I'm using Illustrator CS2, and my document is 8bit CMYK.

I saved an AI file with black composed as 100%, 100%, 100%, 100%:

enter image description here

I saved it with these options:

enter image description here

If I open it again and use the Eyedropper Tool to inspect the black area, values are not the same I saved:

enter image description here

Why? Is there a special settings that makes Illustrator save color codes instead of replacing them with default ones?

Note: I know that CMYK black should be 0%,0%,0%,100% but the machine I use for printing requires everything set to 100%, otherwise it will print sort of a dark gray, not black.

  • Have you tried turning off the ICC profile when saving?
    – Westside
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 15:47
  • Yes, I tried both options in that dialog, it didn't help
    – BackSlash
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 15:48
  • I duplicated your steps and everything is fine. Try to rasterise (only if your design is all black) in bitmap mode, this will give you a pure black.
    – LeoNas
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 16:22
  • Could you identify the machine you use for printing that requires everything set to 100%?
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


This is done to save you from yourself.

In most instances you never want to use 100C/100M/100Y/100K to color anything. A commercial printer can't print 100% of all colors. It's too much ink. So Illustrator may adjust the color to the maximum ink limit based upon color settings and preference settings.

If you need 100% of all plates, use the Registration swatch in Illustrator. That will maintain appearance.

In addition... check the Preferences. Specifically the Appearance of Black preference. Ensure both those options are set to "Accurately" and not "Rich Black" (which is the stupid default setting).



You're doing and undoing the same thing.

In the Options, you want an embedded ICC profile to be used which overrides your double black percentages that you specify in the Picker.

As soon as you save your document, the ICC profile settles the conflicting data.

100% C + 100% M + 100% Y = 100% B (in theory). In reality, the ICC profile limits the Total Ink Coverage to be less for practical reasons.

For examples: The paper can only hold so much ink, the ink can't stick to the wet surface of the previous coat, etc.

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