PDF fails Ingram validation with error about "PDF CONTAINS ICC COLOR PROFILES" and needing PDF/X-1a:2001

I’m using Mac OSX v11.1 and Scrivener v3.2.2 (14632).

  1. I generate a PDF of my book from Scrivener using “Compile->Print” output. The PDF opens fine in ApplePreview and is accepted by Amazon KDP for printing paperback books.

  2. The same PDF fails validation in Ingram with error message (see below). As experiment, I tried creating a subset of my book (18pages was shorted that Ingram allows). That 18pages had no images, only text. And still failed out with the same errors.

  3. Ingram provides a way to download a PDF with error marks on it to review. When I do this, I see all text on all pages flagged as error .

  4. From little I could find on Ingram’s docs, these forums and the internet, I confirmed that Scrivener generated a PDF v1.4 and that the fonts I use are all embedded in the PDF. So, all that looks ok. But still not passing validation.

  5. I found a post from 2018 elsewhere in this forum, saying something about using Adobe Acrobat to flatten PDF? Is this still the recommended solution? Is there something I should be doing in Scrivener when generating “Compile->Print”? Or, as this same PDF works for Amazon KDP, is this an Ingram problem?


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.

Figured out a fix! My PDF passed Ingram validation, is paid for and is now waiting for their human sanity-check-review to complete before the book is “enabled for distribution”. I’m posting my workaround steps here, in case other Scrivener users hit the same problem.

Note: I’m using Scrivener 3.2.2 on Mac OSX 11.1. The PDF file generated is PDF1.4 format, which is not a problem. This PDF works great on Amazon KDP, looks fine to me in Apple Preview and when printing pages at home. However, Ingram threw a bunch of confusing/misleading errors when validating the same PDF that turn out to be about an Ingram requirement for a variation of PDF called “PDF/A”.

What was the fix? I’ll skip all the deadends I went down. Here’s what worked for me. Also, see attached images in case that helps.

1 ) In Scrivener v3.2.2, use “Compile->Print” to generate the PDF as usual. No change here.
2 ) Download LibreOffice from libreoffice.org and install. Its free and available for Mac, Windows and linux. I used the latest v7.0.4 on my Mac OSX 11.1
3 ) Run LibreOffice.
4 ) In LibreOffice, open the PDF and verify you can see the contents just fine.
5 ) In LibreOffice, do File->ExportAs->ExportAsPDF[attachment=1]LibreOfficePDFmenu.png[/attachment]
6 ) When the “PDF Options” dialog box opens, do the following:
** In “Range”, select “All”
** In “General”,
*** check “Archive (PDF/A, ISO 19005)”
*** set “PDF/A version:” to “PDF/A-3b”
*** uncheck “Create PDF Form”.
** In “Images”,
*** select “Lossless compression”,
*** check “Reduce Image Resolution” and set to 300 DPI.
** Click “Export”.[attachment=0]LibreOfficeDialogBox.png[/attachment]
7 ) Close LibreOffice
8 ) Verify that new LibreOffice PDF still looks ok (I used Preview on my mac).
9 ) Upload the LibreOffice PDF to Ingramspark.com.
10 ) Run Ingram validation and celebrate.

Thats it. Hope that helps others,


Wow! I’ve seen this problem come up in threads before, and I’ve never seen an easy free fix. This is absolutely straightforward. I’m going to bookmark this in case I ever need to switch to Ingram’s POD.