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I have some PDF and want to have light gray background when viewing them, but i don't need to permanently change its background.

What's the easiest way to do that? I normally view it using Preview on Mac OS X, but i don't have to use it.

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My hunch is that this will be very difficult without changing the text as well – soandos Oct 21 '12 at 1:20
Slightly changing the style of the text is OK. My goal is less contrast between background and text. – qazwsx Oct 21 '12 at 1:32
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can try to modify the source of this fork of MuPDF, which is ParaPDF:

paraPDF is a fork of MuPDF. It's simply intended to add a few features muPDF was missing which I was interested in, if I can't get them to upstream, and add some additional keybindings to make it feel more like home (home being vim).

Specifically, here's the changes I'm workig on:

  • Reload the PDF when receiving a SIGHUP. This can be useful, for example, when working with LaTeX or something else that outputs PDFs.

  • Create a keybinding to invert the colors. This can be useful if one uses a dark color scheme. It would be preferable to refrain from inverting images, but that's likely to much work for the effort (and my capabilities).

  • Added a flag to start with colors inverted.

  • Add some bindings to make muPDF feel a bit more like vim. Most notably, ctrl-e, ctrl-y, ctrl-f, ctrl-b, and gg.

muPDF's original README follows (with my addition to the copyright):

Otherwise, you can convert the white background of your PDF to whatever color you want, following the procedure I described here. Work on a copy of PDF and use this resulting PDF when you want read it with a gray background. This only works for PDFs with a vector background.

In your case, you change to gray, but the logic is the same for any other color you want to set.

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In Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can set a custom background color as part of the accessibility options, provided that there is no background image.


  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 the desired color.

  5. Click OK.

The instructions are for Acrobat Reader 9. Other versions should be similar.

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