21 Replies Latest reply on Oct 27, 2011 1:13 PM by Arlen Byrd

    InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)

    tenacious828

      Hello. Alright, I am having issues when I export a PDF from Adobe InDesign. When I see it on the screen, it prints fine. Since I’m on a Mac (version 10.6.8 Mac OS), I use the Preview application as a default viewer of PDFs. Whenever I would print my resume document I designed in InDesign, the text and lines ONLY on the second page would print blue and yellow instead of black and magenta. I decided to try to do a re-design to see if the problem would come up again. I did so and kept saving my progress. I found that, up until a certain point when I was designing the second page, it would print fine in Preview. Suddenly though, after making some changes, I would export it again and the second page would be in the wrong colors again. Then, I decided to download Adobe Reader and Used Acrobat X Pro to see if they printed it any differently that Preview did and the results were normal. I’ve been doing a lot of research, since I really need to solve this problem so I can send out my resumes ASAP!

       

      I found this discussion on a forum at Apple.com:

      https://discussions.apple.com/message/10969355?messageID=10969355&tstart=0

       

      This article also brought up the fact that my HP printer could be to blame as well. Everyone in this forum was saying pretty much exactly what I have stated except with the additional possible problem of an HP printer.

       

      My guess is that this is an issue with InDesign, due to the fact that when I changed the text color from black to registration black, the black on the second page printed correctly as black instead of the blue it had been printing before. Again, the error ONLY occurs when I’m printing from my Preview Application in Mac OS X. I don’t know anything about color profiling, embedding color profiles, or ICC printer profiles. I’m guessing there is something wrong with some way I am exporting the file. The strange thing though, like I said, is the fact that it will ONLY happen after I hit a certain point in the design process on the second page in InDesign.

       

      I would greatly appreciate any help, as I have called Adobe and Apple back and forth and listened to one blaming the other. I’m on the brink of going insane!

       

      If you need any other information, please ask.

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
          BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          You already solved it. Stop using Preview, it's simply not up to the task of dealing with anything more than the simplest of PDFs.

           

          Bob

          • 2. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
            tenacious828 Level 1

            Yes, trust me, I'm all for Adobe Reader and Acrobat now. BUT you are failing to understand that, say, if I sent my resume to someone using Preview on a Mac (and possibly also an HP Printer), they would not be able to view my resume in the correct colors when printing. Don't you agree that that would be a real turn off for potential employers? I think so, anyway. So, to me, this is still a problem. But thank you for your reply.

            • 3. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              If you are worried (and rightfully so) that someone will be printing your resume from the wrong application, the first thing to consider is whether a person who doesn't know better than to use Preview is the right one to go to work for (though I'm sure otherwise great jobs are handled by uninformed HR wonks).

               

              But more importantly this puts the onus on YOU to do a design that will actually work in Preview as well as Reader. The odds of encountering an HP printer in an office environment are extremely high, probably much higher than having your resume read by a person with a Mac, let alone using Preview, but let's assume that everyone you want to see this will be similarly handicapped. A simple, well laid out, resume in in nothing but black, or black and one other color, will get you a lot further than something with a lot of fancy effects or a lot of colors that won't print on the office printer correctly anyway, even if they print with the right inks. Many HR departments won't even look at a PDF, by the way, but demand Word.

              • 4. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                Stix Hart Level 5

                What Bob & Peter said, & also if you are determined to get this scenario working, well you'll just have to keep experimenting until you find something that does print correctly.  You mentioned that registartion black printed OK, then use that or RGB black.  Have you tried making all your colours RGB instead of CMYK?  Make sure you keep them RGB upon export to PDF by using the High Quality Print export setting.

                • 5. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                  tenacious828 Level 1

                  Thanks for your replies. Well, I have sent out some word document resumes, but I was basically taught through school that, as graphic designer, designing a resume in word would be a horrific mistake. True, I doubt that anyone will have exactly this same situation, but I am insistent on figuring things out whenever I have problems with computers. I've solved every other problem I've had before, whether it was on my own or with tech support. I like to figure things out and even though technical details like this can be annoying when solving them, I always learn something from my experiences despite the aggravation.

