Microsoft Publisher 2003 got locked into CMYK printing option

7 06 2011

I have designed and print my own personal organiser inserts from Microsoft Publisher. It includes information like Week Number, Day Number, Days to year end, etc etc and is set up as a mail-merge driven with an Excel spreadsheet in which I change 1 cell each year to update it.

A week into June I went to print the next two months, but after setting up the page-ranges in the Print Merge… menu, Publisher reported as shown below. It says, “Publisher cannot print CMYK composite… ”

Publisher error message

Now when you try to follow the suggested fixes, looking for Advanced Print Options, there seems to be no place to go to either turn off any CMYK options or to adjust the Postscript options, which are the other suggestion.

The secret is that the option you need to turn off is only available through the Print dialog when you are not printing the output of a mail merge. So to fix the problem;

  • quit the current document
  • restart Publisher and get a single blank page
  • Select menu File>Print and in the bottom left hand corner of this dialog is an Advanced Print Settings button
  • Click this and on the Separations tab clear the “Print Composite CMYK by default” check box
  • I also chose the sRGB option in the drop-down box
  • Click Cancel to close the Print Dialog

You can now re-open your original mail-merge document and you’ll find that you can do the Print Merge without any problems.

Incidentally, the way this option got turned on was when I had prepared a print-ready Acrobat file for a local print shop.

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