13 May 2015

Stripping background images from PDFs

Sometimes I get a PDF I want to print, but there is a background image or colour which will eat too much ink & I would like to remove it. The example I am going to use is the rules reference for Tales of Arabian Nights from The Esoteric Order of Gamers, which has a very bold parchment background.

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This is a fairly simple job, you just need the right tools and that tool is the FREE (and open source) Inkscape. Once you have it downloaded and installed, browse to your file and open it – being a PDF you will be presented with a dialog asking you to convert it. You need to do a page at a time, so select the page at the top.

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Once you hit OK, it will import it and you can then select the background image and delete it. You’ll note that some of the text is the wrong font & that is because I do not have the right font installed. Often you will have clean up like this, and adding back logos, to do but that is up to you in regards to how much you want to polish it.

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Once done user File –> Save As to save back to a PDF. The biggest pain is that you need to do this page by page and in the end you’ll have numerous files (one for each page), but since the goal is to print it – it isn’t a big pain.

Here is the before and after for another one I did:

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