I have a large InDesign document with many images that are linked into it as PDF documents. I run a preflight check in InDesign to make sure everything is in the CMYK color space. These images keep getting flagged as being in RGB color space, but when I go to open the PDF file stored in the Links folder, it is in CMYK (not RGB). The Printing Press tool in Adobe Acrobat tells me that it's all in Device CMYK.

Any ideas why the preflight would be flagging these, and how I can get it to stop/fix the linked images if I need to?


  • I can't reproduce the issue. Tried a few things. The obvious explanation would be that there is some RGB object in the placed PDFs even though you might think there isn't. You talk about linking "images", but say they are in fact PDFs. Normally images to place in a layout program would be raster images (PSD/TIF/JPG/PNG etc.), not PDFs. Are they Photoshop PDFs where the image fill the entire page or are you cropping some print PDFs with images and other objects?
    – Wolff
    Mar 26 at 0:41
  • It looks like there is something about the PDF that is in RGB, but I can't clearly see it. When I use the Output Preview on the linked file and filter for "Not Device CMYK," the file appears completely blank. When I use a prepress preflight check, it says there are 2 instances of RGB filled areas ("RGB: 1.0/1.0/1.0 Overprint: off"). For clarification, this document uses links that are 1 page pdfs that have been exported from other InDesign documents. The image fills the entire page of the linked PDF. Mar 28 at 16:31
  • Sounds like it's some RGB white elements then. Perhaps fill and stroke on the image frame? You wouldn't be able to see them. Anyway, it doesn't really matter if you just convert to CMYK on export. Honestly, it sounds like a messy workflow with images inside PDFs. You lose the ability to check effective PPI, see color profile and edit the images.
    – Wolff
    Mar 28 at 18:52
  • Thank you for the help. It looks like it was a white RGB element within the PDF. I hadn't realized I could click on the error in the Acrobat prepress preflight check to select the flagged element. I'm new to the field and can't really comment much on our designers' processes, except to say that this is common. The linked exported PDF is another item that is being printed by an offset printer, and it's being displayed in this larger document. I assume that because the linked PDF is also another item being printed, they don't necessarily want to allow it to be edited within this larger document. Mar 28 at 19:23
  • I understand. It's a way of getting the exact same crop.
    – Wolff
    Mar 28 at 19:38


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