I have a PDF and I want to verify the colours being used (check that they match our corporate colour scheme for instance). Specifically, I want to check that the correct CMYK colours are being used.

How could I go about doing that?

  • What do you mean with verify? – Bernhard Oct 17 '12 at 10:45
  • @Bernhard I want to check a PDF is using the corporate colours. – Alex Chamberlain Oct 17 '12 at 10:53
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    Maybe use gcolor and click on the texts? – daisy Oct 17 '12 at 23:44

You can import the PDF file into a software like Inkscape and there you can do what you want, including a color check.

  • Unfortunately, Inkscape doesn't support CMYK colours, though Scribus does. This is great for smaller documents, but not for bigger ones. My PC hasn't got loads of memory, so it would be better using a CLI. – Alex Chamberlain Oct 17 '12 at 13:05
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    A cli utility is definitely needed. A 'pdfcolors' program which would just list the colours used in whatever form they are expressed (rgb, cmyk) and perhaps with -verbose, list them per page. – Peter Flynn Mar 27 '17 at 20:28
  • Gives colors but too much of them and without any clue as of where this color is present. I mean, if you're looking for a specific green line in the middle of the document, you can look for it for a long time. – kissu Jun 22 at 8:33

Maybe identify from imagemagick suite will fit your needs?

Use it with -verbose switch to get information about colors:

identify -verbose file.pdf
  • Note: you will need to install ghostscript in order for this command to work; otherwise, it will fail silently – William Entriken Dec 24 '15 at 16:27
  • Although it fails silently, that fact is documented at imagemagick.org/script/formats.php – William Entriken Dec 24 '15 at 16:28
  • The identify command lists the gamut (the range of colour values) but does not identify the individual rgb or cmyk values used. – Peter Flynn Mar 27 '17 at 20:26

The GIMP can easily tell you the RGB or CMYK values of any color in a pdf. When you open the pdf, it will offer to treat each page as a layer. That's fine, you just need to select each layer as you look at it and make each layer above it invisible.

Then use the color picker tool (eyedropper icon) to click on any color in the pdf. It will automatically select it for the foreground, but you can check the option to "[] use info window" to see RGB, CMYK, HSV, etc on whatever you select.

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