                   

                  Honestly....when it comes to designing in CMYK or RGB, I understand the purposes of both, but I don't understand why InDesign designs primarily in RGB mode. In my experiences, I've mostly designed for print in InDesign. Again, I have to be honest, InDesign is an application I have less experience with in the Adobe Suite. I know that when I double-click a swatch, I can drag and make a custom color, but the thing that confuses me is the button that says "add CMYK swatch". If it's designing in RGB mode, why would it make a CMYK swatch? I don't know how to switch the mode to anything other than what it is. Also, I've been doing research on using black vs. registration black and have read several times that one should NEVER use registration with text. Basically all I have in my resume are dashed lines I drew with the pen tool and text. So, when I switch the black to registration, it's fine, but when I try to make a custom color (I had been using a default....probably not a good idea), it doesn't make a difference.

                   

                  Thanks again. Great thoughts and advice. Still hoping I can solve this, but we'll see.

                  • 6. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                    Stix Hart Level 5

                    You will never solve the problem of Preview being a crappy PDF viewer and printer, only Apple can.  The solution to this problem is to use Adobe Reader which is free, put a disclaimer on your resume saying if you don't use Adobe Reader to view this you won't be seeing it how it was designed.  Sometimes problems are beyond your control.

                    • 7. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      InDesign does not "design" in one color mode or the other. Unlike Photoshop or Illustrator, it's quite happy working in both CMYK and RGB simultaneouly, and you can designate the CMYKY and RGB spaces for the document. Because ID can work in any color space it is ideal for making all types of documents, and for repurposing the same layout for screen and print. Leaving things in RGB until the last moment allows color conversion to the correct output profile for a CMYK output device to happen at output, so you don't need to know before you start where the job will be printed, and the same layout can be printed on different presses and theoretically look identical.

                       

                      In the case of your resume, you are probably actually better off using RGB colors. They'll display more accurately on screen, and they'll print more reliably on an office-class printer. I agree that sending a Word file for a design job is counter-intuitive, but if that's what they ask for, that's what you should send. I prefer to send my own printed output whenever possible rather than depend on someone else's printer to do justice to the design.

                       

                      Since you see "add CMYK swatch" there's a good bet you are looking at the color picker. That little app is extremely confusing to the unitiated, and a REALLY dangerous place to wander if you don't know what it does in ID. Inside the color picker that big color field is ALWAYS RGB, but you see three sets of numbers, the RGB value, the Lab value, and the nearest CMYK value when converting the RGB to CMYK in the currently assigned spaces. Note the "nearest." Many RGB colors are out of gamut for most CMYK spaces and what you see in the color picker will not necessarily match a CMYK swatch you create from there. The type of swatch created from the color picker changes with which set of fields has the focus.

                       

                      I recommend using the Color panel rather than the color picker for creating CMYK colors, using the CMYK sliders. When youhave what you want, you can drag the clor into the swatches to add it.

                      • 8. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                        tenacious828 Level 1

                        Thanks everyone for the advice and information. Really great knowledge, Peter Spier. Thanks!

                         

                        I ended up actually figuring out what the problem was. I found a solution, but it was really obscure. I was adding rectangles in part of the design and the document would print fine out of preview, but only without these small boxes. So strange, but that seems to be the culprit. I am so thankful to have figured this out and I learned a lot in the process.

                        • 9. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                          the document would print fine out of preview, but only without these small boxes.

                           

                          Were there any transparency effects applied to the boxes? What's your document's Transparency Blend Space?

                          • 10. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            Rob's question about transparency is very pertinent. Transparency is one of the things that most often trips up Preview (even causing it to display the PDF incorrectly at times). You'll want to keep this file as "plain vanilla" in stucture as possible for use with Preview.

