Know your coloursChoosing your colour

When designing a publication in Microsoft Publisher and especially when designing for print, you should be aware of the colours that you use and how they will appear on the printed page.

You should always design in CMYK colours and not RGB when designing for print, and the reason for this is that colours seen on your computer screen print very differently. Most commercial printers will do a standard conversion of any RGB images if you send your file in this format, which might result in the finished document looking different to what you envisaged. To avoid this happening, try picking out the colours for your design in the CMYK colour space, and for best results, use printed swatches where possible. This way you will know exactly what your printed publication will look like and there will be no surprises when the finished product is different to what you saw on your screen.

Setting your colour

Once you’ve chosen your colour, you can set it by editing the colour properties of your text, images and objects. In the example below, we are going to edit the colour of a shape.

First click on the object or text to edit, and access it’s colour properties, usually by going to format tab > shape fill > more colours


This will then open the colours dialogue boxwhere you have three tabs. Choose ‘custom

In the ‘colour model‘ dropdown select ‘CMYK‘ and then set the properties of the colour that you have chosen. You’ll see a preview of the colour you have chosen in the right hand corner, along with the old colour so that you can view them for comparison. When you are happy, click ‘ok



You should do this when choosing colours for all objects, images and backgrounds on your page. When you are ready to prepare your document for print, you should also ensure the colour space of the file is set to CMYK. To do this go to file > info > commercial print settings > choose colour model


Then choose ‘process colours (CMYK)‘ and click ‘ok


View a checklist for designing in Publisher here