I’m using Adobe Illustrator and I’m having an issue with a stroke, which has a custom gradient brush applied. It’s not showing up in the PDF file after I export. It shows up just fine in web applications, but when I render it as a PDF, it doesn’t appear in the artwork upon opening.

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  • What are you using to view the PDF? Is it by chance using a spot color?
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 1:22
  • Try using Adobe Reader to view the PDF.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 7:22
  • I'm using Microsoft Reader to view the PDF, and there are no spot colors, only process. Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 21:24
  • Unfortunately, I don't have Adobe Reader at my disposal. Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


Go to the File -> Document Setup, In Transparency Box click on Custom . Slide the slider over toward rasterized until you get the proper results you need and before that also expand all gradients (optional) Follow this Process

And after that try to export it as pdf.

  • No go. I still get the same thing happening. =/ Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 22:12
  • This might be the possible solution for me , which Version of Illustrator are you using?
    – Dave Rajan
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 21:20

had the same problem: turns out my color formatting was set to RGB, not CMYK. I haven't the slightest clue why that makes a difference when exporting gradients in a PDF, but switching the color Profile to CMYK fixed it for me.

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