I'm trying to send a file for a label as a PDF and the text is white. Is there a way that I can make the art board transparent so that she can see it without me saving it for web?

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    I quickly skimmed the answers and I don't think any of them mentioned that by default the white background you see in the artboard is just the way AI (and Indesign and Acrobat) choose to show you the document. So unless you specifically create a white background beneath the artwork, the white background you see is not part of the artwork, it's just a background color for convenience sake. In all of these apps you can turn on the Transparency Grid, which basically allows you to see if what you see is really transparent or not. – Joonas Mar 20 '18 at 8:02
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    Most people won't be designing stuff with the transparency grid on the whole time. it would be very distracting. The white background works way better. Also when you are looking at.. let's say a text document in Acrobat, it would be pretty difficult to read the text with the transparency grid on. It's there if you need it, but the default is the white background. So... There likely is no background in the pdf even though it looks like it at first glance. — Obviously, if you export the image in a format that doesn't support transparency, then it will absolutely have a background color. – Joonas Mar 20 '18 at 8:02

The proper way to send a single color file for reproduction is to send black artwork. Then the printer will put white ink on the press. You don't need to send white artwork. For commercial printing white equals not there or invisible.

If you really, really, really want to send white artwork, then send a negative of the artwork. That is, add a black background. That will allow the print provider to merely create a reverse and use that for production.

Talk to the print provider. Chances are very high you don't need white artwork.

In either case, for commercial printing, PDFs never need to have a transparent background.

  • Thanks that what I normally would do but the client wants to upload it to a printing website that uses pdfs and a "logo maker". I guess I will send it to her and provide instructions... – Kelsey Torrance Cassidy Mar 19 '18 at 19:58

If your client is using Acrobat Reader to preview the image, she can click Edit > Preferences > Page Display, and select the option to show the transparency grid.

As far as printing in white is concerned, are you absolutely sure about that? Have you discussed this with your printer? Most printing processes do not involve printing in white ink.

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Since version 1.4, PDFs support transparency. The white background is usually added automatically by the application that you use to view the document, not by the one that was used to create it.

For example, in Acrobat settings do Cmd+K > Page display > Transparency grid to see a transparency grid similar to Photoshop's.

You can open the documentin Photoshop to confirm that the background should really be transparent.


No you can't that's not how PDFs work. Additionally printers can't print white unless you are printing on an offset or sheet-fed set-up.

So if you background isn't a color the white will not show up at all.

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