I made an Indesign document (RGB).

I've placed an AI document (RGB).

When I export to an interactive pdf file, some colors changed and transparency doesn't work.

See images:

enter image description here

  • First rule of pdf readers: don't trust pdf readers. I have never seen a single pdf reader able to accurately preview a print-ready pdf.
    – Vincent
    Nov 13, 2015 at 10:35
  • 1
    What are your PDF export settings? Are you using a recent version of PDF that supports transparency effects like these? @Vincent Given that these are interactive PDFs in RGB, I doubt they’re intended for print. Nov 13, 2015 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


The first thing that comes to mind when seeing faulty renders like this is that the source is mixing spot swatches with transparency effects. There are two effective ways to mitigate these problems. First, either convert your spot swatches to process, or set InDesign's Ink Manager to convert all spots to process. You can access the Ink Manager from the Swatches and Separations Preview pallets' submenus. Second, export as PDF/X. I've had good success with PDF/Xa:2001, but different RIPs may fair better with newer formats. It flattens everything with transparency effects. You may see some hairline seams on screen with a PDF/X, but that is usually just an on-screen artifact of how the file has been flattened. The PDF/X format is also a good canary in the coal mine, in that if you see a major problem on-screen (aside from hairlines), it will likely show up on the print.

  • As I mentioned in my comment above, replying to Vincent, the fact that the documents are RGB and the PDFs are interactive makes me think they’re intended for on-screen viewing rather than print; so RIPs and such things are not likely to be much help here. Nov 13, 2015 at 12:52
  • You're right. Although, where I work, it is not at all uncommon to receive an RGB PDF with spot colors and interactive content that we are asked to print. Converting spot to standard swatches may yet prove effective at any rate.
    – 13ruce
    Nov 13, 2015 at 13:20

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