I have two AI CMYK files with a vector object in each. Both, when trying to save to PDF do not show in Summary any warnings. When trying to copy/paste from one AI file to another and then save the destination to PDF I get this "spot colors and transparency" warning. And this makes the print go wrong.

I tried : Select->Edit Colors->Convert to CMYK - did not help

Where did those spots and transparency came from if were not present in the origin files AND how to combine the two and get rid of the warning

Two examples are attached :


AI Version of FileA

  • attach the file or snapshot to inspect more in details
    – atek
    Jan 24, 2017 at 5:07
  • In the File A there are spot colors. Pantone 252 C lilah and CutContour. Can you show us the ai file? Jan 24, 2017 at 12:13
  • replaced FileB with AI version of FileA. In AI I see those as swatch colors. Also, CutContour is recognized properly by the plotter when the PDF is printed and for that I thought it has to be a swatch color Jan 24, 2017 at 13:04
  • @SZCZERZO could you please also shortly teach me how you saw the spot colors in the file. thanks Jan 24, 2017 at 23:27
  • @atek modified the question and attached the files Jan 24, 2017 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


I'm using Acrobat Pro for basic output preview and editing.
For plotter the cutcontour need to be spot color (or to put it different, it need to be any color set to spot. The plotter should ignore it and not print this one). Are you sure you move (copy/paste) from CMYK to CMYK file? Ai should not show "spot colors and transparency" warning when you use file in the same range and profile.

  • @SZCZERZOFileA is originally CMYK, FileB is indeed orignially RGB which I converted to CMYK using "Edit Colors->Convert to CMYK" and also by setting "Document Color" to CMYK. And only after I converted the FileB I do copy from B to A. Is something wrong with my process ? Jan 25, 2017 at 12:12
  • @LouisShraga if you work in newer Illustrator (CC) this could create some problems. But converting from RGB >CMYK should not create any spot colors. Try placing the file B directly into File A (file - place) and then remove unnecessary spot colors from swatches library. Jan 25, 2017 at 13:01
  • "File->Place" did not help either. Eventually I found the solution. See my answer Jan 29, 2017 at 21:24

I found the solution to "how to combine those files and git rid of the warning and its outcomes" : seems the problem was shadows and not the spot colors (the warning I got saving the PDF was dual, about both).Once I run "Flatten Shadows" - the warning disappeared and the printer recognized everything as expected

I dont have an explanation yet to how the problem got created at the first place.

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