I have no more black ink in my Canon MP560 printer.

All other colors print fine.

I need to print out an online train ticket.

When I print it out, I can't see any of the page that is in black (most of it, all the text).

I already printed it as a PDF so I can print it out later if I get some black ink in time.

But can anyone think of a creative way to tell the printer / printer driver / PDF software (Foxit) that it should replace all black pixels with e.g. very dark blue pixels so that I can at least print it out so that the barcode on the page can be scanned?


Maybe you can set an option in the printer driver to print black as composite from yellow, magenta and cyan.

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    Do you mean in the printer properties, I find options such as "manual color intensity" but nothing where I could map colors like that. – Edward Tanguay Oct 24 '10 at 19:14
  • Yes somewhere in the printer dialogue. What printer do you have? However I do not know what it is called exactly. But basically it is possible to mix black from the 3 other colors. – Martin Oct 24 '10 at 19:15
  • I have a Canon MP560. – Edward Tanguay Oct 24 '10 at 19:17
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    I have found this for the iP90, maybe this is applicable for your printer, too: "The Canon Pixma iP90 introduces two features: Save Black Ink, which is similar to the Draft mode on other printers in that it reduces that colour's use by the printer; and Use Composite, which you can find in the drivers' Maintenance section under Ink Usage Control. Use Composite instructs the printer to fashion black out of colour ink when the former runs dry. Read more: reviews.cnet.co.uk/printers/canon-pixma-ip90-review-49282171/…" – Martin Oct 24 '10 at 19:27
  • Converting the color black to blue as in frabjous' answer has the added benefit of saving colored ink. In order to print black from CYM, you'll need a lot of ink. – Andre Terra Jul 3 '13 at 12:42

Install Ghostscript (first) and then ImageMagick, and then you can use the following command:

convert -density 300 input.pdf -fill blue -opaque black output.pdf

This will convert all the black in input.pdf with blue in output.pdf.

[Thanks to Nick's comment below for the part about ghostscript.]

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    Be sure to install GhostScript (ghostscript.com) before installing ImageMagick. This will allow it to work with PDF files. – Nick Feb 23 '11 at 1:01
  • Perfect answer! – Andre Terra Jun 1 '14 at 20:30
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    Did perfectly work on text pdf for me, but not for images. For image pdfs convert -density 300 input.pdf +level-colors blue,white output.pdf worked – Alexander Taubenkorb Jun 9 '14 at 10:00
  • Amazing, exactly what I needed. It's creating a terribly big file as output but fixes my issue (original from scanner 962K, colorized 47M). But it works for the purpose of printing. @AlexanderTaubenkorb, thanks, perhaps issue with images is that color is not exactly black but grayscale. – akostadinov Feb 9 '15 at 17:32
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    @MattSayar Done! – frabjous Nov 3 '16 at 14:21

You can change the colour of font settings in Adobe Acrobat. After doing that it still tries to print black on the font but fear not. If you manage to change the font colour, change the advanced setting in (HP at least) to print as picture and it will print in dark blue.

I discovered this by chance, hopefully it helps someone else!


I don't know about the print drivers or PDF part, but I would save the PDF as a graphic and use an editor (like gimp or something) to select all of a color (black) and change it to blue.

  • I had similar desire (change colors) but for aesthetic reasons. Doing it with gimp didn't yield nice results (I lost text sharpness), maybe because of my inability to do it right. In any case it's cumbersome if you want to print multiple pages. – akostadinov Feb 9 '15 at 17:24
  • I agree Gimp probably isn't the right tool. If you don't have Acrobat, Illustrator and need a free tool to modify a PDF, I would look at Inkscape (inkscape.org). Inkscape may have a font substitution problem depending on what the PDF uses and your system. Gimp will rasterize text, so you would need to open the page at a high dpi for text to appear smooth. I would say at least the resolution you intend to print at. But Inkscape would be a better choice. – Scott McClenning Feb 10 '15 at 3:21
  • In my case I have scanned PDFs so not actually text but I see what you mean.. still @frabjous answer is easier. – akostadinov Feb 10 '15 at 8:11

A brute force method, if you only need the bar-code, is to print screen and open the picture in your favorite photo editing program to manually shift the colors.


In a HP Deskjet and probably most printers, I just change the setting to print as if its an image or photograph. Works perfectly as it prints the black from the combo in the colour cartridge.


EDIT: after posting this answer, I realized the print still comes out in black. It's only the screen view that changes (at least in my PDF reader). But it still provides a solution because you can then print a screenshot. I pasted my screenshot into Word and dragged the corner of the image to make it a bit bigger before printing it.

Some PDF readers let you do it as an Accessibility setting under Preferences.

For example, Foxit Reader does it here:

enter image description here

I read somewhere that Adobe reader has a similar setting.

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