Every graphic designer or illustrator will at some point want to change a document from color to grayscale. Grayscale documents are sometimes required for different projects because, when done properly, they can look sharp. Grayscale documents may be required because they are cheaper to print. Learning how to change an InDesign document to grayscale (black & white) is easy and worth the time.
How to convert InDesign document to grayscale
Changing a color document to grayscale with InDesign does not give a satisfactory result. However, with a few tricks, you can turn color documents into high-quality grayscale documents with InDesign. The best way to have a grayscale image in InDesign is to create a document that is made up of black, white, and gray colors. This is better than trying to change a color image to grayscale. When a color document is changed to grayscale it throws off the tone of the fonts and images in the document.
Changing images to grayscale may not come out the way you want. It is best to change the colors of images to grayscale in Photoshop or another image editing software. However, you may not be able to use another image editing software so it is great to know the tricks to use to change the InDesign document to grayscale. Below are two methods that can be used to change the InDesign document to grayscale.
- Export PDF files as grayscale
- Use color blend mode
- Export file format as grayscale
1] Export PDF files as grayscale in InDesign
This way of changing InDesign document to grayscale is changing after the work is finished. When you are finished working on the document you then export it as a grayscale PDF. This means that each time you make a change to the document in InDesign you would need to export it as a grayscale PDF.
The way to export the document as a grayscale PDF is all about the settings that you chose in the Export option. These settings are available in InDesign CS6 and later. To export the InDesign document as a grayscale PDF do the following.
Original InDesign Document.
Go to File then Export or press Ctrl + E.
The Export dialogue box will appear. Click the down arrow in the Save as type box and choose Adobe PDF (Print) then press Save.
After pressing Save the Export Adobe PDF dialogue window will appear. Here you will choose the options that will make the document grayscale.
Go to Standard and press the drop-down arrow at the value box. From the drop-down menu choose PDF/X-3″ or “PDF/X-4. These options are what will make the grayscale option available in the Output menu.
On the left of the Export Adobe PDF window click Output. A new screen will show, choose Convert to destination at Color conversion.
Choosing Convert to destination causes the Destination menu below the Color conversion menu to become active (it was grayed out before). Click the drop-down arrow beside the Destination value box and choose Dot gain 15%. By choosing Dot gain 15% the document will be output as grayscale.
When you are finished press Export at the bottom of the window.
The saved PDF will be grayscale and the editable document will still be the original color.
Note: The color changes that you made in the Export menu will remain as the default each time you go to export. Each time you export a file it will come out grayscale. To go back to the original, go to the Export Adobe PDF options window, then click Output and then go to Color conversion and click the drop-down arrow and choose No color conversion. This will make every PDF you export the color of the source document.
2] Use color blend mode in InDesign
The next method to change the document to grayscale is to use the color blend mode. You can use this method if you do not want to export the document as a grayscale PDF.
To use this method open the document then go to the left tools panel and select the Rectangle tool or click Ctrl + M.
Draw a rectangle over the image or over the part of the document that you want to be grayscale. In this case, the color parts of the image need to be grayscale. This document has three color sections but the text can be changed from the color pallet. The image can be covered however since it cannot be made in grayscale. If your document is one straight document then you can use one rectangle. If the color parts are not together then use different rectangles for each color segment.
Select the rectangle then go to the top menu bar and choose Object then Effects then Transparency. You can also right-click on the rectangle then go to Effects then Transparency.
The effects window will appear. Click the Preview box at the bottom of the window so that you can see the changes you make happen in the document. Shift the Effects window to the side so that you can see the document as you make the changes.
In the Effects, window go to Transparency and change the Basic Blending Mode to Color. You will see the image change to grayscale.
The words in the document can be made to be black or you can make the color gray. This is the document with the grayscale picture and the text color gray. The transparency of the words has been put to 71%. This gives the words a grayscale effect.
Now that the hard work is done, it is time to save the grayscale document for printing or sharing. To save as PDF, PNG or another format go to File then Export. The export window will appear, name your document and choose the file type that you want. When you are finished click Save to confirm the choices and save the document or Click cancel to close the Export window without saving.
3] Export file format as grayscale in InDesign
Another way to get the InDesign file as grayscale is to export it as grayscale. This method will not change the original file but the exported file will be grayscale. Certain file formats will give you this option when you go to export it. To export as grayscale just go to File and then Export, when the Export window appears choose the file format.
If you chose file formats such as PNG, PDF, JPEG, or EPS, you will see another options window appear. in this options window, you can change the Resolution the Color space, and other options that you want.
Click the drop-down arrow in the Color space value box and choose Gray. Depending on the type that you chose to save the file as you will have other Color space color options.
You can also change the resolution to suit the purpose of the document. A higher resolution for printing and a lower resolution for screen.
You then click Export to confirm the options. This will output a grayscale document to your save destination folder.
What is the difference between Export and Save as in InDesign?
Whenever you want to save a document in a file format that is supported by InDesign you use Save as. If you want to output a file that is flattened or can be used by another application then use Export. You will notice that there are file formats in Export that are not in Save as; these are file formats that are not supported in InDesign. InDesign can Export them but they will not be usable in InDesign.
How to save high-quality documents for print?
To save high-quality PDF documents for printing go to File then Adobe PDF presets then High-quality print. When the Save as dialogue box comes up, you will notice that the Save as type has only Adobe PDF (print).