A color scheme for pdf output

While working on a TeX document I split the screen into two parts, an editor on the left, and the pdf on the right. I also use a dark color scheme for my desktop. The contrast between a dark colored editor window on the left, and a bright pdf preview window on the right becomes harsh on the eyes after a while. So I decided to have the same color scheme for the pdf as the rest of my desktop.

My ~/.Xdefault looks like this

*background:  #333333
*foreground:  #AAAAAA

and I wanted pdf to follow the same scheme. So, I first define these colors in ConTeXt

\definecolor[dullwhite][r=0.625, g=0.625, b=0.625]

and then use them as the foreground color and background color


The result is a pleasing (to me) and consistent color scheme.


This is good for screen reading but not for printing. So, I wrap the whole thing around a start-stop mode.

\definecolor[dullwhite][r=0.625, g=0.625, b=0.625]


Now, when I need to preview on screen I can run

texexec --mode=screen filename

and when I need to print I can leave the --mode=... part off.


4 thoughts on “A color scheme for pdf output

  1. That’s interesting. I also change my color scheme when viewing, but I use another approach: an xpdf commandline option. (I use black letters on grey background – both in emacs and in xpdf.) I believe this is a “cleaner” (and easier) way.

    BTW, what editor do you use?

    • Thanks…I can get almost the same affect using xpdf -rv -papercolor "#333333". So, I will set the appropriate X resources. The biggest advantage of this approach is that it also works for pdfs downloaded from the net.

      I use vim as my editor.

    • 🙂 Only when I am sitting in direct sunlight, this scheme is hard to read. In normal office lighting, I find it very unobtrusive.

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