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I changed the background colour of my pdf through:

Document Setup -> changing color under "transparency" (grid color) -> checking "Simulate Colored Paper"

This changes the background in Illustrator as it should. The problem is: if I save the file as a pdf, the background if my pdf is white again :-(

Any idea how to solve this problem? Many thanks in advance!

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

As it should. If you'd end up with a coloured background in the *.pdf and printed it on the coloured paper, the coloured paper would get a coloured background printed on it, for twice the colour value.

Changing your backgrond colour is as easy as drawing a large rectangle behind your work in the correct colour and, preferably, locking it.

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