Rich Black

Separations (or Channels) can be viewed in several programs.

    • You can view separations in a PDF using Acrobat Professional.
      – Look under the Advanced menu for output preview.
      – For Newer versions, it is located under Tools > Print Production
    • InDesignCS has the ability to view separations as well. It is located under
      Window > Output > Separation Preview. Make sure to turn the separations on.
    • Channels can also be viewed in Photoshop under
      Window > Channels.


The first thing you will have to identify is if the rich black is vector or raster. If the text is vector, select the text in the program that it was built in and check the color palette to identify what color is used. For Pagemaker users, look for the color called “Auto”. If you see the auto color present, delete the color and it will be replaced with Black. Quark and InDesign users look for the color called Registration. If you have text in Registration, replace with Black.

When there is Rich Black in raster, it is best to go back to the original file and fix there. Generally when ads or graphics are built using Photoshop this problem occurs. Photoshop’s default Black color is not 100% Black, it is a build of CYAN, MAGENTA, YELLOW and BLACK. You will have to go to the layers where the text is located, select the text and change the color to 100% Black. If the file is already flattened, this can be a challenging problem. Try and select the text in Photoshop using the magic wand or marquee tool and cut and paste the CMY info on to the Black channel.

Separation preview in Acrobat

Separation preview and fixing Rich Black in InDesign

Fixing Rich Black in Photoshop

Low Resolution Images

Always check the resolution of an image in Photoshop. This can be done by going under the Image menu to Image Size. If you need to increase or decrease the resolution of the image be sure to un-check the re-sample image selection. This will automatically resize the image proportionally.

Image size adjustment in Photoshop

Font Embedding

Using the industry standard PDF setting PDFX-1a or the Focus Press Printer PDF settings will embed the fonts into a PDF file. To ensure your PDF has the fonts embedded, you can pre-flight the PDF in any of the Acrobat Professional versions by using the PDFX-1a profile, or in Acrobat go File>Document Properties>Fonts. This should list all the fonts as embedded subset.

Focus Press Printer requires that fonts be embedded in the PDF file and will not print a PDF file without fonts embedded. It has become too big of a liability to replace fonts within our system. You greatly reduce the chance of missing your print deadline by pre-flighting the files for font embedding and other content before file submission.

Pre-flight a PDF in Acrobat 8.0 Professional

Incorrect Image Area and Bleeds

It is imperative that your PDF files be the correct size when submitted.
• Image Area: Anything in a page layout that is not intended to be cut off.
• Bleed: Anything in a page layout that is designed to be cut off.

– Contact your local plant to confirm correct sizes here