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Esko applications in Suite 12 Assembly 3 are capable of handling inks with special characters in their names. However this is not the case for older applications.
  1. What happens when DeskPack 12.1 writes Normalized PDF files with ink names containing special characters for use in Automation Engine 12.0 or older?
  2. What happens when DeskPack 12.0 or older connects to a Color Engine database or Automation Engine 12.1 containing inks with special characters that were not allowed in that DeskPack version?
  3. What happens when DeskPack 12.0 or older loads a file made in a newer version and that file contains ink names with characters that were previously not allowed?


The general rule: for optimal use of new features, we advise customers to upgrade all their Esko products to version 12.1 at the same time. Older features will still work, but for new features you'll need to upgrade to the latest version.

Since Suite 12.1 (Assembly 3) ink names can contain special characters which were previously considered illegal by Color Engine. The following list of special characters are supported in ink names in all Esko applications and engines from version 12.1 onwards:

Normalized PDFs written by 12.1 applications (Suite 12 Assembly 3) can be processed in older applications with some limitations:
All inks using special characters become unregistered inks in older applications and engines, they will likely also lose ink type definitions like "technical", "varnish" or "opaque".

DeskPack 12.0 or older versions can work with inks with special characters in a Color Engine 12.1 database. The special characters are encoded in escape sequences e.g. “%3c” for the "<" character. The older DeskPack 12.0 version will display ink names with special characters from a 12.1 Color Engine database using % escape sequences. The actual ink name is obfuscated. These names will be correctly recognized by older DeskPack versions. However, when exporting such a file to a Normalized PDF, this PDF will contain the obfuscated ink names. For e.g., "mygrey%3ctest%3e" instead of the real ink name, e.g., "mygrey<test>". As a consequence, 12.1 applications will see this as an unregistered designer ink.


We suggest to not use special characters in ink names when working with 12.0 or older Esko applications and engines. From 12.1 onwards, you can freely use any character in ink names as long as the complete workflow will be processed through Esko Suite 12.1 (Assembly 3) or newer applications and engines.


In this specific DeskPack case, it is only necessary to keep both Data Exchange 12.1 and Automation Engine 12.1 in sync. So, either upgrade Automation Engine to version 12.1 to process special characters in ink names correctly or on the other hand, upgrade the free Data Exchange plugins to version 12.1 in case you're already working with Color Engine or Automation engine 12.1.

More information on the special character support in Esko applications and engines can be found in the following white paper on Esko Help Center (

Article information
Applies to

DeskPack 12.1 or newer

Last revised 
CW Number200886