A design agency my company is using have created a flyer design for us. Upon print, it looks as if the body text on the flyer has been printed in a rich black, because the text has come out a little 'blurry' and seems to have a little magenta visible on one side of the characters.

Unfortunately I only have the pdf version and not the editable InDesign file at the moment.

Is there a way to check whether the agency have used the correct black (plain) in the PDF files of the flyer?

2 Answers 2


If you have Acrobat Pro, yes you can. I don't believe Acrobat Reader has this function.

(These instructions may vary depending on which version of Acrobat you use. I'm using Adobe CC 2015)

  1. Open the PDF in Acrobat Pro.

  2. Under the "Tools" menu (top left), choose "Print Production", which is under the "Protect and Standardize" section:

enter image description here

  1. From the list on the right column, choose "Output Preview":

enter image description here

4: The "Output Preview" dialog box will appear. You can roll your cursor over any point in the document, and the color breakdown for that exact pixel will appear in the dialog box:

enter image description here

So to answer your question, if the text in your document shows 100% black and 0% other colors, you're good. If it shows a combination of CMYK colors including black, you have Rich Black text.

  • No need to believe… The Print Production tools are only available in Acrobat Pro (not even Standard). In addition to the visual check, it is also possible to use the Preflight tool, and use or create a Preflight Profile which finds pure black or rich black.
    – Max Wyss
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 22:37

Besides the answer DLev provided, you can open the pdf in other programs like Ilustrator and Corel Draw and use the normal eye droper.

But there is a chance the pdf you have is not a production pdf.

Sometimes an agency sends for a low resolution RGB file. RGB because it compresses better than CMYK on the embeded images.

Your best witness are the flayers themselves. Use a mesh counter.

There are two possible things here. If you see screen on the borders of the file and if you see difertent inks.

If you see screen there is a chance that the text not only was on rich black, but also flatened with the image.

But before asking some refund or something, ask yourself it the flyer is good enough as it is.

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