How Do You Convert CMYK to Pantone?

Use Adobe Illustrator to convert CMYK colors to the Pantone Matching System. Illustrator has an option to match CMYK, or cyan, magenta, yellow and black, to Pantone colors without the need to buy Pantone bridge books with the conversion information. Though it costs money to use Illustrator, Adobe offers a trial version on its website, providing 30 days of use before the trial ends.

  1. Import the CMYK illustration

    Open Adobe Illustrator, and import the illustration that uses the CMYK color mode. Press the Ctrl and A keys to select every color in the illustration.

  2. Edit the selection

    Click Edit, and point the cursor to Edit Colors. Next, select Recolor Artwork. The Recolor Artwork window has several options for editing colors and using built-in and custom presets.

  3. Pick a Pantone color

    Click on the swatches icon in the Recolor Artwork window, and select Color Books from the drop-down list. Choose a Pantone color book to match the colors in the illustration and to create new color swatches.

  4. Convert the colors

    After selecting the appropriate color book, click OK in the dialog box. Wait for Illustrator to convert the CMYK colors to Pantone colors. Save and print the image as needed. Close Illustrator.