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Black on White PDF's

Black on White PDF's

Black on White PDF's


At the company I work for, PDF's are now auto-generated into TC with color, during the release process.

This is to support color coded schematics and wires diagrams however, non-color coded drawings are still required to be black-on-white.

As a result, all the non-color coded drawings need their colors changed manually, which is a real pain in the neck.

This is the suggested process to my colleagues:
1. Make all the appropriate layers "Selectable"(drawing format layers, layers with dimensions, symbols, notes etc.)
2. View toolbar (Visualization group) -> Edit Object Display
3. Class Selection dialog (Filters group) -> Type Filter
4. Select by Type dialog -> de-select any filter type that will change model geometry (face, solid body, component, routing object etc.) -> OK
5. Class Selection dialog (Object group) -> Select All -> OK
6. Edit Object Display dialog (Basic group) -> Color
7. Choose Black (ID 216) -> OK -> OK

This works but, not only is this a ridiculous amount of clicks, it doesn't seem to work for Break View objects and sometimes drafting sketches, which have to be done separately.
And the worst part is, this has to be repeated on every sheet!

QUESTION: is there a better way?

I recorded a nice macro that would do the trick for 2 or 3 sheets but, since some of our drawings are 20+ sheets, I thought I should make a macro for up to 25 sheets, but then it failed.
I probably made an error during the recording and will try again, but even then, all the Break Views had to be done separately...

Thanks in Advance (TIA),

RE: Black on White PDF's

Sean O,

This sounds like a software question, rather than one about Drafting Standards, GD&T & Tolerance Analysis. You should post this in your software forum.


RE: Black on White PDF's

I would see about setting up to initially output to Postscript, then editing the .ps file color assignments to be monochrome. Doing this is pretty easy to script/program.

This is like Adobe distiller used to be where there was a folder to save the file to and software looked for new files, which the Distiller would then convert and move to an output folder.

It's a hard problem with CAD files because most color conversion is intended to keep the shading/value, so lighter colors tend to become nearly invisible. Most of the convertors are expecting to take color continuous tone images (photos) and keep them legible rather than forcing them to a solid block of black, where CAD drawings are expecting to push all line work to be black, even if they were pale to begin with.

It's also possible that the software you are using to create the PDFs to begin with have a color-conversion table to remap the original/screen colors to alternate ones for output. For that you should ask in the related forum.

RE: Black on White PDF's


As I mentioned, that will change color to grey-scale, not B&W. There is a bunch of comment on this in the Adobe forums. Adobe Reader used to have an option to print all colors as black, but I think it has been removed. Adobe Acrobat Pro has some pre-flight tools, but I think they also generate greyscale and not black and white. Some printer drivers offer this as well, but that won't create a new PDF. It may be possible using Ghostscript, but I've not had great fidelity in extracting PDF info because PDF simplifies curves. I'm sure the output could be opened and edited in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop, but that's more effort than most are looking for.


Not for PTC Creo (Pro/Engineer) which has always had the most convoluted relationship with drawings and printing imaginable. For example, colors are assigned by name to entities, but can be overridden with specific settings for color or widths or patterns, but those will be overridden by another setting if an attempt is made to set the defaults for all the other entities. But then there's an underlying set of defaults that doesn't conform to the other two methods.

So, low level default - width in increments of .005 inch, so a setting of 1 =.005. But then you can set the entity width to 1 which (when using inch units) is 1 inch. But then the name of the color of the entity can have it's own width that will override the user-specified line width.

And this is the simplified version which doesn't describe the relationship with PDF exports, which sort of follows this, but not the same as other outputs.

RE: Black on White PDF's

It's extremely simple to get PTC software to output all black, do it all the time. You just need to create a file anachronistically called a pen table file and assign all the "pens" to black with appropriate widths. We ALWAYS print to a .ps file using the generic postscript driver and then drop the file into distiller. We have it fully automated, just one mapkey, works every time. Much better than letting a bunch of people interact with a GUI and screw it up half the time. Exporting PDF directly from PTC software is always hit or miss, they completely F*** it up with every release.


The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

RE: Black on White PDF's

Is "TC" meant to be Teamcenter or something else?

If you mean Teamcenter, you will get a lot better response in the Siemens NX/TC forum than here. Best people in here can do is guess - and many, if not most, people that frequent this section may not even use NX.

RE: Black on White PDF's

From the original posting, I think he is using NX with TeamCenter, not Creo. The terminology of his work sequences, especially the make layers Selectable, points to NX being the CAD system in use.

There should also be the option in the NX printing dialog to set all pens to black, just like we have in Creo.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Black on White PDF's

Sorry guys, wrong forum - this is meant for the Siemens NX CAD group.

Thank for all your inputs anyway!

RE: Black on White PDF's

As I said, if you use the pen table in Creo, it overrides any directly set line widths. So, not so easy.

RE: Black on White PDF's

Agree, setting line widths on PTC objects is a complete waste of time but it looks like we've taken this off topic.


The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

RE: Black on White PDF's

I would export to a true 1-bit format such as CCITT IV Compressed TIF, then export the TIF to PDF if PDF is a strict requirement.

I avoid PDF as a drawing archive format. Too many bugs and variations between what I intend to print and how the PDF appears. Not WYSIWYG at all.

RE: Black on White PDF's

We archive postscript. Seems very robust and in a pinch you can edit it.


The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

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