagged correctly for size, Photoshop prints them in the correct size but has no option to disable the CMM any more.

    A workaround is to open the chartfile in PS5 and apply a simple colorprofile to it, let´s say AdobeRGB. In the printing dialog the printer is set to “no color management”, PS5 itself is set to PS manages the colors. Now apply THE SAME profile as applied above as printer profile. Don´t care about the rendering intend cause NO color compression happens since both gamuts are the same.

    This seems to work for me, even tests with printing to .pdfs gives the same RGBs as from the file itself.
    But remind NOT to apply two different color profiles.


  • Tom Maugham — 8:24 AM on March 07, 2011

    John Nack, I’m having the same scaling issues as above, is there a fix for this?


  • Nina Zacuto — 1:49 PM on June 01, 2011

    I have recently calibrated my monitor and had a profile written for the paper I use, but the print out using my Canon i9900 is light. I am using an iMac 27-inch with Snow Leopard installed. However, when I print the same image using CS3, the same computer, the same profile and the same printer, the image is almost perfectly what I see on the screen. It does not have the issue of being light. I am told that other people have this same issue, particularly with mac OS X version 10.6.7. Are you familiar with this problem and do you have any suggestions on how to resolve it? Please help. Going back and forth between Photoshop CS5 and CS3 is extremely inconvenient. BTW, printing out of Lightroom 3 gets the same results as CS5.

  • William De La Vega — 5:31 PM on July 24, 2011

    It appears at the bottom of the page in the known issues of the link for the Adobe Color Printer Utility that it will only work with Mac 10.6.

    Yet in the OS section further down it shows 10.5 and 10.6.

    Is there a version for 10.5?

  • Phil Reed — 12:39 AM on August 19, 2011

    The Utility is a nice idea, but I’m also having the problem with scaling. Tried printing charts from Argyll for a DTP20 “Pulse”. ACPU shrinks the charts just enough that my DTP20 gives an error saying the patches are too small. The utility isn’t printing 1 to 1.

    [Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Apparently it’s a known issue, and we’d like to issue an update, but I don’t have an ETA for that happening (as enhancing Photoshop’s print engine needs to take priority). –J.]

  • Rick Szubielski — 10:21 AM on October 27, 2011

    I have printed i1 test charts using the ACPU & from i1 Match software, using the exact same settings for each. The ACPU does not print the same colors as the i1 Match program, which I consider to the more accurate representation of the raw colors of the printers I use. Anybody else notice this?

  • kevin snow — 9:16 AM on December 27, 2011

    John, et al,
    any reason why the utility will not present me with a print dialog? using windows7pr 64bit and cs5 extended. I can only get to the initial select tiff, then just a simple page setup and print. No print dialog. I thought that maybe chaging the epson to default printer might do it, but no go.

  • Austen Bailey — 10:44 AM on February 03, 2012

    Is there any change for OSX 10.7/Lion? I was thinking about upgrading (my print drivers now support it) but I wanted to look into this issue first.


  • Karel Pones — 2:57 AM on February 14, 2012

    I have to express my deep disappointment with Adobe´s “modernizing” effort. Adobe Photoshop is PROFESSIONAL editor software for an adequate price. I can´t understand why it is reduced in function because of people not familiar with its features? If several thousand users will state being confused with “open file” dialog – because there is many dialogs in Photoshop anyway – will Adobe write a special software to open the file and cut it off from PS? “No CMS” feature is usable for many more reasons then just printing targets and I found Color printer utility an unadequate substitute. I just hope it will be less marketing nonsense and more rationality for the future inovations…

  • Bruce Bain — 8:59 AM on September 06, 2012

    In order to develop custom ICC profiles, I tried to print color targets using the Color Print Utility and encountered a scaling issue. The printed targets were smaller than the originals. When printed via Photoshop all sized correctly. Is there a fix to correct the sizing issue for the Utility. I notice that many users have experieinced the same problem.

  • chris clack — 10:28 AM on October 06, 2012

    I like many other people am finding this print utility frustrating , the main problem is setting the paper size to anything other then A4, have others found this problem?

    In the past Printing targets from photshop was so straight forward, I also print many of my images
    without col-management or interpolation which I would have done from photoshop in the past, now completely stuck without this and the option adobe gives does not seem to work.

  • Ivan Tsyba — 3:14 AM on April 25, 2013

    Is there any movements with target resizing bug?
    It make harder to read my targets after it was printed from ACPU.
    Also, I can’t change nothing in generic printing option window (Windows 7), they always roll back to defaults.

  • lola — 2:49 PM on June 12, 2013

    I am having resizing issue with ACPU as everyone else. Can somebody explain why is Michael’s point “On Windows how is this different from setting “Printer Manages Colors” in Photoshop and turning off color management in the printer driver?” not valid and what is different?

    extremely frustrating this

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