                            • 11. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                              tenacious828 Level 1

                              Yes, the boxes were all transparent black. I don't know why I just didn't use three different grays. I think because I couldn't get the exact shades I wanted. I just don't understand why that would cause the entire page to be printed in the wrong colors. Although this problem has been solved, I still am having the same thing happen in Illustrator. I just saved a new document I'm working on for a friend as a PDF and printed it with Preview to see the results. It all printed totally the wrong colors. Ugh. However, I just realized that I think all the files I'd been working with did contain transparencies, but I actually do need them to apply that way in order for the design to work. I'll work that out eventually, but for now, the InDesign fix is enough. Thanks for the replies.

                              • 12. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                Stix Hart Level 5

                                berae11x2 wrote:

                                 

                                I just saved a new document I'm working on for a friend as a PDF and printed it with Preview to see the results. It all printed totally the wrong colors. Ugh.

                                 

                                Well, by using Preview you've found a good way to not get consistent results anyway.

                                • 13. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                  berae11x2 wrote:

                                   

                                  Yes, the boxes were all transparent black. I don't know why I just didn't use three different grays. I think because I couldn't get the exact shades I wanted.

                                  Unless you need some sort of interaction between an object and what's behind it there's pretty much never a good reason to use transaprency. Tints (adjusting the opacity slider in the swatches panel) are essentially foolproof, transparency immediately invokes some sort of blending and introduces complexity that is hard to imagine.

                                  • 14. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    You can have transparency in your ID or AI file and flatten it on export (PDF/X-1a).

                                     

                                    If your Transparenct Blend Space is CMYK then a black object with 50% transparency will export as 0|0|0|50 CMYK, if it is RGB it will export as a 4-color black—something like 44|34|33|2. If you set Output>Color Conversion to No Color Conversion it will export as an RGB object something like 146|147|145. In either case you'll probably get a color cast, so try setting your blend space to CMYK and export as PDF/X-1a.

                                    • 15. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                      Be very careful, though about going this route. Pre-flatteningtransparency during the export from InDesign will almost certainly introduce thin white borders called stitching around all the transparent regions. These are a flattening artifact that is visible on screen unless the user turns off smoothing (unlikely, and out of your control) and usually show up in the prints from low-resolution devices like desktop printers. The cure is often worse than the disease.

                                      • 16. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                        Arlen Byrd

                                        It's been awhile since this thread was started, but I wanted to add another perspective. I may not be the "expert" that these other folks are. But as someone who is in the trenches using InDesign pretty nearly daily to develop and maintain catalogs and other marketing materials, I HATE Adobe Acrobat. I always use Preview, regardless of what hoops I have to run through. Acrobat is slow, buggy, crashes regularly, constantly wants to update itself, does not handle color profiles correctly or consistently when printing to our Savin C9065 (a $40k list price printer), and is generally a pain all around. Preview, admittedly, often fails to support more advanced PDF features. But it is extremely fast, predictable, prints beautifully, handles color profiles correctly and consistently, and doesn't try to update itself twice a month.

                                         

                                        Whether Apple or Adobe is to blame for this doesn't really matter to me. InDesign and Photoshop are both great apps, in that they do what I expect them to, but in general I am no Adobe fan.

                                         

                                        So from my perspective, it is very much worth the time to just leave out anything that makes Preview unhappy or do it in Photoshop and embed the Photoshop files needed in InDesign. Specifically, any InDesign effects seem to use PDF features that Preview does not support.

                                         

                                        This, in fact, is what I'm doing today, after spending an hour and a half yesterday trying to get Adobe Acrobat to print a single copy of a document (with no success). Converting all image drop shadows and effects to Photoshop effects so the PDF will display in Preview. This will be my last file conversion so I won't have to mess with Acrobat's shenanigans at all anymore. Long live Preview!

                                        • 17. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                          Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                          I am very glad you are happy with the MacOS Preview program and somehow coerce it to provide proper output, albeit by jumping through hoops and modifying your content to meet Preview's limitations. For better or for worse, your experience does not reflect that of the vast majority of graphic arts users. The reason why Preview loads so quickly and exhibits the speed it does is due to its lack of support or correct support for many aspects of PDF.

