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How to print a PDF without background

Updated July 20, 2017

A background in a PDF can be an image or a colour. You may want to print a PDF without the background to, for example, save ink if the background is in colour. In Adobe Acrobat, you can choose to hide a background, either image or colour, when you print the PDF. You can also create layers in Adobe Acrobat and move background images and colours to a layer separate from text. You can then hide this layer when you print it.

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If the PDF is a form, you can choose to print only form fields, which excludes the background, in either Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

  1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat and click "Document," choose "Background" and select "Update."

  2. Click "Appearance Options" in the Appearance pane. The Appearance Options dialogue box appears.

  3. Deselect the "Show When Printing" check box and click "OK." When you print the document, the background will not be printed.

  4. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat, click "Advanced" and choose "Preflight."

  5. Click the "Create PDF Layers" option to expand it. Select the appropriate layers option.

  6. Click "Analyze and Fix," then save the PDF. Acrobat creates separate layers for the background, text and images.

  7. Click the "Layers" button in the left navigation pane in Adobe Acrobat and right-click the layer that contains the background.

  8. Select "Never Prints" from the "Print" drop-down box to turn off printing of the layer.

  9. Open the PDF form in either Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader.

  10. Click "File" and select "Print."

  11. Select "Form Fields Only" from the "Comments and Forms" drop-down box.

  12. Select the printer you want to use, configure print options and click "OK."

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Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Reader


About the Author

Jen Miller is a professional writer with over 10 years of experience as a technical writer, editor and proofreader specializing in software. Miller has written a number of materials, including software manuals, marketing materials, newsletters, website copy and style guides. She has a Bachelor of Science in technical writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

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