Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a 100 page PDF document that I need to print. My print shop needs to be told which pages contain color. I don't want to scan manually. Is there a program that detects pages with color and can ouput the page number?

share|improve this question
Operating system? – frabjous Jan 17 '11 at 20:43

On Linux (and probably mac/other Unix), the following very short BASH script seems to do the trick:

 for page in $(identify -density 12 -format '%p ' "$file") ; do
     if convert "$file[$((page-1))]" -colorspace RGB -unique-colors txt:- | sed -e 1d | egrep -q -v ': \(\s*([0-9]*),\s*\1,\s*\1' ; then
         echo $page

Name the script something like, and make it executable with chmod +x and then run ./ "pdfname.pdf" and it should return a list of page numbers.

This requires ImageMagick and probably Ghostscript to be installed. And it's not the speediest thing in the world.

Sorry, I have no clue how to adapt this for Windows (without Cygwin or similar, anyway).

share|improve this answer
Thanks, I will give it a shot when I have a linux running. I may find a better print shop that can detect it. – None Jan 18 '11 at 7:45

Found this over at

gs -o - -sDEVICE=inkcov input.pdf | grep -v "^ 0.00000  0.00000  0.00000" | grep "^ " | wc -l

Worked well for me

Total page count can be found by

pdfinfo input.pdf | grep Pages:
share|improve this answer
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes or disappears. – Andrea Feb 26 '14 at 10:25

Having the same task as the OP and working in Windows, I've found the following solution to work quickly and nicely: Spool File Page Counter SDK is non-free but the evaluation version still does the job. Download the zip file from the above link, unzip it and run bin/C#_ParsingTest yourfile.pdf. You'll see something like

Page   1 is [   BW]
Page   2 is [Color]
Page 143 is [Color]
Statistics: bwPageCount=99, colorPageCount=44

The Rapid PDF Count mentioned in another answer here requires installation (which for my one-time job---dissertation printing) is a disadvantage. However it also does the job and provides a GUI. After installing it, run it, drag-and-drop the PDF file into it, check Color Pages Counting in Setup/Options, then click the Page count files in list button.

Interestingly, the results for my thesis differ by 1 page (99/44 vs. 100/43). I believe, this is because some figure (I made all with Inkscape) is actually black-and-white but is described as colour in metadata. I am not sure. What I didn't find in Rapid PDF Count is a list of all colour/B&W pages, so I cannot tell the exact source of this discrepancy.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

protected by bwDraco Feb 16 '15 at 17:43

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .