Print PDFs Without the Background, for Easy Highlighting and to Save Toner

Steve Metivier
2 min readOct 20, 2022

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The Problem with Dark Backgrounds in PDFs

I seriously dislike documents with light fonts on dark backgrounds. They’re more difficult to read, for one. Most importantly, I like to print and markup documents — highlights, margin notes, etc. Good luck highlighting and noting on an essentially black background (or any background, really).

Secondly, printing pages with dark backgrounds uses a lot of toner, for no good reason.

So, how can you print documents with dark backgrounds — specifically PDFs?

After searching and finding a handful of solutions, I found that most of them involved paying for Acrobat (full Acrobat, not Acrobat Reader), or another downloadable software application.

There are many articles saying you can use Acrobat Reader’s accessibility options, but that doesn’t appear to override background images, like you’d find in slide decks, so didn’t work for my case.

Another solution offered was to use Acrobat Reader to display the various layers, but that didn’t work for my case, either. My document had only one layer (as I’ll bet lots of slide decks converted to PDF do).

So, how can I print a PDF as black text on a white background?

We’ll use a color inverter — specifically this one: https://invert-pdf.club/. It’s a web app, and it’s free.

Here are the quick and easy steps:

  1. Go to https://invert-pdf.club/
  2. Click on “choose file”, and choose your PDF file.
  3. Click on “Upload file”, and wait a minute or two, while it processes. Your converted file will appear in your browser window when it’s done.
  4. Click on the standard Print icon in the upper right to print it.
  5. If you want to save the converted PDF, click on the Print icon again and choose “Save as PDF”. For some reason, using the Download function failed on me repeatedly, due to a network error, but “Save as PDF” worked fine.

Final note:

If you’re interested in saving toner, you probably want to save paper as well, so choose the “Print on both sides” option. And be sure to set the “flip” option correctly — “flip on long edge” for a portrait mode document, “flip on short edge” for a landscape mode document.

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