RGB vs. CMYK, possible to figure out how the native file was built from a pdf?


Hey all,

I have a file that I am trying to work with, but the client refuses to let me look at their native files for color inconsistencies. I have a working theory that some where in their native file exists RGB color, causing it to not print right.

The client has given me a PDF to work with and I have to extract the images to use them in illustrator. Is it possible that there is a translation issue between the native file, the PDF and extracting the PDF into illustrator?

Also is it possible to decipher how a native file was built, from a PDF ?


Well-known member
In Acrobat go to File - Properties and look under description. That should give an idea on what the native file is. Preflight the PDF to check for RGB images as well.


Well-known member
and there are plenty of ways for an image file to have issues going from native to PDF, let alone from PDF to AI. yet it's also relatively easy to control that via the color management settings within each program. and...it would be very helpful to have access to client's original image file.

as a matter of fact, this happens quite often in our process, and we need a client's original to deduce what went wrong. once we have it, the path to a solution usually reveals itself quickly.

AC Prepress

Well-known member
To see the color settings on individual images, using the Edit Object tool right-click on an image and select Properties. This will show the color space on that photo. You can then change the color setting in that dialogue box.


Acrobat Pro DC 2019 here. Tools/Print Production/Output Preview:
Menus: Simulate/Show/Separations
Show/Kickout panel here >ALL
change to RGB or CMYK or spot or CMYK with SPOT.
This will immediately identify on each page what is what.

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