Compile for IngramSpark: Removing embedded color profile


I’m using Mac OS and attempting to generate a pdf to upload to IngramSpark. The out from Compile to PDF does indeed create a pdf file but when I upload it to IS, I get an error message telling me there is an embedded color profile and that I need to have a default setting of PDF/X-1a:2001.

What do I need to have set up so that I can get this done please?



Make sure you’ve installed Scrivener 3.1.2, as some of these options are new.

Then review the PDF Settings tab of your Compile Format. See Section 24.23 in the Scrivener Manual.



I am already on the latest stable version and I couldn’t open the PDF of the manual as it was corrupted.

Do you think this points to a deeper issue with my OS rather than a Scrivener problem? I am able to open the PDFs that IngramSpark rejects - along with a load of other PDF files.

What do you think I should do now? IS rep told me I should carry on regardless but get a review copy to make sure all is well. Is this the best prospect for me right now??



PS The same file that was rejected by IS was accepted by KDP. Go figure.

If the Scrivener manual is corrupted, re-installing the program certainly won’t hurt.

We have no more insight into Ingram’s validator than you do. If their rep suggests proceeding, presumably they know what they’re talking about.



OK. Thanks. I’ll proceed with IS and see what happens. The good news, from my perspective, is that the paperback is live on Amazon as we speak so it is published. Hooray!!

FYI I was referring to the PDF of the manual, not the Scrivener version.



I’m having this same issue. I have Scrivener 3.1.2. However I don’t understand where I find “optimize for print-on-demand services” when I select “Compile for: PDF” on the compile screen. I can’t select anything to do with PDF on the left hand list of default formats. If it’s not in that list, where do I select that option for print-on-demand formatting?

You’ll need to duplicate and edit one of the compile formats to adjust this. Double- click on the format you want to modify. If you previously selected PDF as your output format, PDF settings will show up in the left column of the compile format designer. See chapter 24 in the Scrivener manual for more details.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for the reply!

I have done as suggested, and selected “Optimize for print-on-demand services”. Uploaded to Ingram. Got the same error message:

PDF CONTAINS ICC COLOR PROFILES: We request files with no color profiles assigned. Please convert all colors to grayscale for black and white images, or CMYK for color images and remove all color profiles. Saving a new PDF with the default setting of PDF/X-1a:2001 will address the issue. For best results, please correct the issue(s) listed. You may refer to the File Creation Guide for further instructions on creating a compliant PDF.

Should I have selected a different option on the PDF settings? The Scrivener manual says that the file is saved as a PDF/X-3 file, but this is not what Ingram seems to want, although it’s gobbledegook to me, basically. :confused:

You’ve reached the limits of my knowledge. :blush: I’ve never tried to deal with IngramSpark, and given the number of folks on the forums who have problems with them, I hope I never have to…

At any rate, hopefully someone with more knowledge of PDF internals or more understanding of IngramSpark requirements will post…

Ah, thanks for your help anyway. Honestly I do feel like just chucking Ingram and trying another distributor. It’s just so difficult to upload files. I have another question on another person’s thread about the error that popped up when I tried to upload the ePub file. Grrr. :frowning:

I’m not sure the problem that exists is actually an Ingram-Spark issue. In looking at the PDF outputted by Scrivener, it’s a version 1.3, which means it’s not compliant. I’ve tried several ways to accomplish this and it looks like the Mac Quartz filter may be the culprit. This is very frustrating.

Update: I ended up doing a work-around. My son has an Adobe subscription and I sent him the PDF and asked if his program could format it properly. He was able to upload the PDF into his program and covert the file into the formatting that Ingram wanted. So problem solved. I’m not sure exactly which Adobe subscription he has, sorry! I realize that isn’t much help for those who don’t have that option, but just thought I should follow up so that other forum users know how my issue was solved.

Without purchasing Acrobat I’ve yet to find a way to compile a print version that ingramspark will approve.

