Is there any way of converting a illustrator file with text and logos to one only. As I'm working for a client that only wants to print with one-color?

3 Answers 3


With Illustrator CS4 or greater it's pretty easy.

Select all the artwork.

Choose Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork


If the artwork contains black which you want to alter as well..... Click the little pref icon next to the "Preset" drop down menu. This will bring up the Color Reduction Options dialog.

  • choose 1 from the colors drop down
  • uncheck the "Black" item under "preserve"
  • if "Grays" is checked, you'll want to uncheck that as well.

with black

Then Proceed to #3 below.


If the artwork does NOT contain any black, simply choose 1 under the color drop down in the middle of the dialog window. Then proceed to #3 below.



Then double-click the little box under where it reads "New"


The Color picker will pop up... choose the color you want (you can use the basic color dialog or you can pick a swatch if you have a Pantone Swatch you want to use. Add the Pantone Color to the swatches before you start all this though.) Then hit Okay.

  • Will this work with Bitmap images from Photoshop?
    – Josh
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 1:04
  • 1
    No. One color bitmap images will need to be individually clicked and then a color chosen. Multi color raster images placed in Illustrator will need to be edited in a raster editing application such as Photoshop.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 1:12
  • how do you convert a bitmap image to one color in Photoshop?
    – Josh
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 1:41
  • @Josh if you have a question, you should post it as a question. Image > Mode > Greyscale creates 1 color images in Photoshop. If you need spot colors, the processes is more involved.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 2:31

Since you say "print"...

The general rule I've found among providers who print single color (single plate, single silk screen, whatever) is that they prefer the artwork itself in black with a specification as to the desired color (usually a Pantone number).

There may be exceptions to this, but I've not run across any. You or your client should ask the print provider for guidance on how they prefer the work set up.

You can very quickly convert to "black plate only" in Acrobat, of course, but Scott's approach will work nicely inside AI.

  • Makes it difficult to preview though. I've never had any issues working with spot colours in Illustrator and giving that to the printer. And if you import to Indesign the spots used will be appended to the ID palette. In PDF output, the objects will be described as a % of the spot colour.
    – e100
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 13:01
  • That is true, but very often providers ask for black specifically or express it as a preference, especially for screen printing. Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 22:50
  • @AlanGilbertson How do you convert to "Black Plate Only?
    – Josh
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 3:48
  • In Acrobat, open the dialog Tools > Print Production > Convert Colors there is a checkbox under "Output Intent" labeled "Convert Colors to Output Intent." Choosing the appropriate Dot Gain profile will create a PDF with a black plate only. Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 17:45
  • @AlanGilbertson It shows Dot Gain Profile 10%, 20%, 30%. Which one should I choose?
    – Josh
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 3:23

This is supplementary info, but there's a bit you have to know about printing before you convert the artwork.

It sounds like you want your printers print a one colour job, i.e. use a single, pre-mixed green "spot colour" ink, rather than printing green tones with the normal CMYK process (cyan, magenta, yellow, black).

You need to specify exactly what green you want the printers to use. The normal way of doing this in most of the world is to choose a colour from the Pantone colour matching system. Can the client tell you the Pantone reference they normally use for this green? If they have a style guide, it should be in there.

If you need to pick the colour, all Adobe software will allow you to choose Pantone colours from a palette, but given you are dealing with ink, the reliable way of doing this is taking a look at a printed Pantone sample book. These are expensive, so unless you need to do this a lot, you'll probably want to borrow one, take a look at one when you meet your print rep etc.

(Just checking, there wasn't already a "what is a Pantone colour" question. So I've used this as the basis of one: What is a spot/Pantone colour?).

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