I’m sure there are many designers out there that are often asked to create a black and white or grayscale version PDF of an existing document. The difficult client on the other end of the phone is fussy and needs the document in grayscale pronto so they can also run the ad in the local newspaper. Before CS6, InDesign did not know what grayscale color is. A grayscale image is a duotone image that substitutes a color for black and another color for white or a negative space. You could import a grayscale image or document into CS1-CS5.5 but those older versions of InDesign don’t have the option of exporting or converting to grayscale. A number of clever hacks or work around is required in order to convert documents from color to grayscale such as creating a copy of the document, dropping in grayscale images, stripping out the colors and replace with tints
of black, carefully balancing them as needed; or saving
as color, exporting to Acrobat and converting there. But this can be a nightmare, especially if you have hundreds of pages to convert.
In earlier versions of InDesign, you could run the image through InDesign’s transparency flattener, set the image opacity to 99.9% in the transparency palette and output to a flattened format. Since the remaining .1% of the image not detectable, this allowed InDesign to convert the image to grayscale without sacrificing the quality of the image. However, simply stripping off the color information often yields results that are very low in contrast with poor quality imagery.
Another option is to create the document in InDesign then export the file to Photoshop to convert. In Photoshop, the user can save the document in a format that supports grayscale mode—a TIFF, JPEG, or PNG However, this involves the user to purchase a second piece of software.
InDesign users could also print to a grayscale printer but this often results less control and a substantial loss of quality. Other solutions include exporting the EPS and then distilling, using 3rd party software etc.… The list of work arounds is endless but they all take time or result in a loss of quality.
Designers and publishers really needed an efficient way to convert from color to grayscale when the client changes their mind. In CS6, you can preview a color layout in Gray scale on the screen, and then export to a gray scale PDF right from InDesign. All page items, irrespective of their original color space, are converted to grayscale while exporting to PDF. The digital publication remains full color, and you can avoid maintaining separate layouts for grayscale and color outputs. To convert to grayscale:
- Select File > Export and select Adobe PDF (Print).
- In the export options dialog box, click the Output tab.
- Under Color Conversion, choose Convert To Destination.
- Under Destination, choose a Dot Gain or Gray Gamma destination.
Editing photos and images in InDesign is easier and faster than working in Photoshop, and it offers more flexibility and freedom for experimentation and adjustment so the introduction of the grayscale feature in InDesign CS6 is a welcome addition.