I’m getting the same message, no matter which setting I use in scrivener:

PDF CONTAINS ICC COLOR PROFILES: We request files with no color profiles assigned. Please convert all colors to grayscale for black and white images, or CMYK for color images and remove all color profiles. Saving a new PDF with the default setting of PDF/X-1a:2001 will address the issue. For best results, please correct the issue(s) listed. You may refer to the File Creation Guide for further instructions on creating a compliant PDF.

Scrivener team…any suggestions to get this to work coming straight out of Scrivener?

I was hoping to see it work with the latest update. I’ve seen the same issue in other forums, so I think it’d be a worthwhile fix.


Has anyone come up with a solution for this in Scrivener 2 that doesn’t involve owning Adobe?

I just finished a long chat with IngramSpark because this issue has plagued me for years. I’ve always looked at print proofs and moved on, accepting the color issue. They said I need book design software like Adobe, InDesign, Photoshop, or Quark to make the pdf color changes. I’m researching now, but it looks like the winner is Adobe Acrobat Pro. Resources from IS with how-tos seem to rely on Adobe.

So, I’m gonna buy it and put this color profile issue behind me. The biggest issue I have is light print in the books. Covers are all color compliant, but WORD and may other programs use Black as a color instead of the grayscale setting IS requires, which is essentially NO color profile. I’ll upload corrected files for my entire list as well as the one just published.

I tried changing fonts without resolving the lighter print issue. This may do it! If so, it’s cheap at $179.

Spoiler alert: You can’t fix this issue in WORD.

Thought I would chime in about what I did to fix my PDFs for IngramSpark. I just uploaded this morning and it worked great.

I’m on Macintosh and the PDFs were generating the ICC color error during their file validation. So I used Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to convert them to PDF/X-1a. I decided to purchase the subscription for which there is a trial rather than pay well over $500 for Acrobat Pro 2020. The subscription is about $15 a month and the free trial would tell me that it would work.

After opening Acrobat Pro DC, I opened the PDF produced by Scrivener. Then from the File menu, I selected “Save as Other” to see a submenu pop up where I further selected “Press-Ready PDF (PDF/X).”

In the “Save as” dialog box that appeared, I clicked on the “Settings” button. The sub-dialog then gives the option for several formats. I chose “Save as PDF/X-1a,” and clicked “OK.”

**Before hitting the “Save” button you need to change the filename. I added the words “Press Ready” to the file and that preserved the original file.

Even the case, cover, and jacket PDFs worked fine. You might get a dialog after saving your PDF in the format, but I just clicked “OK” and then moved on. Clip of the dialogs are included.

THANK YOU, ronsmithmd! I gave my cover designer (who has Adobe) the link to your reply; she said she wouldn’t have had a clue how to do this, but it was super easy with your instructions.

Just to update you on this, too: I took out a Developer Technical Support ticket with Apple’s engineers on this, to ask if there was any way to remove colour profiles from PDF files using the Cocoa frameworks (that is, the Apple technologies available to developers). An engineer replied to say that there is currently no way of doing this - all of Apple’s PDF technologies embed colour profiles with no way of removing them. This means that I am not able to add a fix for this to a Scrivener update (I have filed an enhancement request with Apple asking for this feature, but it’s unlikely it will ever be implemented).

So for the foreseeable future, the only way of fixing up PDF files for IngramSpark is to post-process them in Adobe Acrobat Pro, as described above by RonSmithMD. (Given that the PDF format was Adobe’s creation, I suppose it’s not surprising that some PDF features are only attainable using their tools.)

All the best,

Thank you, Keith for your efforts on this. Appreciate your taking the time. It is frustrating but sounds like you have done all you can at your end, and that’s all we can ask. :slight_smile:

fyi: I was able to convert my PDF into PDF/A for uploading to Ingram without using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Instead, I was able to use the free, opensource, LibreOffice product on my mac OSX 11.1.

For more details, and step-by-step with screenshots, see viewtopic.php?f=2&t=65061.

Hope that helps,