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How do I get CMYK color code from hex code?

How do I get CMYK color code from hex code?

Converting between color formats like RGB, hex, CMYK can be tricky. Each format represents color differently for digital and print use cases. While hex and RGB are ideal for on-screen display, CMYK is used for commercial printing to accurately reproduce colors using cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink.

If you need to convert a hex color code to CMYK for print design, there are a few easy ways to do it using online tools or Photoshop. In this guide, we’ll walk through the basics of hex, RGB and CMYK color, and show you step-by-step how to convert hex to CMYK using free online converters or Adobe Photoshop.

Understanding Hex, RGB and CMYK Color

Hex, RGB and CMYK represent digital colors in different ways:

Hexadecimal (Hex)

– Hex codes are 6-digit combinations of letters A-F and numbers 0-9 prefixed with #.
– Web colors are defined by hex codes like #FFFFFF for white and #000000 for black.
– Hex allows defining millions of possible color values in a compact 3-byte format.
– Used for web design, digital design.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue)

– RGB colors are defined by levels of Red, Green and Blue light combined.
– RGB values range 0-255 for each channel.
– RGB is an additive color model used for screens that emit light.
– Hex codes convert directly to RGB values.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)

– CMYK represents percentages of light absorbed by cyan, magenta, yellow and black pigments.
– CMYK values range 0-100% for each color.
– CMYK is a subtractive model used for print with inks that absorb light.
– Conversion from RGB to CMYK requires color profile for the printer.

So in summary:

– Hex defines colors for digital use as 6-digit codes
– RGB defines colors by light emission with values 0-255
– CMYK defines print colors by light absorption as percentages

Converting between these formats involves calculations based on the different color spaces.

Steps to Convert Hex to CMYK

Here are the basic steps to convert a hex color code to CMYK:

1. Convert the hex code to RGB values
2. Convert the RGB values to CMYK percentages

This involves two stages. First, the hex code translates directly into RGB values. Then, the RGB values are converted to percentages for CMYK ink mixing.

There are a few ways to perform the conversions:

– Use an online color converter tool
– Use Photoshop’s built-in color picker
– Calculate by hand (advanced)

Next, we’ll walk through how to convert in Photoshop or with online tools. Calculating manually is more complex.

Online Hex to CMYK Color Converter

The easiest way to convert hex to CMYK is using an online color converter tool. Many free converters can translate between different color formats.

Here are some recommended online converters:

Color-Hex Color Converter
RapidTables Hex to CMYK Converter
Adobe Color Wheel Converter

To use an online converter:

1. Go to one of the converter websites above
2. Enter your hex code, like #2F5597
3. It will instantly show the CMYK values, like:

Cyan: 100
Magenta: 89
Yellow: 43
Black: 22

That’s it! Online converters provide the simplest way to see the CMYK equivalent of any hex web color.

Using Photoshop to Convert Hex to CMYK

You can also use Photoshop to convert from hex codes to CMYK. Photoshop has a built-in color picker that displays different color formats.

Here are the steps to convert hex to CMYK in Photoshop:

1. Open Photoshop and create a new project file
2. Click the foreground color swatch to open the Color Picker
3. Click the Hex value field at the top and enter your hex code
4. The Color Picker will now display the equivalent CMYK values

For example, inputting a hex code of #2F5597 into Photoshop’s Color Picker displays:

C: 100
M: 89
Y: 43
K: 22

The Color Picker also shows the corresponding RGB and HSB values. This makes it easy to switch between color modes.

Using Photoshop is helpful if you’re designing for print in CMYK. It will use your selected color profile to calculate accurate CMYK conversions for your printer and ink setup.

How CMYK Conversion Works

Under the hood, converting RGB to CMYK involves determining percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink needed to match the original RGB values.

This is an approximation since RGB uses light and CMYK uses inks. The conversions use color profiles that characterize the RGB space and gamut of the CMYK printer.

Some key points about CMYK conversion:

– Cannot always match 100% of RGB, wider gamut
– Black (K) ink is used for dark colors instead of max CMY
– Grey component replaces RGB values
– Bright neon RGB values may convert to dull CMYK
– Color profile maps colors between spaces

So converting RGB to CMYK will do its best to map colors accurately. But some bright or saturated tones may not translate perfectly.

Preview the CMYK result before final print production to ensure it matches the RGB screen display. Tweaking the formula may help optimize the conversion.

Why Convert Hex to CMYK?

Converting hex codes to CMYK is useful for the following:

– Designing graphics, logos, documents for professional printing
– Matching print colors to brand hex colors defined for web
– Preparing photos for magazine or book printing
– Printing packaging, labels, signage in full color
– Ensuring colors translate accurately from screen to print

CMYK provides more accurate color mixing for ink and printing presses. It avoids issues reproducing RGB web colors designed for screens.

For any professional print projects, you’ll want to work in CMYK color from start to finish for best results. Converting hex web colors to CMYK is the first step.

Tips for Hex to CMYK Conversion

Here are some top tips when converting hex colors to CMYK:

– Pick the correct CMYK color profile for your printer, paper, and inks. This gives the most accurate conversion.

– Adjust ink percentages if needed to fine-tune color matching. The formulas are a starting point.

– Use black (K) ink for darker colors instead of maxing out CMY inks. This improves print quality.

– Expect some color difference between RGB screen and CMYK print. Allow for this in your designs.

– For photos, convert to CMYK profile after editing in RGB. This avoids banding or posterization.

– Always test print CMYK before final production. Tweak formulas to match RGB if needed.

– Consider Pantone spot colors for logos and branding. This guarantees color matching across formats.

With the right tools and color management, you can achieve great print results from hex web colors. Follow these tips for smooth workflow and accuracy.


Converting hex colors to CMYK is straightforward using online tools or Photoshop’s built-in converter. This allows creating designs in CMYK for professional printing to match hex web colors.

Remember that CMYK is an approximation of RGB. Some bright saturated colors may not translate perfectly. Fine-tune conversions with black ink and test prints for best accuracy. Proper color management and profiling ensures your prints match the original hex colors as closely as possible.