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?

  • 1
    Operating system?
    – frabjous
    Jan 17, 2011 at 20:43

3 Answers 3


Found this over at http://root42.blogspot.de/2012/10/counting-color-pages-in-pdf-files.html

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:
  • 6
    This oneliner answers the question "Is there a program that detects pages with color and can ouput the page number?" gs -o - -sDEVICE=inkcov input.pdf |tail -n +4 |sed '/^Page*/N;s/\n//'|sed -E '/Page [0-9]+ 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 / d' Nov 24, 2017 at 8:03

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 coloredpages.sh, and make it executable with chmod +x coloredpages.sh and then run ./coloredpages.sh "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).

  • 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, 2011 at 7:45

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.

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