How to Make a PDF Black and White

If you’re not planning to print your PDF file in colour or a colour view doesn’t matter, then converting the PDF to grayscale can make the file considerably smaller. Removing the colour is a good option when size is more important - for example, when you need to attach your PDF to an email. 


Find out how to convert a PDF to black and white with our easy-to-follow guide.

What you’ll learn.



Quick list: How to Convert a PDF Grayscale.

Follow our quick guide to convert your PDFs to grayscale in no time.

  1. Open the document and click CTRL + P on your keyboard to reveal the print menu.
  2. Select Microsoft Print to PDF from the Printer tab.
  3. Tick the Print in grayscale (black and white) option then hit the Print button.
  4. You can now save your file. Choose a name for it and a location to save it.


In Detail: How to Make a PDF Black and White Step-by-Step.

Use our step-by-step guide to remove the colour from your PDF files in only a few clicks.


1. Start by opening the PDF document you want to edit inside the Adobe Acrobat Reader.  Press ctrl + P or use right click to open drop-down menu and choose Print icon.


2. From the Printer tab, open the Destination drop-down menu and choose Microsoft Print to PDF.

3.  Below the Printer menu, you will find the Print in grayscale option



4.  Hit the Print button located at the bottom of the menu to export your PDF into a new, black-and-white version. You can now save the copy under the name and location of your choice.


Benefits of removing colour from a PDF. 

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to make a PDF black and white. Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits.

  • Smaller file sizes. PDFs without colour take up less space than colour files. This is because there is less information needing to be stored. There’s no point wasting space on colour files if you don’t need them.
  • Save on ink. Coloured ink is much more expensive than black, and the last thing you need is someone unnecessarily printing a document in colour. This can be very easily done in a busy office and where the printer automatically detects colour settings. Prevent mistakes by saving all PDF files in black and white when the colour isn’t needed.
  • Get a preview. Make sure your infographics, graphs, and diagrams don’t lose data when printed by saving a copy in grayscale. You can then tweak the colours in the original document as needed. 


Still have questions? These are some of the most frequently asked questions:

How do you create a PDF?


Within Adobe Acrobat it’s easy to create a PDF. Within the program, just select Create PDF and then select the file or files you want to convert.


From another program, for example Microsoft Word, go to the Print options and change the printer destination to Print to PDF. Choose the destination for your file and a newly created PDF will be saved there.


How do I create a PDF from images?


PDFs are versatile and can be created from a variety of sources, including images like JPG and TIFF files. You can check out our handy guide to Converting Images to PDFs or follow this quick summary:

  1. Open Acrobat and select Enhance Scans.
  2. Choose the fille you want to convert. Most image and scan file formats will be recognised by the software.
  3. Click the magnifying glass to get Acrobat to identify errors. You can accept or edit these one at a time. Then click Done when you’re finished. 

How do I print my PDF?


You can set the printing colour from within Adobe Acrobat by accessing the File menu and choosing the Print option. Locate the button for Advanced Options and click it. Under the Output settings make sure the colour is displayed as Composite Grey. Your PDF will now print in shades of grey.


Related Acrobat content.

Try our other tips and guides to make the most of Acrobat.

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