In LaTeX, one can change the background color of the whole document easily through the pagecolor package. I was experimenting with it and I've found that setting the background color to be slightly darker than white makes the page look better, "more organic", in my opinion.

before after

My question is, is this acceptable in formal documents (say, an invoice or a contract), or is it better to stick with the pure white?

  • 1
    I would sign an increase in payment contract even on red paper ... ;-) But I think it's established: white paper is the 'norm'
    – user31729
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 10:15
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    It costs 27 times more to print. Consider getting "organic" paper instead. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 10:20
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    I don't think it's very ecofriendly... maybe you shuld just buy some kind of recycled paper that is less white...
    – Moriambar
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 10:20
  • Ok, I should have specified: I start from the assumption (probably wrong) that the document will not be printed. Also, maybe there's a way to ignore the background color in the printer settings? (I don't own a printer so I can't check if this is the case, but sounds plausible to me)
    – mrzool
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 11:01

2 Answers 2


Imho you shouldn't assume that people don't print a pdf and so \pagecolor is not really an option. But you can a similar effect with layers:

\geometry{papersize={4cm, 4cm}} %for the tests
  \tikz[overlay,remember picture]\fill[red](current page.north east)rectangle (current page.south west);

  • And how does that solve the issue with the printing? Layers don't get printed?
    – mrzool
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 12:06
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    Well make an educated guess what printocg=never does -- or look in the documentation of ocg-p. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 12:26
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    One might add that this only works when printed from an application that understands OCGs (ie., only with Acrobat).
    – Robert
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 15:43
  • @Robert: I tried with sumatra too and it worked. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 15:44
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    Interesting, does sumatra support OCG now, or only the print state? Anyway, just for the record, I tried with Preview, and the background was printed.
    – Robert
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 15:56

I'd say no if there is a chance people will print the document, it'll come out terribly and drain their cartridges.

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