Do you have suggestions on how to make a PDF file easier to read on a computer screen? By this I mean anything which isn't changing the format and layout, as this has been discussed in other questions I believe.

I'm thinking of keeping the text in black while using a sand-coloured background. What's a good package for that?


Well, for me the combination


works best. Something closer to sand-color can be achieved by \pagecolor{yellow!20}

Another advice: whatever you do, do not use multicolumn layout! It is so frustrating to move the page up and down...

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  • I actually started writing in twocolumn. I agree that it is annoying to have to scroll up and down, but the output will be landscape on a5paper, so the whole page should fit and be readable on an 11'' screen. – donkey kong Nov 10 '11 at 10:38
  • To anyone looking for a beamer class solution, another approach is needed, see e.g. tex.stackexchange.com/questions/8043 – PatrickT Oct 10 '17 at 8:12

Some pdf viewers allow you to change the page background color. For example, in xpdf, you can use

xpdf --papercolor "#333333" file.pdf

to view the file with light gray background. (I believe you can also set the papercolor using Xresources).

Similarly, for sumatra pdfviewer you can use

 SumatraPdf  -bg-color 0x333333 file.pdf

to view the file with light gray background. I seem to remember that adobe acrobat also has this option, but I cannot check at the moment.

This method will work regardless of the software used to create the pdf. In addition, you can print the pdf without any changes as well!

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  • For linux, a good PDF viewer to change background/foreground is zathura. very clean and without any toolbars. it has keyboard shortcut commands. once u get used to it, other softwares seem extravagant. – magguu Sep 9 '17 at 20:43

Maybe you would be interested in the Solarized color palette. I think the color Solarized base3 (#FDF6E3, the color I used in the left-side figure) is better than white for my eyes.

If you want to keep the original paper color white, while viewing it in base3, you can change the paper color (the background color) in some PDF viewers. For instance, in Okular v.0.19.3:

Settings -> Configure Okular... -> Accessibility -> Change colors -> Change Paper Color

This feature was just implemented in the Internal PDF Viewer of TeXstudio too, and will probably be available in the next stable version. Look here.

What you see in your viewer / The real PDF.

If you really want to change the paper color in LaTeX, e.g., when working in drafts, but want to go back to white for the final version:

\documentclass{article}% option [final] disables the creme background.

P.S.: I wrote a very similar answer in https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/390621/23481

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