Pin Me

Going Gray: Converting InDesign Documents to Grayscale

written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/13/2010

Adobe InDesign can export layouts for newspaper mechanicals and other jobs requiring grayscale, although the approach to doing so is different from that used in QuarkXpress. The following instructions describe how to convert InDesign documents to grayscale.

  • slide 1 of 3

    Convert InDesign to Grayscale via PostScript and Adobe Distiller

    The first method to convert color InDesign layouts to grayscale requires the user to export the document to a PostScript file. InDesign offers users the option to save the PostScript file as grayscale as part of the export process. With just a few simple steps you will have your layout in grayscale format.

    Export a postscript file


    1. From within InDesign, click on “File" and then “Export" (or press <CTR>+E). Enter your file name and then select “EPS" in the “Save as Type" dialog.inDesignGSsaveAsEPS

    2. From the EPS export options box, select “Gray" from the “Color" options and then click the “Export" button. Jobs with multiple pages will have each file exported separately with the file name appended with the page number.indesignEPSexport02 

    Open your exported EPS file(s) in Adobe Distiller.

    1. Open Adobe Distiller.

    2. Within Distiller, click “File" and then select “Open".

    3. Using the file type combo box, select “EPS files".distillerFile Open01  4. Browse to select your file and then click the “Open" button.

    5. Distiller runs your job and saves it as a PDF file in the folder listed in the window. distillerFile Processed01 

    6. Your layout is now available in a grayscale PDF

    acrobat indesignDoc001 

  • slide 2 of 3

    Color2Gray for Adobe InDesign

    Color2Gray is a free plugin that enables users to place color TIFF and JPEG images into InDesign layouts in grayscale format. The plugin does not modify the original files so they can be used again in color layouts. This tool provides a method to create grayscale productions without taking the additional steps outlined in the above procedure. While the utility handles bitmap images quite well, users should not expect it to work on vector images and Photoshop files.

    The Color2Gray plugin tool works in both the Windows and Macintosh versions of Adobe InDesign versions CS through CS4. This utility is produced by Rorohiko Workflow Resources and is available for download by visiting their Web site at

  • slide 3 of 3

    Converting Color InDesign Layouts to Grayscale Using Adobe Acrobat

    Another alternative for converting InDesign jobs from color to grayscale is through the use of Acrobat. This can be done in a few easy steps. Note that this procedure can be used to convert any PDF file to grayscale.

    Create PDF File

    1. With your file open in Adobe InDesign, click “File" and then “Export". Select “Adobe PDF".

    2. Click the “Save" button.

    3. Select any desired options from the “Export PDF" window and then click the “Export" button.

    Open the exported PDF in Adobe Acrobat

    Open the exported PDF in Adobe Acrobat

    1. On the Adobe Acrobat menu bar, click “Advanced", then “Print Production" and then “Preflight"

    2. In the Preflight window, expand the "PDF Fixups" option and select "Convert to Grayscale"

    3. Click the “Analyze and Fix" button.

    4. In the “Save As" dialog window, enter a name for the converted file.

    5. Click the "Save" button. Your file is now saved in grayscale format.