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Is there a way to display PDF documents in black and white, not grayscale, i.e. so that every pixel is either shown as all black or all white? In particular, that will work for PDFs whose content is mostly images, so that when reading research papers scanned from prints dating from the 1980s, all the gray pixels that translate visually into eyestrain-inducing blur, can be forced to black or white?

I'm on Windows, and I've tried both Acrobat Reader and Foxit, and neither seems to have such an option as far as I can see.

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In… it describes how to turn color into black and white. But that still results in a greyscale text that can be unreadable. – Bryce Jan 29 '13 at 7:10
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You may be able to do this with Irfanview. Open the PDF document, then decrease the color depth to 2 (Image/Decrease Color Depth). Save the altered file if you want.

I have only tried this with one grayscale PDF document, so your mileage may vary.

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You could try printing the document to a new PDF - but it does rely on you having a PDF printer installed.

The Adobe properties dialog has a Paper/Quality tab that allows you to select "Black & White" or "Color".

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