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How do I save a background color in word to pdf?

When working with documents in Microsoft Word, you may want to customize the background color for aesthetic purposes or to make certain text stand out. However, if you need to convert the Word document to a PDF, the background color may not always carry over by default. There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure the background color is preserved when converting to PDF.

Change Background Color in Word Document

To start, open the Word document and select the text or area you want to change the background color for. Then go to the “Home” tab and click the arrow next to the highlight color button. This will open up a palette of color options. Select the color you want to use.

Alternatively, you can open the “Font” dialog box by going to the “Home” tab and clicking the “Font” button. Go to the “Highlight” tab in the “Font” dialog box and select the desired background color.

Methods to Save Background Color in PDF Conversion

Here are a few methods you can use to make sure the background color stays the same when converting your Word document to a PDF:

Use Word’s Built-In PDF Conversion Tool

The easiest way is to use Word’s own export to PDF tool. Just go to File > Export > Create PDF/XPS Document. This will open the “Publish as PDF or XPS” dialog box.

In the options, make sure to check the box next to “Preserve fidelity when sharing this document” under the Options heading. This will tell Word to save the original document formatting, including background colors, into the PDF.

Print Word Document Using PDF Printer

Another option is to print the Word document to a PDF printer driver. This converts the Word doc to a PDF while retaining all original formatting.

To do this, go to File > Print in Word. Then under printers, select a PDF printer option such as Microsoft Print to PDF or Adobe PDF. Click Print and this will generate a new PDF with the background colors saved.

Use Third-Party PDF Converter Tools

There are various third-party PDF conversion tools you can use to reliably preserve background colors from Word documents. Some good options include:

– Adobe Acrobat Pro – Has a Word to PDF converter that keeps document formatting intact.

– PDFelement – PDFelement’s Word to PDF converter maintains original background colors and styles.

– Nitro Pro – Nitro Pro’s batch Word to PDF conversion retains background colors.

– Soda PDF – Soda PDF Online’s Word to PDF converter preserves background colors.

These premium tools provide more customization options and reliably convert Word documents without losing background color formatting.

Tips for Background Colors in PDFs

Here are some additional tips for working with background colors in PDF documents:

Use High Contrast Colors

Make sure to use an appropriate contrast between the text color and background color. If they are too similar, the text may be difficult to read. Light text on dark backgrounds usually offers the best contrast.

Test Before Finalizing

Preview the converted PDF to verify that the background color displays correctly before finalizing or sharing the document. This allows you to catch any issues before sending out the PDF.

Check Color Mode

Some PDF viewers may have difficulties displaying background colors if the PDF’s color mode is set to grayscale or black and white. Make sure to save the PDF with color mode set to RGB for best results.

Simplify Design

Avoid using too many different background colors throughout the document. Stick to one or two key colors for highlights to keep the design clean and professional. Too many colors can look cluttered.

Consider Accessibility

When adding background colors, ensure the contrast is sufficient for readers with visual impairments or color blindness. Verifying web accessibility standards helps make your PDF more universally usable.

Troubleshooting Background Color Issues in PDFs

If you followed the steps to save background colors but are still having issues, here are some troubleshooting tips:

Verify Color Settings in Word

Check that the background color is actually showing correctly within the original Word document before converting to PDF. Also confirm text colors have sufficient contrast.

Adjust Conversion Settings

If using Word’s built-in PDF export, experiment with different “Optimize for” and “Print quality” settings in the PDF converter options to see if that improves color rendering.

Update Printer Driver and Software

An outdated PDF printer driver or Word software version may cause color issues. Ensure you have the latest updates installed.

Test on Different Devices

The PDF background colors may display incorrectly on certain devices or in older PDF viewers. Check how the PDF appears on different computers and apps.

Fix Corrupt Word Documents

Corrupted Word files may fail to convert properly to PDF. Try restoring earlier versions or recreating the Word document if background colors don’t come through.

Contact Creator App Vendors

For persistent issues, you may need to contact Microsoft or the vendors behind your PDF printer, converter, and reader apps to report bugs with color rendering.


Adding custom background colors can be a useful way to make parts of your Word document stand out. Thankfully, there are straightforward methods to ensure the background colors transfer over when converting to PDF – including using Word’s built-in PDF export tool.

Follow best practices like picking high contrast colors, simplifying design, and testing before finalizing the PDF. Troubleshoot issues by verifying color settings, adjusting conversion options, updating software, and contacting vendor support if needed. With the right approach, you can easily save background colors to enhance PDF documents.