How do I find whether or not spot colors have been used in a PDF?


1 Answer 1


With Adobe Acrobat choose View > Tools > Print Production and click Ink Manager

I don't believe apps such as Reader or Preview will allow you to verify colors.

Photoshop rasterizes everything in a PDF when you open it unless it is a Photoshop PDF saved with editing capabilities enabled. There's no way to use Photoshop. In fact, often Photoshop will degrade a PDF if used. Using Photoshop to verify colors within a PDF is haphazard at best.

  • I noticed that in acrobat I had the ability to "Convert All Spots to Process" - what happens when you use this feature? Does it try to approximate each of the individual spot colors and decide what it would be in CMYK and then convert it to that value? When I tried to do this the spot colors dropped out completely of the document.
    – maxwell
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 20:03
  • It depends on the way the file is constructed. Some Spot colors have internal CMYK build values. If those are present, then Acrobat will convert the spot based on those values and the assigned color profile. If a spot color is not possible in CMYK (such as fluorescents or metallics) it may drop out.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 20:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.