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Saved files in illustrator turn into all black when viewing

Aug 27, 2013 8:14 PM

Tags: #illustrator #problem #images #cs6 #problem_color #problem_pdf

Hi All,


I've searched through the forums + google but haven't been able to get an answer on why this is happening.  Sometimes when I save files as a pdf in Illustrator, or receive files from other people the image loses it's colour. 


All colour is just black.  I'm attaching a screen shot so you can see what I mean, the colours here are supposed to be a shades of a PMS colour, but instead they're all black.


Hopefully someone can help!


Thanks in advance.




Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 11.10.15 AM.png

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 27, 2013 11:13 PM   in reply to Joellita30

    This could happen if PDF is created by printing to Adobe PDF printer and Separation is selected or PDF created from pre-separated PS file. Do you see multiple-pages in the PDF representing each plate?

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    Aug 28, 2013 5:36 AM   in reply to Joellita30

    I don't know why this happens, but I see it on occasion. Open the swatches panel and double click on the spot color, change the color mode from CMYK to book color and the correct preview color should appear.

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    Aug 28, 2013 6:10 AM   in reply to Joellita30

    In which programm do you open these PDF files? In Acrobat or Reader or something else?

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    Aug 28, 2013 11:08 AM   in reply to Willi Adelberger

    Sounds like a problem with opening the PDF with Mac Preview. Not a good idea.

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    Aug 28, 2013 10:11 PM   in reply to Joellita30

    You should never view any PDF in any other program than Acrobat or Reader. All other viewers support only a subset of PDF standards, so they are not reliable viewer program.


    The Word thing has nothing to do with Illustrator or PDF. You need to know,

    • in which program the Word embedded graphic was created.
    • how the graphic was saved as. Not every file type, which can be imported on Word in Windows is supported completely on the Mac, like EMF, WMF, but also other file types. (The other way round is also true.)
    • How the graphic was imported. Some people copy an image or a graphic from a source and paste it via clipboard. Which is not a good way, because it needs several system ressources from the local computer to show up in the host application, in that case in Word. If such a document is opened on a different computer, often even on the same Operating System, those images show up black. The only correct and robust way to import images in Word is via the Insert-Command or button with a compatible file selected.
    • Another problem might be, that an image or graphic was inserted in a version which creates docx files, like 2007 or 2010.Those versions support more graphic file types than older versions do. But because some people think, it is better to save files as DOC than as DOCX (smae with PowerPoint or Excel) for compability those images get lost and are only represented as black boxes. In my experience it happens often with PNG-24 files. It is never a good idea to save DOCX back to DOC. I inerit only problems with that workflow. (Also when I import files into InDesign I get always messed up with footnotes with this method, several get lost, several change their reference with each other, I have got DOCs where not even 1 of 400 footnotes was on its original place after import to InDesign. But this is another topic, but it is also an argument to avoid this workflow!)
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