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

The Problem with Dark Backgrounds in PDFs

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?

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?

Here are the quick and easy steps:

  1. Go to
  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.



Software developer, solopreneur, founder/owner of and

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store