How to Make a PDF Black and White on a Computer [Windows/Mac]


Documents are frequently shared between platforms using PDF files. To satisfy certain standards, we might occasionally need to make a PDF black and white. So, how can we do that? This post will outline four distinct approaches, some of which are compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems. The approach that best meets your requirements and tastes is yours to select.

how to make a pdf black and white


Part 1. FAQs About Making PDF Black and White

Q1. What Does It Mean to Make a PDF Black and White?

Making a PDF black and white means that converting all colors within the document to shades of gray, stripping away any color information and leaving behind a grayscale image. In other words, all the PDF file will become gray, including those pictures and texts.

Q2. Why Do We Need to Make PDF Monochrome?

  1. Reducing Printing Costs: Color ink cartridges tend to be more expensive and run out more quickly than black and white ink cartridges. Thus, Printing in black and white is often a more affordable option.
  2. Fulfilling Specific Requirements: There may be circumstances or establishments that have particular demands about the color of PDF files. For example, in order to preserve a formal and consistent style, some academic or legal documents might need to be written in black and white. You will need to convert such PDF files to black and white if you must submit them.
  3. Enhancing Readability: Some PDF files' colors may make them harder to read. Black and white PDF files can help you read and comprehend the text more easily if these colors are distracting while you're reading or if you have color blindness or other visual impairments.

Part 2. How to Make PDF Black and White on Windows 10/11

If you're using a computer running on the Windows 10/11 operating system, you can employ the following two methods to convert PDF files to black and white:

Way 1. How to Make PDF Black and White in PDF Editor [Recommended]

PDF Editor is a powerful PDF editing software that can achieve all the functions of Adobe Acrobat, allowing you to easily create, edit, convert, annotate, sign, protect, merge, split, compress, extract, OCR, and print PDF files. It is an affordable alternative to Adobe Acrobat. It also allows you to convert PDF files to grayscale with just a few simple steps.

Key Features

  • Batch Processing: Allows users to perform actions such as conversion, OCR, or watermarking on multiple PDF files simultaneously.
  • Edit PDFs: Allows users to edit text, images, and pages within PDF documents.
  • Convert PDFs: Provides tools to convert PDF files into various formats such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.
  • Create PDFs: Enables the creation of PDF files from various document formats and scanned documents.
  • Combine PDFs: Allows users to merge multiple PDF files into a single document.
  • ...

Here are the specific steps:

01Download, install, and open PDF Editor.

02Click the blue "Open PDF" button to open your target PDF file.

open a pdf file

03Click the "File" menu in the top right corner, and tap "Print".

choose print option

04Check the "Gray print" option under "Printer" on the top left corner.

make a pdf grayscale in pdf editor

05Preview the effect of the PDF file and configure other options as needed. Once done, click "Print" > "Save As" to choose a save location.

06After that, you can open and view the converted PDF file at the saved location.

You may also need:

[6 Ways to Try Out] How to Print Password-Protected PDF

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Way 2. How to Make a PDF Black and White in Adobe Acrobat DC

The well-known PDF processing program Adobe Acrobat DC can perform the same tasks as PDF Editor for converting PDF files to grayscale. But in order to use this conversion function, you must pay for an exactly expensive service.

Here's how:

Step 1: Download and install Adobe Acrobat DC on your PC. Then open it on the desktop. Next, hit "File" on the top left, and tap "Open" to pick the PDF that you desire to convert.

Step 2: Hit "File" on the top left corner, and select "Print". Then check the "Print in grayscale (black and white)" option under "Printer" on the print production window.

make a pdf grayscale in adobe

Step 3: At last, click "Print" and choose a location on your computer to save your PDF file. Open the PDF, and you will find it turn black and white.

Part 3. How to Make a PDF Black and White on Mac

Are you using a computer running a Mac system? If yes, you can use the built-in Preview feature on Mac to convert PDF files to grayscale without effort. Follow the guide below, you will know this is a quick and cost-effective way.

Steps on how to turn PDF into black and white on Mac:

Step 1: Open and access the PDF document you want to change into grayscale via the Preview application on a MacBook.

make a pdf grayscale on mac

Step 2: Click the "File" icon and select "Export" to choose a save location and enter the file name. Next, click "PDF" > "Format".

Step 3: Tap "Quartz Filter", then select "Black & White" from the dropdown menu, and click "Save". Once done, your PDF file will be black and white.

choose the black & white option

More PDF solutions:

How to Make a Screenshot a PDF on Windows/Mac/Mobile Devices

How to Make Adobe Default PDF Viewer on Windows/Mac/Android/iOS Devices

Part 4. How to Change PDF to Grayscale Online

You can use an online PDF conversion service to convert a PDF file to black and white if you would rather not download or install any software and would like to use the conversion on any device.

The following are this method's benefits:

  • Quick and easy, taking up little room on your computer.
  • Allow for conversion between several formats.

The following are this method's drawbacks:

  • Have to be connected to the internet.
  • There might be some dangers to privacy and security, so it's not suitable to convert those private documents.

Step 1: Go to https://avepdf.com/convert-pdf-to-grayscale, the official AvePDF website, to use their online PDF conversion tool. To convert a PDF file to black and white, click the "Choose File" option and choose the desired file. A file from Dropbox, Google Drive, or a URL can also be selected.

make a pdf grayscale online

Step 2: Wait for the file to upload, then select the components you wish to convert to grayscale by clicking the "Convert to grayscale" button in the settings menu that displays.

customize preferences

Step 3: Click "Download" to save the converted PDF file to your computer after waiting for the conversion to finish. The file can also be saved to Google Drive or Dropbox.


There are several reasons to convert PDFs to black and white, and there are several ways to do it on the Mac and Windows operating systems. To simply convert PDFs to monochrome to meet your needs, you can use internet tools, Preview on Mac, or specialized applications like PDF Editor or Adobe Acrobat DC. We hope you found our text to be useful!

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