When exporting the same map in ArcMap into different formats the color is not consistent.

The map is a roadway network and I use grey 30% solid line as the symbol in ArcMap.

However, when i export it to PDF and all the other formats, only the PDF resembles the color in ArcMap. All the rest appear like a color of grey 10%.

My problem is I have to generate PDF and picture format (which can be directly inserted into Word document) maps at the same time, but the colors appear different.

Instead of spending time to make two different map document with adjusted colors, what can I do?

The first image below is a jpeg format map, you can hardly see the grey color roadways in the background. The second one is the pdf format map, the grey color shows up exactly as the same as what I see in the ArcGIS.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Please tell us which GIS you use ... there is more than one
    – underdark
    Jul 10, 2014 at 19:45
  • Sorry, ArcMap10.2
    – 12B01
    Jul 10, 2014 at 19:46
  • Are you exporting using the same colorspace (CMYK,RGB) for both formats?
    – cl3
    Jul 10, 2014 at 21:06
  • I use the same mxd. document to export the map. Didn't change any setting when I export it into different formats.
    – 12B01
    Jul 10, 2014 at 22:05
  • Would you be able to edit your question to include pictures of what you are seeing in PDF versus other export formats from ArcMap, please?
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 11, 2014 at 2:35

2 Answers 2


You are seeing differences between vector and image export formats. Try using one of the other formats, such as SVG. In your case, vector graphics will be more appealing because of the linear road network, whereas mage (raster) format will appear more grainy. The following documentation explains the differences between the formats

  • EMF, EPS, PDF, SVG, and SVGZ formats are referred to as vector export formats, because they support a mixture of vector and raster data.
  • BMP, JPG, PNG, TIFF, TGA, and GIF are referred to as image export formats, because they are purely raster export formats.

I know this answer probably won't solve everyone's issue but my map was turning grey with a basic map that didn't take me long to create. If your situation is the same as mine, do this: * Delete EVERYTHING and start over ...seriously, it worked. I spent all day yesterday trying to figure this out and this morning I just deleted every messy .gdb I had, any .lyr I created for this map, all my working .mxd's, and started over - it worked amazingly.

If you have a large map with a lot of data, I do not recommend doing this.

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