Say I have a pdf file foo.pdf that I want to include in my bla.tex document via \includegraphics{foo.pdf}. Say that foo.pdf is a colored document and that I need bla.pdf to be in gray levels. How can I do?

  • What about using Ghostscript as external tool: gs -sOutputFile=output-filename -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sColorConversionStrategy=Gray -dProcessColorModel=/DeviceGray -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 input-filename < /dev/null Oct 18, 2013 at 20:59
  • Thanks, but I'd rather rely on pdftex (no external tool). BTW, your command output an error Error: /undefinedfilename in (sDEVICE=pdfwrite).
    – cjorssen
    Oct 18, 2013 at 21:09
  • 1
    @cjorssen: The option starts with a hyphen: -sDEVICE=pdfwrite Oct 18, 2013 at 21:41
  • Indeed. Thanks. @susis strolch Would you mind turn you comment into an anwer as it seems to be the right way to do what I ask.
    – cjorssen
    Oct 18, 2013 at 22:11

2 Answers 2


You can use external tools like Ghostscript:

gs -sOutputFile=output-filename -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sColorConversionStrategy=Gray -dProcessColorModel=/DeviceGray -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 input-filename < /dev/null

pdftex can not change the colour model of included pdfs; you have to use external tools. This (manipulate the internals of included pdfs) might be theoretically possible with LuaTeX, but I strongly advise against it.

  • 1
    Thanks. May I ask you why you advise against it?
    – cjorssen
    Oct 18, 2013 at 22:12
  • 1
    @cjorssen: How would you change the colour model of included pdfs? You'd probably have to rewrite the complete content stream. There be dragons... Oct 19, 2013 at 11:18

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