How to Change the Color of a PDF Document

By William Harrel

Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF) is primarily an end-user format. While you can make some changes in Acrobat Pro, it's usually easier to make formatting changes, such as background and font colors, in the "host" application---the program in which you originally created the document, such as Word or InDesign. However, you can make some color changes to your PDFs with Acrobat Pro's "Background" and "Text TouchUp" features.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro 7 or later

Changing a PDF's Background Color

Step 1

Open the PDF in Acrobat Pro like this: Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Open." You will see the Open dialog box. Navigate to the PDF, select it, and click the "Open" button.

Step 2

Click "Document" on the menu bar, choose "Background," and then select "Add/Replace" from the fly-out menu. This opens the Add Background dialog box.

Step 3

Click the "From Color" radio button to select it.

Step 4

Click a color swatch next to "From Color." Choose a color from the swatches on the drop-down, or click "Other Color" to create a color in the "Color" dialog box.

Step 5

Click "OK" to apply the color and close the Add Background dialog box.

Changing PDF Font Colors

Step 1

Open the PDF in Acrobat Pro like this: Click "File" on the menu bar and choose "Open." When you see the Open dialog box, navigate to the PDF, select it, and click the "Open" button.

Step 2

Click "Tools" on the menu bar and choose "Advanced Editing," and then select "TouchUp Text Tool" from the fly-out menu.

Step 3

Drag the mouse cursor over the text you want to change to highlight it. (PDFs break large blocks of text into smaller blocks based on paragraph breaks. You can select only one paragraph at time.)

Step 4

Right-click the selected text and choose "Properties" from the fly-out menu. This opens the TouchUp Properties dialog box.

Step 5

Click a color swatch next to "Fill." Choose the color from swatches on the drop-down, or click "Other Color" to create a color in the "Color" dialog box. Click "Close" to apply the color and close the TouchUp Properties dialog box.

Tips & Warnings

  • To change the colors of images and graphics in your PDFs, you'll need to edit them in a graphics editor, like this: Click "Tools" on the menu bar and choose "Advanced Editing." Select "TouchUp Object Tool" from the fly-out menu. Select the object you want to edit. Right-click the selected object and choose "Edit Image" from the fly-out. This opens the image in your image editing software. If you have Photoshop, the image will open in Photoshop (or Illustrator for vector graphics). Otherwise, you'll be prompted to choose a program for editing the image. Make the changes and save the image. Acrobat updates the image in your PDF.