Highlighted

Print to PDF on Mac resulting in black and white PDFs on Adobe Acrobat for Windows

Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi. My question requires someone with knowledge of both Windows and macOS.

 

I'm a Mac user and, for my job, I've had to save some documents as PDFs on my Mac to send to someone at work who uses a PC running Windows 10. I also have a work Windows PC that I use for testing the PDFs.

 

On my Mac, from various applications, I've been choosing Print and then Save as PDF. The resulting PDFs are in color when I view them on my Mac in the Preview app. On a PC, they are also in color when I open them in the Edge browser. But when I open the PDFs in Adobe Acrobat Reader on the PC--which is how my colleague is viewing the files--the documents are in black and white.

 

I do have a physical black and white printer (made by Brother). I wonder if somehow the printer's driver is causing the PDF to be in black and white when I'm printing to PDF. I wonder if I had a driver for a color printer whether printing to PDF would result in a color document, but it's just a guess.

 

If anyone has an explanation of what's happening and has a solution, I'd be very grateful.

 

Thanks!

Yeah, it's very weird. At least now I'm able to save PDFs that appear in color in all applications without having to re-export. Thanks a lot for your help and your suggestion of installing Acrobat Reader.

 

I'll definitely keep Acrobat Reader DC on my Mac. I think its interface is pretty clunky, which probably was one reason I removed it a few years ago. But you, and my tests tonight, have convinced me that Acrobat is better at handling PDFs than Preview.

TOPICS
Create PDFs, Edit and convert PDFs

Views

51

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more

Print to PDF on Mac resulting in black and white PDFs on Adobe Acrobat for Windows

Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi. My question requires someone with knowledge of both Windows and macOS.

 

I'm a Mac user and, for my job, I've had to save some documents as PDFs on my Mac to send to someone at work who uses a PC running Windows 10. I also have a work Windows PC that I use for testing the PDFs.

 

On my Mac, from various applications, I've been choosing Print and then Save as PDF. The resulting PDFs are in color when I view them on my Mac in the Preview app. On a PC, they are also in color when I open them in the Edge browser. But when I open the PDFs in Adobe Acrobat Reader on the PC--which is how my colleague is viewing the files--the documents are in black and white.

 

I do have a physical black and white printer (made by Brother). I wonder if somehow the printer's driver is causing the PDF to be in black and white when I'm printing to PDF. I wonder if I had a driver for a color printer whether printing to PDF would result in a color document, but it's just a guess.

 

If anyone has an explanation of what's happening and has a solution, I'd be very grateful.

 

Thanks!

Yeah, it's very weird. At least now I'm able to save PDFs that appear in color in all applications without having to re-export. Thanks a lot for your help and your suggestion of installing Acrobat Reader.

 

I'll definitely keep Acrobat Reader DC on my Mac. I think its interface is pretty clunky, which probably was one reason I removed it a few years ago. But you, and my tests tonight, have convinced me that Acrobat is better at handling PDFs than Preview.

TOPICS
Create PDFs, Edit and convert PDFs

Views

52

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Nov 16, 2020 0
Adobe Employee ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

We have no idea what's going on with the information you provided.

 

There is absolutely no interaction between whatever printer drivers you have installed on your system and how Acrobat or Reader display the PDF file. And this is the first time I've ever heard of a symptom like this!

 

The only possibility that I can think of is that is that somehow the Accessibility preferences (CTRL-k) on your system have been accidently enabled causing colors to be modified or even possibly mapped to black.

 

If you could post a PDF file that exhibits this problem on your Windows system, we can try to duplicate your symptoms and if they are repeatable, try to find a solution for you.

 

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Hi Dov, note that he's using the Mac's PDF generator. Does he even have Acrobat Pro DC?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Adobe Employee ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The issue is what he is seeing on his Windows system that he claims is running Acrobat Reader DC.

 

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Dov, thanks for replying so soon after my post. Also, I'm honored to have a principal scientist helping me with my issue. I'm happy to provide a file for you to analyze. I created a sample PDF from Excel on my Mac and then I opened it on my Windows PC in Adobe Acrobat Reader and it's definitely in black and white in Acrobat. I also took some screenshots to show you what's happening on the PC.

 

I didn't see a way to post the PDF directly to this reply, so I created an external link. Let me know if you have issues with it: This is the link to the sample PDF document.

 

I have attached the screenshots below:

 

Open With.pngAcrobat.png.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Adobe Employee ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Okay! Thanks for providing the file. Mystery resolved.

