Is there a way to make a black and white version of the PDF with a simple GUI program?
I have a multi-page pdf with various colorful certificates that I’d want to convert to black and white (grayscale).
Is there a way to turn it grayscale with a single command or a simple GUI tool (ideally free and open source)?
In theory, I could open each page separately in GIMP, convert them to grayscale, and then reassemble them, but it would take a lot of time.
PDFs are a great file format for sharing documents, but sometimes you may need to make some changes to them. One common task is converting a PDF to grayscale. This can be useful for a variety of reasons, such as making the document easier to read or reducing the file size. In this post, we’ll explore different ways to turn a PDF into grayscale, including using a simple GUI program.
Using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
One of the most popular ways to convert a PDF to grayscale is using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. This software is commonly used for editing and manipulating PDFs, and it has a built-in feature for converting a file to grayscale.
To convert a PDF to grayscale using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, follow these steps:
1. Open your PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.
2. Click on the “Tools” tab in the top menu bar.
3. Select “Print Production” from the drop-down menu.
4. Click on “Convert Colors” in the Print Production panel.
5. In the “Convert Colors” dialog box, select “Convert to grayscale” and click “OK”.
6. Save your grayscale PDF file.
Using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a great option for those who already have the software or have access to it through their workplace or school. However, it is not a free program, so it may not be the best choice for everyone.
If you’re looking for a free and open-source option for converting your PDF to grayscale, Ghostscript is a great choice. Ghostscript is a command-line tool that can be used to manipulate PDF files, including converting them to grayscale.
To use Ghostscript to convert your PDF to grayscale, follow these steps:
1. Download and install Ghostscript on your computer.
2. Open a command prompt or terminal window.
3. Navigate to the directory where your PDF file is located.
4. Type the following command:
gs -sOutputFile=output.pdf -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sColorConversionStrategy=Gray -dProcessColorModel=/DeviceGray -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 input.pdf
5. Press enter to execute the command.
6. Your grayscale PDF file will be saved as “output.pdf” in the same directory as your original file.
While using a command-line tool like Ghostscript may seem intimidating, it is a powerful and efficient option for those who are comfortable with using the terminal.
As mentioned in the introduction, one way to convert a PDF to grayscale is by using GIMP, a free and open-source image editing program. While this method may be more time-consuming than the previous two options, it can be a good choice for those who are already familiar with GIMP and want more control over the conversion process.
To convert a PDF to grayscale using GIMP, follow these steps:
1. Open your PDF file in GIMP.
2. If your PDF has multiple pages, you will need to open each page separately.
3. Select “Image” from the top menu bar and choose “Mode” from the drop-down menu.
4. Select “Grayscale” and click “Convert”.
5. Save your grayscale image as a PDF file.
Repeat steps 2-5 for each page of your PDF file.
While this method may take longer than using a dedicated PDF tool like Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, it can be a good choice for those who want more control over the conversion process.
Using Online Converters
If you don’t want to install any software on your computer, there are also online converters that can convert your PDF to grayscale. These websites are typically free to use and don’t require any downloads or installations.
To use an online converter to convert your PDF to grayscale, follow these steps:
1. Go to an online converter website such as SmallPDF or PDF Candy.
2. Upload your PDF file to the website.
3. Select the “Grayscale” option from the conversion settings.
4. Click “Convert” to start the conversion process.
5. Download your grayscale PDF file.
Converting a PDF to grayscale can be a useful task for a variety of reasons, and there are many different tools and methods available to accomplish this. Whether you choose to use a dedicated PDF tool like Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, a command-line tool like Ghostscript, an image editing program like GIMP, or an online converter, it’s important to choose a method that works best for your needs and skill level. With the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can easily convert your PDF to grayscale and achieve the desired results.
There are several ways you can convert a PDF to grayscale. Here are a few options:
- Adobe Acrobat: If you have Adobe Acrobat, you can open the PDF, go to the “Tools” menu, and select “Print Production”. From there, you can choose “Convert Colors” and select “Grayscale” as the output option.
- Online conversion tools: There are several online tools that can convert a PDF to grayscale for free. One example is Smallpdf (https://smallpdf.com/pdf-to-grayscale). Simply upload your PDF, choose the “Grayscale” option, and download the converted file.
- GIMP: As you mentioned, you can use GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) to convert each page of the PDF to grayscale and then reassemble them. To do this, open GIMP and go to File > Open. Select the PDF file, and choose which pages you want to open. GIMP will open each page as a separate image. To convert the image to grayscale, go to Colors > Desaturate. Save the changes, and repeat the process for each page. When you’re finished, you can use GIMP’s “Export as PDF” function (under the File menu) to save the images as a single PDF file.
- Other image editing software: Many image editing programs, such as Photoshop or Irfanview, have the ability to open and convert PDFs to grayscale. The process will be similar to the steps outlined above for GIMP.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
When I use the “convert” command, it has the great disadvantage of converting to bitmap images, whatever I do. Instead, I can try the following command:
gs -sOutputFile=outfile.pdf -sDEVICE=pdfwrite \ -sColorConversionStrategy=Gray -dProcessColorModel=/DeviceGray \ -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 infile.pdf < /dev/null
I have to redirect from
/dev/null because by default,
gs is interactive. There are many options available to tune the output, and I can look at the pdfwrite parameters of Ghostscript to learn more. With this method, the output PDF does not blow up in size, and its quality does not degrade.