I imported an external PDF with a white background and black font into my InDesign-document (still CS6). Is there a possibility to change the white color of the background into another color (such that it matches the surrounding area)? If yes, how?

  • place the PDF as usually
  • draw a colored rectangle or other shape over the placed PDF. Select the shape.
  • goto Object > Effects > Transparency
  • select blending mode = darken.

See an example:

enter image description here

This works only for black on white. You must separate colored images, but that can be done in Photoshop. As written in the comments for earlier answers, your PDF is a scanned one, so actually it's a photo.


It would be useful to have few more details. Have the elements been preserved as vectors inside the PDF or are the pages flattened?

If your case is the first one, I recommend creating a master page with the background that you would like to apply, apply it to the pages, and then delete the existing white background from the pages of the document.

When creating the master, make sure to place the new background in a new layer sitting under the elements.

  • I'm not sure I'm understanding you right, but I do believe you're saying the answer is no (which is true, as far as I know). Deleting the existing white background would have to be done in Acrobat or some other PDF editor, not InDesign. May 20 '17 at 20:33
  • The PDF is flattened, and from a scanner, sent to me via mail. Thus my options with it are limited.
    – arc_lupus
    May 21 '17 at 12:55
  • If you think changing the background is important enough for you to invest the time on it, I recommend you rebuild the document.
    – ale7780s
    May 21 '17 at 12:58
  • @ale7780s: As I said, I got it from a scanner, thus I can not rebuild it.
    – arc_lupus
    May 21 '17 at 13:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.