 

The PDF file was improperly generated. It has what is known as an Output Intent specified within the PDF file. In this case, the Output Intent is for Generic Gray Gamma 2.2. Actually, any PDF viewer that displays this in color is in fact wrong. For the record, neither the Preview application under MacOS nor the Edge browser under Windows are anything near compliant with the PDF specification!

 

2020-11-16_20-21-06.png

 

2020-11-16_20-23-05.png

 

The underlying PDF file does indeed have RGB colors. It is that Output Intent profile for grayscale that causes the PDF file to be displayed as it is. And that Output Intent profile isn't being added on the Windows end or by Acrobat.

 

Quite frankly, I don't know what PDF creation settings you had in effect in the print dialog when you selected the option to save as a PDF file. On my MacOS 10.15.x system, I cannot duplicate your results in terms of creating a PDF file with an Output Intent profile, but the PDF creation on your Mac is definitely the issue. Is your default printer on MacOS a monochrome only printer?

 

Perhaps if you can give a step-by-step with all settings description and screen shots of how you actually create the PDF on the Mac, we can help further.

 

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Dov, thanks so much for figuring out the underlying problem. I do have a black and white printer and I wonder if its driver is somehow influencing the PDF output. When I choose to print to PDF, my Mac shows a little preview in black and white with the name of the printer above.

 

And the process of saving a file as a PDF is really only three steps. I've attached three screenshots--one for each step--below.

 

Also, I'm running macOS 10.15.7, which was the latest version of macOS until this week, when it was superceded by Big Sur (macOS 11).

 

Screenshot1.jpgScreenshot2.pngScreenshot 3.png 

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Dov, sorry, I didn't notice you are also running Catalina on your Mac. I misread and thought you were running an earlier version of macOS. It makes me think more strongly that the Brother printer settings are somehow respomsible for my black and white output.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

So, I found a workaround that's now causing the PDF to be displayed in color in Acrobat Reader on the PC.

I opend the PDF in Preview on my Mac, then I re-exported as a PDF by choosing: "Export as PDF..."

 

Here's the new, exported file.

 

And here's a screenshot of Preview:

 

Export.png

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Adobe Employee ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The new file you posted certainly doesn't have that Output Intent to screw things up.

 

Hmmm. I guess on the Mac, the printer driver does unduly influence the PDF generation that way.

 

Do you have Acrobat installed on your Mac? Then you can avoid this mess entirely by using the Save As Adobe PDF option. Opening and resaving a PDF in Preview can degrade other aspects of the PDF file. Be forewarned!

 

BTW, for the time being, avoid MacOS 11 until the bugs are worked out.

 

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Dov, I don't have Acrobat Reader on my Mac. I used to have it a number of years ago. There was something about it I found annoying, but now I don't remember what it was. At the time, I decided just to stick with Preview.

 

Are you saying that if I install Adobe Acrobat that I will have a "Save As Adobe PDF" option in other applications? 

 

Or are you saying to use "Save as Adobe PDF" as an alternative to re-exporting in Prevew? Will there be less degradation compared to Preview?

 

Thanks for the warning about resaving in Preview. I didn't notice any obvious degradation in the Excel test document. I don't think it will be an issue for the documents I create for work.

 

I am waiting a while before installing MacOS 11. I have installed it on an aging laptop that I don't use too often.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

This is weird: I installed Adobe Acrobat Reader DC on my Mac. And now, when I'm in any application and choose Print and Save as PDF, the resulting document displays in color--both in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC for Mac and in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC on Windows? Does it make sense that installing Adobe Acrobat Reader DC affects how all applications save as PDF?

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Adobe Employee ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

The Save as Adobe PDF is available with Acrobat Pro DC and not with the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

 

No, it makes no sense at all. The Reader should have zero effect on applications saving PDF. But then again, the whole print and rendering subsystem of MacOS is somewhat of a mystery. 😞

 

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 16, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Yeah, it's very weird. At least now I'm able to save PDFs that appear in color in all applications without having to re-export. Thanks a lot for your help and your suggestion of installing Acrobat Reader.

 

I'll definitely keep Acrobat Reader DC on my Mac. I think its interface is pretty clunky, which probably was one reason I removed it a few years ago. But you, and my tests tonight, have convinced me that Acrobat is better at handling PDFs than Preview.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 16, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 19, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

Quick follow up: PDFs are not in black and white again when I choose Print and Save as PDF. Not sure what was happening before when they seemed to be in color.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 19, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 19, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

I made a typo. I meant to say PDFs are NOW in black and white again.

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Reply
Loading...
Nov 19, 2020 0