I am creating a vector artwork and finalising it to print. I don't usually use illustrator and have discovered transparency flattening. I was wondering why its used? If its an old school preset no longer needed?


  • Old school? Funny. You do need it and will continue to need it years to come. n_n
    – Rafael
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


You dont need transparency when printing (a print has no transparency) so quite many prints shops require you to flatten the transparency before you print as it ensures least amount of errors. (this is done automatically on PDF save though but its the same tool with same settings).

Second reason is export. Sometimes you take artwork and move it to less capable systems. Then you can use transparency flattener to retain your graphics. Such systems include Visio, Powerpoint, LaTeX etc.

Third reason is if you want to edit the compound color and other editing tricks that rely on the flatteners features. Sometimes you can use this for cleanup. Sometimes for complex selections.

Fourth reason is to retain art integrity when sharing to others. By flattening the artwork you make the artowrk harder to compromize. This reduces the editability of the file while retaining print fidelity.

Fifth reason to be backwards compatible in workflow and file formats.


Basically all the reasons that existed when it was first introduced. If it was obsolete to you then then its obsolete today. You might never need it for anything as its automagically applied for you but that does not mean its obsolete.

  • 1
    The reasons I agree the most are 1, 3 and 4.... You missed the 5th Xo)
    – Rafael
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 16:49
  • @Rafael fixed. Obviously if you do not need something you do not need something 2 is just a different version of 1 not aiming for print. Similar things happens when sketch users export to AI and sometines the other way around.
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 17:04

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