I have a document that has images that are very, very dark. As such, they should not be printed when the user goes to print. Somebody I'm working with loves to print, and they use a lot of toner this way.

Is there a way to make an image not print in the hard copy paper view, but show up in the electronic view?

  • I think this is a little off-topic since it's a PDF specification related issue but I've learned quite a while ago that anything is possible in here.
    – percusse
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 19:05
  • @percusse I believe it's on-topic because I'm pretty sure it is possible with PDF and the true problem is: How to do it in LaTeX.
    – yo'
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 19:09
  • 2
    You should search for Optional Content Groups (OCG) and setting the PrintState and ViewState. The hyperref package can do this for link colors, maybe have a look there.
    – Juri Robl
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 19:20
  • 2
    Well, you can build two pdfs, one with the option draft, one without. Option draft forces to hold only the place of the image.
    – Mensch
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 20:31
  • 4
    Have you considered that your print loving co-worker may end up firing of a gazillion copies of the document while trying to figure out why his images won't print? Whatever the answer to your question ends up being, I'm going to use it for entertainment purposes ;)
    – Scott H.
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


If you are using pdflatex or lualatex, pdftex.def allows you to specify an alternate image to be used for printing:


This will probably only work with Adobe Reader.

  • While this sounds like a really great idea, I tried it pdflatex=>pdf file=>Adobe Reader=>Print XPS file, but the xps file still had the {screen.pdf} image
    – bobobobo
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 17:53

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