I was designing a custom RGB document for a power point presentation, a rather large document with pictures. Suddenly (if I recall) after saving the document to PDF > Smallest File Size, I notice that ALL MY SWATCHES changed, from bright to dark. I figured it was a RGB > CMYK issue so I went and check, but the document was still RGB. I will post a screenshot with some comments.

Please let me know if you need anything else. Thank you![enter image description here]1

  • you havent enabled Soft Proof have you? Oct 13 '15 at 15:53
  • 2
    You complained about the color in the PDF, so you checked the Illustrator document? Check the PDF, then examine closely your export settings.
    – Yorik
    Oct 13 '15 at 17:02
  • @Yorik How do you know he checked the Illustrator document and not the PDF? When you save an Illustrator file as a PDF (at least in CC and CS6), the Illustrator window stays open, but you now have the PDF, not the Illustrator document, open. So assuming he just looked at the document that was open after the saving to PDF, he was in fact checking the PDF. The swatches aren’t cleared until the document is closed. Oct 13 '15 at 22:22
  • @JanusBahsJacquet: I don't know, which is why I put a question mark.
    – Yorik
    Oct 15 '15 at 14:29
  • This doesn't look concluded.. and a colleague of mine just came across the same problem. How was this resolved? Mar 15 '17 at 15:22

Make sure your document color settings are compatible with each of your color swatches models (i.e CMYK). Check in EDIT > color setting

Also worth a check on matching setting: 1. EDIT > transparency flattener presets 2. Inside the PDF settings (while saving) go to the Output tab

Oh and please inform which one worked if at all.

  • I will try it tomorrow and let you know, ty for the help
    – Alex Deac
    Oct 14 '15 at 16:21
  • yw. FYI my explanation is a bit undetailed because I assume you'll understand what to do/change in each setting option. If not - say so..
    – Yar
    Oct 14 '15 at 16:35

You most likely are viewing the PDF in illustrator - guess what? When you save a PDF, lots of things happen; especially when you save it as "Smallest File". Compression, effective color palette, image sizes all can change to fit that PDF profile.

You are already working with vectors so the file will be quite small. Bring in raster art, and the size will increase in relation to the raster art size. Best practice is, for screen presentations, make all your art 72 dpi.


In all probability the issue was caused by the PDF save....

Choosing "Smallest File Size" by default alters the color profile....

enter image description here

If you aren't using the default sRGB IEC61966-2.1 profile in Illustrator... yes colors may shift. Or if you have a corrupt color profile being used in Illustrator.. or no color profile...

You can change that setting to "No Conversion" and see if things are better.

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