Possible to remove a single spot color (while keeping the other)?

My print PDF was created with 6 colors: CMYK + spot PMS + spot varnish (appearing as a solid green in the PDF). I need to delete the spot varnish layer, in order to create a file suitable for viewing on screen.

In the past I've used preflight reports to move the spot color to a layer, and so have been able to delete it. However, I'm unable to remove just one of the spot colors (the varnish), without also eliminating the other (the PMS). The color conversion panel also doesn't appear to help, because I can't deal with just one of the two spot colors.

I can visually deactivate the spot varnish in Output Preview, so I know Acrobat can certainly isolate that one color. But how do I remove it, or at the very least, make it non-visible?

Sarah Henry

3 Answers

Adobe Acrobat DC Pro has a "single fixup" called "Remove all objects using spot color with specified name":

Preflight - single fixups

When you run this, it will ask you for the name of the spot color to be used for this fixup:

Fixup dialog

As far as I know, this was not available in earlier versions of Acrobat.

Karl Heinz Kremer
PDF Acrobatics Without a Net
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Karl Heinz Kremer   


Use the edit object tool to select and delete objects in the VARNISH spot colour


Similar to the first method, use the content pane to navigate and select the objects in the VARNISH spot colour and delete them


This method presumes the following if using Acrobat Pro X or earlier:

(*) The VARNISH spot colour objects are currently set to overprint mode 0 or 1

1) Create a PDF with an object using the spot colour WHITE based on alternate colour values of 0c0m0y0k

2) Insert the PDF with the white spot colour into your 6 colour PDF (work on a copy of the file)

3) Save, close and reopen the PDF that now uses WHITE in addition to the two previous spot colours

4) Use the Convert Colours tool with the Ink Manager setting set to ALIAS the VARNISH to WHITE

5) Change the convert command to use PRESERVE then hit OK to permanently alias the colour

6) Remove the inserted page, it is no longer needed

Unlike the two previous methods, this does not delete the VARNISH objects and they could potentially be mapped/aliased back again if needed, however I would still recommend using a duplicate file.

If you had the Enfocus PitStop Pro plug-in for Acrobat Pro this would all be a lot easier (disclosure: I work for an Enfocus PitStop Pro reseller, however I believe that this does not bias my answer).

Stephen Marsh   

I just found a much better solution than my hack method #2 mentioned above:


Stephen Marsh   

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