While the Ink Manager in Acrobat doesn’t really change content (unless you use the Ink Manager available through the Convert Colors function, as I mentioned in an earlier post), InDesign’s Ink Manager has always been “for real.” But at first blush, it may seem that it’s just kidding. (I’ll explain in a minute.)
InDesign’s Ink Manager is available from the panel menus of the Separations Preview and Swatches panels, as well as in print and export dialogs. They’re just different doors to the same porch, so don’t worry that Ink Manager behaves differently depending on how you invoked it (as it does in Acrobat 9). However you got there, Ink Manager lets you remap one spot color to another, or to a process plate. It’s also one-stop shopping for changing spot colors to process. (It won’t let you map a process plate to a spot color, however.)
Above, note the little ink bottles to the left of the inks that have been remapped: that’s Ink Manager’s way of saying, “Yep, I fixed ’em.” (NOTE: Click on the above image for a larger view.) But when you exit the Ink Manager dialog, you may be alarmed (or at least crestfallen) to see that the inks are still separate in the Swatches panel (below). What’s up? Don’t panic: your choices in the Ink Manager really do “take.”
Even though the extraneous inks still appear in the list o’swatches, rest assured that they have indeed been mapped as you requested. I suppose this is InDesign’s clunky way of telling you that Ink Manager changes are non-destructive: if your client comes back tomorrow and tells that this job should indeed have four slightly different yucky yellow spot inks, you can just un-map the inks and you’re back to where you started. (Clearly, this is the work of someone who was raised with Harvest Gold appliances. You can expect an Avocado theme on the next job.) When this file is printed from InDesign, or exported to PDF, the output will contain just the one correct spot color.
While it’s nice that no inks are harmed in using Ink Manager, I would pay an extra five bucks if little red ink bottle icons would appear next to the names of remapped inks so you’d know for sure.