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Sometimes I need to print a pdf file that has a black background or some heavy background images, and that sucks up a lot of ink. Is there any method to remove the background from PDF files before printing?

Anything that works on Windows or Linux.

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Are you really sure that what occurs as 'background' to your eyes isn't really a black box that is painted onto the page first (and hence not 'background' but common page content), before all the other strokes and fills are done? – Kurt Pfeifle Jun 25 '12 at 11:46

In Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can set a custom background color (in this case: white) within the as part of the accessibility options.

The following instructions are for version 9. Other version should be similar.

  1. Press Ctrl + K or go to Edit -> Preferences.

  2. Under Categories, select Accessibility.

  3. Check Replace Document Colors and Custom Color.

  4. Set Page Background to white.

  5. Click OK.

Note: This will only work for some PDFs. Others will not retain the changes when printing.

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@Bruce: did this solution really work for your file(s)? – Kurt Pfeifle Jun 25 '12 at 11:46
@pipitas I tested with one of the files I need, and it worked. I didn't test all of them though. A few of them might be using black boxes instead of backgrounds (like you mentioned) and these probably won't work. – Malabarba Jun 25 '12 at 16:55
@pipitas Actually, I apologize for the confusion, but this method does NOT work. It hids the background when viewing the PDF, but when printing it the background is still there. – Malabarba Jun 25 '12 at 23:40
@BruceConnor: I checked with other documents, and I was wrong to assume that it would work for all text-based PDFs. It works for some, however. I don't know why. – Dennis Jun 26 '12 at 0:48
That's what I suspected. That's why I asked... – Kurt Pfeifle Jun 26 '12 at 11:50

I had this same problem except I was printing an 89-page pdf document of anatomical pictures. The problem? These pictures were sitting in a black background.

So my solution was:

  1. Convert PDF to DOCX (for word) with online converter.

  2. Open DOCX file on Word.

  3. Picture-by-Picture select the pictures, Click "Picture Tools"in the upper toolbar, then select Format.
  4. An option to "Recolor" appears on the left most side under neath the brightness and contrast buttons.
  5. Click your picture, then this button then the recolor button then select transparent and click the black background.

Hey presto, you have now saved as much black ink as would have been required for the picture without decreasing much if any of the picture quality.

Hope it helps!

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