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Everything in black disappears in PDF exported from InDesign

Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Hi,

I've designed a book cover for print with a solid black back and spine and an image on the front with black text over it. Yesterday it exported just fine to PDF. Today, all the bits that should be black are white.

 

I can export the cover as a jpg and all the colours show up the way I'm seeing it on screen, but the PDF does not show the black. All I can see is the image on the front cover and space where the text should be.

I've made no changes to any of my preferences; color is CYMK; true black. Any idea what's going on? I've a deadline.

 

Thanks,

Averill

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Community Expert , Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

Have you changed your Acrobat Accessibility settings? Here is a link to a related Acrobat discussion:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/background-color-not-showing-up-in-pdf/m-p/13543091#M513521

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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I'd try this troubleshooting tip:

 

If your problem only occurs in this one file, and you can't replicate it in another, there could be subtle corruption in the file. To try to eliminate it save the file as IDML (File > Save As > InDesign CS4 or Later [IDML]. Reopen the IDML into InDesign and see if the problem is fixed.

 

If you can get the problem to replicate in another file, something may have screwed up your InDesign caches or preferences. Follow the directions in this article:

 

https://www.rockymountaintraining.com/adobe-indesign-rebuilding-preferences-cache/

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Okay, I saved it as an IDML and reopened in InDesign but it's still exporting with big white spaces where black should be. I'll have a look in the rebuilding preferences article. Funnily enough, I've lost the ability to dock the tool bars and windows and I think rebuilding preferences might solve that problem too.

 

Thanks Steve 🙂

Averill

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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I should add that I went to the Indesign file of the interior of the book (all black text) and it still exports to PDF just fine.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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No, I'm afraid rebuilding preferences or the cache files has made no difference. Still no black in the PDF.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Can you upload a sample PDF?

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Here's the exported PDF, along with the jpg (exported from the same InDesign file) to show what it's supposed to look like.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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PDF is fine here.

Are you by chance viewing it in Acrobat in Output Preview with the Black layer turned off??

That being said, your Black is only 100K... You should consider making the large areas a Rich Black (say 40C 30M 30Y 100K), including the type on the front cover.

 

Screen Shot 2023-02-01 at 3.50.00 PM.png

Screen Shot 2023-02-01 at 3.49.50 PM.png

  

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Another stoopid question — are you viewing the PDF in Acrobat DC or Reader? Or some secondary PDF viewer?

 


╟─ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ─╢

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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James, I'm using Acrobat DC.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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This is very strange (to me). I can see the black in the PDF I've uploaded here but can't see it on my machine. I wouldn't know how to turn the black layer off. I'm on a Windows machine. Where can I check that please?

 

Also I'd appreciate some guidance on how to make the black a Rich Black. Do I need to create a new swatch colour (excuse spelling; I'm in the UK)?

Thanks for your help, Brad.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Ahh, I've just found the Output Preview. Nope, black is not turned off. Here's a screenshot of what I'm seeing in Acrobat.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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"Rich Black. Do I need to create a new swatch colour"

It would be the best approach. Just define a new swatch as Process (not Spot), and give it something like 40C 30M 30Y 100Y (this is my personal preference for a Rich Black. People vary on this... most do equal values of C M and Y (either 30 or 40), but I like to have a black that's ever-slightly on the blue side, hence why my Cyan is at 40. Sometimes your printer may specify a Rich mix they like.

Btw: the reason I say to also apply it to your type on the front cover:  currently your pure 100K Black type is overprinting over your image inside your white outline; this may cause an unwanted show-through of the image. In Acrobat, if you turn off the Black separation in Output Preview, you can see what's happening there.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 02, 2023 Feb 02, 2023

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Fanastic! Thanks so much, Brad. It's looking good now. Every day's a schoolday.

 

Averill

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Did you use black as a 'Paper' color? Change the 'Paper' color in swatches to black?

 

Won't work. Effectively, 'Paper' is an invisible color meant to represent the color of the stock on which you're going to print. It doesn't export.

 

For a black background, you must lay in a graphics rectangle and give it a solid black color. There are a number of other details here, such as specifying a rich black instead of a dead black, and allowing bleeds for trimming, and such... but you have to provide the black background as an element. And turn Paper back to white while you're at it. 🙂

 


╟─ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ─╢

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Thanks , James. I'm not using [Paper]. I've got my black rectangle filled with [black] okay. As I said, it exported just fine yesterday.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Okay. It is one of those mistakes almost everyone makes... once. 🙂

 

Your other glitches sound like a Preferences issue. I'd also double-check all your PDF export settings; easy to bump some obscure one and end up with bizarre results.

 


╟─ Word & InDesign to Kindle & EPUB: a Guide to Pro Results (Amazon) ─╢

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Have you changed your Acrobat Accessibility settings? Here is a link to a related Acrobat discussion:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign-discussions/background-color-not-showing-up-in-pdf/m-p/13543...

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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I did need to turn on the Acrobat page display preference to "Show large images"in order for the cover image to show up.

Screen Shot 2023-02-01 at 6.15.45 PM.png

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Luke, you beauty! It was the Accessibility settings in Acrobat that was causing the problem. I haven't touched them/changed them, so I've no idea how that happened.

 

All is right with the world again. Thank you, and thanks to Brad for tips about the Rich Black.

Averill

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Interesting, it's in the Page Display preferences and Show Large Images is checked by default.

 

Screenshot 2023-02-01 at 5.27.51 PM.png

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