Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Convert a color PDF to grayscale in Acrobat 9

In a previous post, I described how to convert a color PDF to grayscale in Acrobat 8 Professional. The method I described in converts RGB and CMYK objects properly. But objects made up of 0% C, 0% M, 0% Y and 100% K convert to a value less than 100% black, depending on your color settings.

The good news is, this appears to be fixed in Acrobat 9 Pro. Here's how to convert a color PDF file to grayscale in Acrobat 9 Pro.

1. Open a color PDF file in Acrobat 9 Pro. The file may contain a mix of CMYK, RGB or spot color objects.

2. Choose Advanced > Print Production > Preflight.

3. Select the Convert to Grayscale PDF Fixup, and then click the Analyze and Fix button.

4. Give the file a name and location, and click the Save button. The entire PDF file will be converted to grayscale.

48 comments:

Angela said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I have been trying for days to figure out how to keep my blacks at 100% when converting to black and white, instead of changing to 91%.
This worked like a charm. You are a lifesaver!

Double JB said...

This still isn't working for me. Now, instead of a 91% black, I get a 94% black.

Just can't win, I guess.

Double JB said...

What I had to do in Acrobat 9:

Go into Advanced/Print Production/Convert Colors

Then Choose "Any CMYK" under matching Criteria & "Dot Gain 20%" under Conversion profile.

This kept my text at 100%, but for some reason it didn't catch the registration marks they were in CMYK. Selecting "Any color space" under "Color Type" did not work, it had to be "Any CMYK".

Chrissie A said...

Excellent! So glad to have found this—thank you!

Billy said...

Awesome!!!! Thank you so much! This worked like a charm and sorted me out a critical time! I owe you one.

Anonymous said...

Im wondering about the Dot Gain 15% or 20% etc... What does this do really? And also in the older post there were some people saying that the method made the images to a lower quality, like compressing them harder - is this fixed now in this one?

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This was very helpful.

Bev said...

A fast way to convert and this only applies to text, such as blue hyperlinks, is to select print choose PDF, lower left side of print dialog box select print to black. This is a windows feature, it will change the text to 100% black instead of 84% grayscale. Do not do this with anything other than text.

Anonymous said...

did it reduce the file size?

Swift Arrow said...

Thanks so much!

bianca said...

awesome! thanks so much, just what i needed

Anonymous said...

The screen shot shows a list of options. When I click on "show all" I have no options to choose from to do a color conversion. Where can I load these from?

Keith Gilbert said...

@Anonymous: Make sure the drop-down list in the upper left says "Show all". If not, change it and the options should appear. Or, if that isn't the problem, try clicking on the Options button in the upper right, and chose "Import Preflight Profile" and try to locate the preflight profiles on your hard drive. All the profiles displayed in the screen shot are included in Acrobat, and should be installed.

Anonymous said...

conversion was easy. in printing from Acrobat select "Print color as black" & for my Epson Stylus Photo R300 i had to use the following print settings (otherwise i just got a blank page)

text & (advanced) gray scale

Suzanne Offner said...

Very helpful, thank you!

DarwinsDead said...

Worked! Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

I could not get this to work but I did a print to PDF and chose grayscale there. Seems silly but it worked!!

Anonymous said...

Perfect answer to a simple question, thanks, Edmond

kurt VAN DAELE said...

thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this very useful post. Couldn't find anything about converting to greyscale anywhere in Adobe Help!

Anonymous said...

Great, thank you... This is really really great. Easy and quickly.

Sct Snyder said...

THANK YOU! I've been having to deal with packaging and sending InDesign files for even the simplest one-color jobs (and then crossing my fingers).

mtnspirit said...

Many Thanks!!! Very Helpful, I owe you one as well!

Twin Mom said...

I do not have a Convert Device Gray option in the Advanced Print Production /Convert window. Presently getting a built black for all Device Gray within documents. Looking to convert Device Gray to grayscale. Can anyone help?

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!

steph said...

I could totally kiss you right now. This tutorial saved me from going crazy!

Anonymous said...

I think you're my new BFF. Thank you - saved me a lot of time having to covert the artwork to B/W and resave as a PDF.

ws said...

I need to be able to convert some pages to greyscale but leave others in color. When I try the method described, the boxes to select pages are greyed out. (Acrobat 9)

Keith Gilbert said...

@ws: Sorry, I don't know of any way to do this.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, worked for me! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So simple - thank you

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! This simple change made a BIG difference.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing!! Worked like a charm.

Anonymous said...

cheers!

Unknown said...

Does anyone know how to do this in Acrobat X?

Thanks in advance

Keith Gilbert said...

To do this in Acrobat X, click on the Tools sidebar, choose the Print Production category, and then Preflight.

Adam Williams said...

Hi, wondering if someone can help me. I have a PDF with tables with alternating shaded rows, RGB 250,255,235 and RGB 238,255,189, light green. They are contrasty when printed in colour but in B&W almost white. Using the convert colour to greyscale fixup is far too light and no contrast. Using the Convert to spot colour fixup I can convert both of them one after the other, but I can't put two spot colour fixups in the same preflight profile, so have to run two separate profiles.

Is there a more efficient way for me to convert these two RGB colours using another type of fixup, or another too;l? Thankyou, and sincere thanks for the original tip, which got me started on solving this problem.

Dan said...

Thanks. I just used it to convert a CMYK pdf into grayscale to insert into an Indesign document. Thanks.

Kurt said...

Thanks! Just what I needed to reduce a form with blue pen accidentally scanned in color to greyscale.

Kim Mya said...

I did all the steps in Pro X, but somehow 1) it doesn't convert my PDF in greyscale, and 2) Acrobat freezes and bugs afterwards. I don't get what's going on, I've been searching for one week almost 2 work days non stop :(

John said...

thanks! Appreciate it!
small fixes sometimes can be a bit difficult to figure out. this was straightforward! cheers!

Anonymous said...

So helpful! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank You!!! Useful !!

Anonymous said...

Received a request to reduce the file size of a high-res color PDF, and from google search to file save was 30 seconds. Thanks for the precise instructions!!!

Anonymous said...

A time-saver, life-saver, sanity-saver!!!!!! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice - saved a lot of time. Thank you very much.

Raphael R. said...

Thank you! It worked like a charm!

John Kramer said...

This works well, but the default dot gain setting of 15% (according to Steve Werner at http://indesignsecrets.com/finding-export-pdf-to-grayscale-in-indesign-cs6.php) is too dark for my photos. Any way to edit profile to 30% in the Preflight settings? Thanks!