Tips & Tricks

Problem when printing PDF and page comes out grey?

March 13, 2011


A loyal reader named Brian Burke emailed with what appears to be a sort of common problem: sometimes when printing a PDF the resulting page comes out grey. Brian most recently had the problem when he downloaded some government forms, and then tried to print them. But he says the problem has happened with documents that he's scanned as well.

I've had the problem, but not in the past few years. So I figured I'd google for a quick answer. I used this search term: "print pdf grey background fix" and found some articles, but most of them were behind registration walls.

One suggested fix was this: "Go to View > Color/Grayscale > Grayscale. Then right-click the table and choose B/W Settings, then Black With White Fill."

I emailed Brian my google search results, and he played around and found that this worked: "Edit > Preferences > Accessibility > enable "Replace Document Colors" > enable "Custom Color" and set page background to white and document text to black."

Have any of you had this problem? And if so perhaps you could post your solution in the comments so that the next eager seeker of solutions can (hopefully) find it on this page.

This piece originally appeared on, and has been reproduced with permission.

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