I noted recently that a Win10 box that I have, stopped printing text background color in virtual PDF printer. At first I charged it on the virtual PDF printer used (Bullzip), but that same printer works flawlessly on my Win10 laptop. Looking at the "print preview", colors are solid; printing they disappear and turn to the white/transparent background.

First note: it's not related to a single application, I tried a couple of them (Libreoffice Calc, yED Graph Editor) on both computers, and the behavior is the same, laptop works, desktop doesn't.

I tried a few virtual PDF printers: Bullzip/bioPDF, CutePDF, PDF24, Microsoft PDF, Adobe PDF, all with the same behaviour. If I print the same page with a totally different format virtual printer, "Microsoft XPS document writer", the colors are rendered properly.

I'm suspecting it's something in this system's settings, but I don't remember to have changed anything like that before... Any advice?

[Update] As I commented, the problem stays in which color I choose as a background. Let's say I use LibreOffice Calc, and put in some background formatting in spreadsheet. When I select print preview everything is fine, but when I print it with Bullzip PDF some colors are missing. The behaviour is the same with other applications, I used the spreadsheet just to ease to test.

  • do you have a test file?
    – juFo
    May 4, 2016 at 12:50
  • While I was trying to add files here I tried a few simple cases, and I discovered that only some colors disappear! I tried it again with yED, and Libreoffice Calc. Creating as an example a spreadsheet with a few different colors in cells background, some "pass through" the PDF, while other don't (still appearing right in the print preview). Again, if I print it to Microsoft XPS printer all colors are correct as in print preview.
    – LMS
    May 5, 2016 at 14:24
  • That LibreOffice Calc test-file of yours would still be useful. Provide the original calc-file and the resulting PDF (via a PDF-printer). Also try to export to PDF in LibreOffice itself instead of printing via a PDF printer (File>Export as PDF).
    – Rik
    May 8, 2016 at 19:47
  • 1
    This is the LibreOffice spreadsheet s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=26570763979336259692 and this s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=07355449779292036167 is the printed PDF, with Bullzip PDF. Note also that exporting directly from LibreOffice to PDF produces a correct document, with all the colors where required. I didn't state it clearly at the beginning, and it was worth clarifying. The problem persists only when I finalize printing (from any application) through a virtual device (any but XPS writer).
    – LMS
    May 9, 2016 at 9:12
  • is this correct that only one column has colors (opened in MS Office, or is this not supported in MS Office?)
    – juFo
    May 9, 2016 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


I have to thank Rik that with his comment solved my problem! In fact, it was somewhat viewer related and not printer related: let me tell it all.

I'm using Adobe Reader 11.0.12, while on laptop I used 11.0.15, so I first verified that same file on laptop, and everything was fine. Then I updated on desktop to 11.0.16, but the issue was still there, uhm! Checking the settings for AR, I found that in Preferences -> Accessibility -> Replace document colors was set: I unticked it, and all the colors returned back to normal!

Maybe I experimented with that for some special document in the past (who knows when?) and I left it set: it had no side effects on other docs, so I never noticed that before.

The defect wasn't in the pen writing, but in my eyes seeing :^)

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