                                           

                                          I challenge you on your assertion that Adobe Acrobat updates itself twice a month. That simply is not true. There is one security update per calendar quarter and there have been a very few updates in-between to address particular security issues. But there have not been months with two updates.

                                           

                                          In terms of color management issues, have you reported the color profile handling problems to Adobe? What version of Acrobat are you running and on what platform? We are not aware of any significant color management problems in Acrobat although we certainly are aware of such problems in Preview.

                                           

                                          With regards to your printing problems with the Savin C9065, have you discussed those with Savin or Adobe?

                                           

                                                    - Dov

                                          • 18. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                            Stix Hart Level 5

                                            wakb wrote:

                                             

                                            Converting all image drop shadows and effects to Photoshop effects so the PDF will display in Preview.

                                             

                                            Your percieved problems with Acrobat's "updating" aside, it sounds as if your printer can't handle any of InDesign's effects, and Preview is simply giving you a better "Preview" of your potential printing problems.  Just try converting any spot colours to process and exporting to a PDF:X-1a, then printing from Acrobat, my guess is that your problems will disappear without any of the ridiculous jumping through hoops you've had to be doing.

                                            • 19. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                              dave c courtemanche Level 2

                                              Dov,

                                              Been unable to get Acrobat to update to 9.4.6. Always gives me this error. Installed as part of the suite, don't really wish to uninstall/reinstall to fix some oddity. I didn't modify Acrobat...Screen shot 2011-10-26 at 4.07.56 PM.png

                                              • 20. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                                Dov Isaacs Adobe Employee

                                                I would agree that reinstallation is a real pain!

                                                 

                                                Try using Acrobat's internal Repair Acrobat Installation option under Help. That may repair whatever supposed damage there is to your installation such that the update may occur.

                                                 

                                                          - Dov

                                                • 21. Re: InDesign Exports to PDF Problems with Color (Black Prints Blue)
                                                  Arlen Byrd Level 1

                                                  @Dov,

                                                   

                                                  Thanks for your candid response.

                                                   

                                                  1. OK. So my perception of the frequency of Adobe updates is off. And admittedly, any software that serves as some kind of reader (Flash Player, Acrobat, any web browser) does tend to have a lot of vulnerabilities and requires regular updates. Perhaps I should uninstall reader and then at least I wouldn't have to update both each time there is an update. They do come quite frequently at times though - February, March, April, June ... . None the less, it would be nice if it only tried to update when in use (since I rarely ever use either).

                                                   

                                                  2. Perhaps the vast majority of graphic arts users do prefer Acrobat, but in my experience, that is not the case. In fact, of users in general, Acrobat is one of the pieces of software I hear the most complaints about. At our office, not by my choice, we use other readers on all our Windows workstations for that reason. But most people I encounter now adays do very little print work, so that may be why most prefer Preview even in the graphic design world.

                                                   

                                                  In any case though, most people prefer a product that does less and does it well. This is my experience with Preview. It is fast and predictable, even if it doesn't support more "advanced" PDF features. I'd much prefer that to something that is slow, unpredictable and crashes frequently, even if it has a much more developed feature set.

                                                   

                                                  @Stix Hart

                                                   

                                                  I think you're right that the real problem with the color profile issues and InDesign effects / more advanced PDF feature printing could be with the $40k list price printer, or, more specifically, with the Mac drivers available for it, and that Preview just plays more nicely with it than Acrobat. Next time I'm in a bind, I'll try PDF:X-1a. I don't genearlly have issues with specific colors, it's issues more broadly with color profile handling and interpretation. Again, that may primarily be a printer issue, but Preview handles it without a hitch.

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  I've made the conversion (removed InDesign drop shadows, gradients and other effects) and on my very first print with Preview the 11x17 folded spread came out PERFECTLY. So at least in the end, it has worked.

                                                   

                                                  By the way, in InDesign's favor, its booklet printing feature works flawlessly with our printer. I just recently discovered it and it has made my life much easier (saves 1+ hours a month).