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After including some figures (saved as .pdfs) in my LaTeX document with \includegraphics, I got the following warning:

pdfTeX warning: pdflatex.exe (file ./figure/figure_1.pdf): PDF inclusion: found PDF version <1.6>, but at most version <1.5> allowed

The strange thing is, I'm using \includegraphics elsewhere in my document for other figures (also saved as .pdfs, in the exact same way), but no warning is generated for those.

What does this mean? How can I make it go away?

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  • Can you please check what your pdftex.cfg for pdf_minorversion?Did you use the same same program for saving the files? Where did the image pdfs come from?
    – yannisl
    Apr 17, 2012 at 19:53
  • @YiannisLazarides I used the same program, savefig for MatLab, to save as .pdfs both the figures which generate warnings and those which don't... Apr 17, 2012 at 19:58
  • 2
    If I remember correctly Matlab uses ghostscript and there is probably a version issue. Set your pdfoptionpdfminorversion 6 and the error should disappear.
    – yannisl
    Apr 17, 2012 at 20:12
  • @YiannisLazarides: pdftex.cfg? pdftex hasn't used that file for ages. TL uses pdftexconfig.tex. Apr 18, 2012 at 6:30
  • @MartinSchröder Thanks. Need to do a memory refresh:)
    – yannisl
    Apr 18, 2012 at 6:34

3 Answers 3

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By default, pdflatex will create a PDF version 1.5 file.

It seems that here one of your included PDF graphic is in fact in version 1.6 of the format and therefore has different features which will be lost in included in a pdf file of a previous version.

chances are that the graphic in question do not use any of the features available in PDF 1.6 but that is why there is a warning.

you can either recreate you graphics and if you have that level of control, make sure that it is saved in PDF v1.5, or you can raise the version of your output document to 1.6 by adding in your preamble:

\pdfminorversion=6

This depends on whether you have any restriction about the output document (some people insist on a specific PDF version).

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  • 13
    Is there a reason the default is at version 1.5? Like, there might be problems in rare cases if I use 1.6 or something like that? Or is it just because of 3rd party requirements like you mentioned? May 6, 2013 at 20:48
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    @lethal-guitar's question was later asked as tex.stackexchange.com/q/301386/35532
    – jan-glx
    Jan 16, 2017 at 15:45
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    I got an error \pdfminorversion cannot be changed after data is written to the PDF file. because I didn't set the PDF version early enough. See the answer tex.stackexchange.com/a/65136/62285 I used package pdf14 and bumped up the PDF version to 1.7
    – Yvon
    Feb 5, 2019 at 5:41
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    It looks like PDF was free, PDF 1.7 includes non-free features, and PDF 2.0 was again free of proprietary technologies: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF#History This may affect your decision.
    – MakisH
    Sep 26, 2021 at 10:04
  • @jan-glx: 6 years later, there is still no answer as to why it has not been upgraded since then.
    – Olivier
    Jun 6, 2022 at 20:56
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If the actual PDF version of your figures is not an issue, you can also manually force the PDF's to insert to be of version 1.5, using Ghostscript in the following command taken from here:

 gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.5 -o output.pdf input.pdf 

That way, you make sure avoiding inserting any instability issue, messing up with LaTeX configuration. (even though setting up \pdfminorversion=6 should be fine by now)

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If you work with \caption there mustn't be any downslashes inside the description brackets of the \caption command. I did get the same error alert when I tried to include a graphic with a caption which had a downslash in its name. It worked again i.e. the error alert was gone when I omitted any downslashes in the curly brackets of the \caption command. I tested it once and it was only with the curly brackets of the \caption command and then I tested it again and LaTeX gave me an error also with downslashes inside the short description brackets (square brackets) of the \caption command. So better omit downslashes in any of the brackets. \caption[''short'']{''long''}

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