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Convert Images to Grayscale in Acrobat

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

Sometimes, we get a PDF from a customer, and they want to print it with just black ink, but one or more of the photos in the layout are in full color. We don't want to rely on whatever conversion happens downstream to turn that color into gray. Is there an easy way to control the color-to-grayscale conversion of a picture in Acrobat?

Yes. Assuming you have Photoshop, you can convert individual image(s) in the PDF to grayscale by using the TouchUp Object tool (under Tools> Advanced Editing).

Get the TouchUp Object tool, and then Control-click (or right-click) on an object. Choose Edit Image from the contextual menu that appears, and the image will open in Photoshop.

Use Photoshop's Image> Adjustments> Hue/Saturation or Image> Adjustments> Channel Mixer to adjust the gray balance to your liking. (In Photoshop CS3, use the superior Image> Adjustments> Black and White feature). Then choose Image> Mode> Grayscale to permanently convert the image to grayscale.

When you save the image, it will be updated in the PDF, and will output exactly as it would from Photoshop.

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail, or go to their website:

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