I'm about to submit an article for publication, and I need to color some label text that I'm overlaying on my figures with the overpic package/environment (some labels need to be white to be readable on some figures). Problem is, I just noticed the submission guidelines say no color packages, so the


I had been using is right out. Is there a way to get a specific string (really just single characters) colored white without a color package?

  • Boooo. Add "and without gouging my eyes out in frustration" to the end of my question? Mar 16, 2012 at 20:47
  • 4
    Sure, you can write pdfliterals or use pdfcolorstack. But it looks as if that the publisher does not want color in the articles?!?
    – topskip
    Mar 16, 2012 at 20:48
  • 6
    Using \usepackage[pdftex]{color} is wrong anyway. First you should use the modern xcolor package and second it is not recommended to force the output driver (pdftex). Modern packages/installations are very able to detect the correct driver and you actually force errors (the wrong way) if anyone tries to compile the document with a different LaTeX compiler (DVI mode, xelatex, etc.). Mar 16, 2012 at 21:09
  • 3
    Colors are output format dependent. So you will need to ask the publisher which compiler workflow he is using. It would be easier to ask your above question directly to the publisher. Adding color commands manually will be not better than loading a package which provides them using a better and tested user interface. So I would try to go this way. You can turn you white text into a image. Maybe use standalone to produce standalone images which use xcolor and turn these into a PNG. This is actually supported by this class directly. See the v1.0 manual for more information. Mar 16, 2012 at 21:16
  • 4
    I would say that the best thing is to ask the tech support of the journal. Becuase whatever way you choose, they'll see it anyways and might decline your article because of that or ask for a correction of this. Asking them makes sure you do it the way they would like it.
    – yo'
    Mar 16, 2012 at 21:17

3 Answers 3


I guess this should receive downvotes instead of upvotes, but anyway:

% works only if you use PDFTeX or LuaTeX
% Don't do this at home, use \usepackage{xcolor} instead
\chardef\MyArticleWithColor=\pdfcolorstackinit page direct{0 g}
Roses are black
\pdfcolorstack\MyArticleWithColor push {0 0 1 rg}
Violets are blue
\pdfcolorstack\MyArticleWithColor pop
But I am not.


color sample

  • 1
    I am using this to circumvent an incompatibility of dinbrief (outdated) and color packages. This made my day!
    – Arne L.
    Jun 8, 2021 at 9:55
Roses are black
\pdfliteral{0 0 1 rg}
Violets are blue \pdfliteral{0 0 0 rg}
But I am not.

My understanding is that you only need to do this for figures.

I need to color some label text that I'm overlaying on my figures with the overpic package/environment (some labels need to be white to be readable on some figures

My suggestion is to use a sniping program and recapture the images as .jpg or whatever format the Journal recommends after you have set the writing with the overpic package. Then in the final paper you only use images. No need for color acrobatics. See https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/45023/963, especially the Mandela image that was produced this way.

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