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Adobe Acrobat Reader allows you to alter the background and text colors of pdf - either to preset 'high contrast' colors or your own choices - and this makes reading onscreen much easier.

Is it possible to do this with Preview?


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

That feature does not appear to be implemented in Preview.

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changing the text and background color of a document is not supported in preview. however, you can change the background of the window (grey by default) through preferences -> general -> window background. additionally, you can try using the quartz filter to improve your reading experience, accessed through save as... -> quartz filter.

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Anything is possible with the right tool. In this case you need Acrobat Pro, since Acrobat is the only app authorized to edit PDFs. Even then some PDFs ask for a password when you try to make any changes.

You can get a pro copy from some "shady" sites, which I think is justifiable, no one in right mind can expect one to buy a $400 app just to change a background colour. Install, do it, uninstall. If pro version has a demo, then you can try that first.

You will find 'Add Background Color' in Tools menu or right hand Tools column.

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There are cheaper and more legal methods of editing PDFs. I tend to subscribe to the philosophy that if you don't want a feature enough to pay for it, then you don't want that feature enough to use it. That being said, I would recommend looking in to Foxit Software's editor (; it costs less than $100. You can download a free demo to see if this has the functionality you want. – Llamanerds Dec 18 '12 at 0:50

I am using Preview Version 7.0 (826.4) and I can set the Font color: Go to -->"Tools" + "Annotate" + Click on "Text". When the Text Box is open for entering text, click on the color icon (next to the Font selector): Hint on where to find it: below the File Name, you should see a set of about 8 edit icons and next to those you should see the color selector icon and next to that you should see the font type selector, to the right of that you should see the font size, an to the right of the font size you should see (left, Center, and Right) selector.

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If you are just trying to make PDFs more readable, you can try inverting your colors by pressing [CONTROL] + [OPTION] + [COMMAND] + [8]. Note that this inverts the display colors system-wide, so it may not be the best option, but it does make reading B&W text easier.

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