Screen shot of PDF below. Do not ask me to manually change the gray color in each heading and subheading individually — too much time and work! I hanker change to #4DFFFF — CMYK = 70, 0, 0, 0.

I am computer illiterate. I hanker simplest solution. I know no programming or computer science.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Not sure how to change anything if you are "computer illiterate" and won't entertain solutions which are more program/script based. It's kind of like asking how to repair an engine while not wanting to use any tools.
    – Scott
    Dec 18, 2021 at 23:01
  • @Scott Adobe Acrobat doesn't have internal tools to accomplish this???
    – user170795
    Dec 18, 2021 at 23:19
  • 1
    Yes, but they are not exactly user friendly and lacking in some respects. I do last minute edits to print PDFs and I rely on the plugin PitStop Pro (quite expensive). But it's never easy - it is an "emergency solution". Especially when PDFs come from different sources there can be many annoyances. If you had the original design files (InDesign?), it would just be a few clicks. The thing you are trying to do isn't really for a "computer illiterate". I believe you've asked many similar questions under another name and you seem to do stuff like this a lot. Is it for print production?
    – Wolff
    Dec 19, 2021 at 0:06
  • Question isn't tagged for Acrobat and reading it.. the assumption was Acrobat (via an Adobe subscription) wasn't an option.
    – Scott
    Dec 19, 2021 at 0:21
  • Acrobat (but not reader) could do this with preflight profiles. Which as mentioned are really cryptic. Last time i had to do thiskind of stuff with ir it took me a half a day. And i am not computer illiterate.
    – joojaa
    Dec 19, 2021 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


Acrobat Pro has the Print Production tools. If these items are the only graphic elements with that color, you could create a Profile which does the changes.

Otherwise, see the comment by @Wolff, recommending PitStop Pro.

Hope this can help.

  • thanks. can you pls elaborate "you could create a Profile which does the changes"? show the steps pls?
    – user170795
    Dec 19, 2021 at 19:42
  • This is the terminology used in the Preflight tool of the Print Production toolset. Because this tool requires you to know a bit what you are doing, it is better you get into it yourself. And for detailed steps, there is not enough information.
    – Max Wyss
    Dec 20, 2021 at 22:56

I guess you do not have the original layout file nor any high cost PDF surgery tools like the already mentioned Pitstop, you have only a CMYK color PDF - the same as the linked version. If you have a 1000 page book or there are also other colors than white, grey and black, this receipe is probably useless.

You can place your PDF to an Indesign document which has a white background rectangle in every page(=not an empty page) and on the top there's the wanted color rectangle with blending mode Overlay; that's one of the transparency effects. It colorizes all grey, but leaves black and white. To make the colorization happen in Indesign the transparency flattening color space should be changed RGB. Use high resolution flattening option. Do not expect an exact color with misused color modes, you must adjust it for right final result.

An example of the result:

enter image description here

You must layer the colored shape page by page. A script writing guru might find how to program it. I skip it. The white background can be on a master page. The colored rectangle maybe could be placed on top for ex. by placing a full length document which has nothing, but the colored rectangle on every page, got from a master page (not tried).

Use Adobe PDF printer to get the transparency flattened as wanted. Exporting as interactive PDF (=RGB, for screen only) from Indesign left for me an unflattened PDF where the edges (=anti-aliasing zones) of all black shapes were also colorized in PDF viewer. It fortunately was possible to be fixed by flattening the transparency in Acrobat Pro.

My harms can be caused by using legacy versions of Adobe stuff. Modern Indesign can have things differently.

If you cannot use Indesign + Acrobat Pro the case becomes much trickier, but not impossible. Many programs can open PDFs for edits, but to avoid font pirating lawsuits the fonts of the texts are either substituted or outlined (=changed to same looking curves). The job was possible at least in Serif Affinity Publisher.

Drawing programs can be used, too but they allow to load only one page at a time, which is tiresome.

Simply recoloring the grey shapes in a drawing program or Affinity Publisher is complex because there are tricky multilevel groupings. It causes you cannot select shapes by color. You can select items one by one, but that's what you wanted to avoid.

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