Darken a PDF for Different Scenarios – Here is the Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Tina Clark

Whether you need to darken a PDF for reading, make a PDF print darker, or adjust the contrast on a PDF, what should you do? Usually, the PDF format only allows for reading and preserves the layout of a page. It means the PDF file format is non-editable. When you come across situations, such as the scanned PDF documents, which are too light to read. You may also find some important PDFs such as a contract, in which text and images are too faint to recognize. To solve the problem, you need to darken PDF files for printing or get them readable. Here are some useful methods to make PDFs darker from the article.

Darken a PDF

Part 1: The Simple Method to Darken a PDF

What is the all-in-one method to darken a PDF, especially for scanned PDF files? When you need to adjust the contrast of a PDF text or make the PDF darker for printing, PDFelement is a versatile PDF editor that enables you to make the text from a PDF readable and printable. Moreover, there are multiple editing features to polish the PDF files with excellent services and easy operation.

1. Extract the text from a PDF with the OCR algorithm and make it darker.

2. Make the background of the PDF file clear to darken a PDF easily.

3. Convert PDF files to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other file formats.

4. Improve the quality of the PDF to make PDF printable and readable.

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How to Make a Dark Background for PDFs

Step 1: Once you have installed PDFelement on your computer, you can right-click the desired PDFs you want to darken with the Open with button. Moreover, you can simply drag-n-drop the scanned PDF you need to adjust into the program.

Open PDF for Conversion PDFElement

Step 2: To darken a PDF file, you can modify the contrast of the PDF background to make the text darker. Go to the Edit from the toolbar and choose the Edit Background option. Just switch to a different background to highlight the text of the PDF file.

Edit PDF before Conversion PDFElement

Note: If you choose the New Background option, add a darker background to your PDF file. You can also replace the original background via the Update Background option.

Step 3: Change the color in the new window and also can select the page range for applying. After setting, please tap on the Save button on the left bottom. If you have made the PDF darker, you need to click the Apply button in the Edit Background window.

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How to Darken Texts of a Light PDF

Step 1: Instead of changing the background color of a PDF, you might need to make the black text of a PDF darker for printing. Go to the File menu and choose the Open button to import the scanned PDF files into the program. You can also get the files from Recent Files.

Import PDF for Text Darken PDFElement

Step 2: Click the Tools menu to check the different options for OCR features. Select the desired part to choose the OCR Area option or simply click the OCR option to extract all the texts of the PDF. After that, select the Scan to editable text option and the language option from the popup box.

Recognize Text with OCR PDFElement

Step 3: Go to the Edit menu and click the recognized texts, you can select the Edit Text option from the drop-down list in the upper-left corner. Right-click on the texts and select the Properties option. After that, you can bold the texts or change the font size to darken the texts of a PDF.

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Part 2: How to Darken a PDF for Reading

Adobe Acrobat is another effective PDF editor, in which you can adjust the contrast of the PDF to darken the file. It provides different color options to make the text of the PDF darker. Moreover, you can also convert the PDF to Word, Excel, and more for a better reading experience.

Step 1: Open a PDF file with Adobe Acrobat. Press both the Ctrl + K keys to open the Preferences dialog box. Remember to set up an image editor on Adobe Acrobat, which enables you to install an extension to darken the PDF file easily.

Step 2: Go to the Categories section and select the Touchup option. Choose the Image Editor option to select your system’s image editor and close all dialog boxes.

Step 3: From the toolbar, select the Tools menu and click the Background option from the Pages option.

Step 4: In the Background option, you can select the Add Background option. You can choose a dark color from the Color option. After that, you can click the OK button to darken the PDF file. Remember to save your file before you exit it.

Darken PDF Adobe Acrobat

Part 3: How to Darken a PDF with Images

When you need to make the text of the PDF darker, Photoshop is more than a versatile photo editor, which allows you to achieve lightening and darkening adjustments. Once you have scanned a document, you can adjust and darken the PDF file before converting the image to PDF for printing.

Step 1: If you have already installed Adobe Photoshop on your computer, open your Photoshop on your computer and click the File from the menu bar at the top. Click the Save As button and rename the file, which enables you to work on the copy of the file.

Step 2: Choose the Shadow/Highlight Adjustment from the Adjustments option, which is an option from the Image menu. Click the Show More Options to expand the dialog box, which adds Tonal Width and Radius to the Shadows and Highlights.

Step 3: Go to the Adjustments menu to adjust the different parameters for the new layer, including Color Correction, Midtone Contrast, Black Clip, and White Clip options. Adjust the Amount slider in the Shadows section to 20% to change the effect of lightning.

Step 4: Move the Shadows Tonal Width slider to the right to adjust the dark areas. Then, move the Radius slider to the right to adjust the area you will affect, which helps you soften some areas of adjustment and darken the PDF text according to your requirement.

Step 5: Slide the Color Correction to fine-tune your color adjustments to the areas changed. Next, increase or decrease the Black and White Clip values. Close the file and delete the file. Open your original file and save it under a different name. You can click the OK button to darken the PDF.

Darken PDF in Photoshop

Part 4: How to Darken a PDF via Printer

If your printer is running low on ink, your prints will be faint, bringing a bad reading experience. The printer density is critical to the appearance of your prints. So you can adjust the printer density to make your prints lighter or darker. Here is the detailed process to darken a PDF via Printer.

Step 1: Click the Start button and select the Settings option above the Power button. You can select the Settings menu and choose the Devices option. On the left side, click the Printers and Scanners option. Click the Manage option in the menu of your printer.

Step 2: Click the Printer Properties option, which provides a dialogue box consisting of many tabs such as General, Ports, Advanced, and so on. You need to switch from the General option to the Device Settings option to change the printer density.

Step 3: There will be an arrowhead with a white dot on the left and a black dot on the right. Move the arrowhead right to increase the density. If you still can’t get the clear texts and images from the PDF, you can also change the ink to darken the PDF.

Print Darker PDF

Part 5: How to Darken Texts of a Scanned PDF Online

Usually, you can increase the contrast of a PDF to make the black text visible for printing. SodaPDF is a versatile online PDF editor to detect the texts from a PDF online and changes fonts, bolds texts, selects colors, and more to darken the texts of a PDF online. Moreover, it also provides OCR features to recognize the texts within a PDF.

Step 1: Go to SodaPDF with any web browser online, you can click the Open button to import the PDF files. Once you have uploaded the desired PDF file, it will detect the text online.

Step 2: Select the Edit button and click the desired text you want to darken. You can choose the Bold icon or change the font size to darken the text of the PDF online. It takes time to edit all the texts.

Step 3: It will apply the changed texts to the PDF automatically. After that, you can click the Print button in the top menu to get the desired PDF or click the Download button to save the file.

Online SodaPDF Bold Texts


When you need to darken a PDF document, you can learn more about the 4 best methods from the article. Whether you need to convert the scanned PDF to PDF, extract the PDF text with the OCR feature, or adjust the background, PDFelement is the versatile method to make the PDF text darker for printing and reading.

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