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Converting Objects to Grayscale in Illustrator

Illustrator CS3 IconA few weeks back I needed to convert some objects in Illustrator CS3 to grayscale, and it took me a while to figure out how to make it happen. Today the issue came up again at work with a co-worker and after I learned she had searched Google without finding an answer, I thought I would post and maybe it would help someone else out.

After initially searching Google for a bit, I noticed everyone was suggesting that the whole document color mode be changed from CMYK or RGB to grayscale, but I only wanted to change a few objects. The solution, which I believe is only in Illustrator CS3, is to select the object or groups on the artboard you want to convert, then under the "Edit" menu choose "Edit Colors" then "Convert to Grayscale". Simple, yes, but hidden in the menus in a very unintuitive spot.

One thing you should be aware of, however, is that doing this removes all the color information from that object/group. This means that any CMYK values will no longer be present. You can, however, always undo the action immediately after converting.

©uB3 said,

July 3, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

Thanks so much. This is the second time iv’e had to do this. Helped a bunch.

Adobe needs to fix the new color picker. Not fun to use, but i can see how its handy.

Thanks again.

Bre said,

July 12, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

Thanks so much! the convert to grayscale is ridiculously hidden!

jbplayer60 said,

July 23, 2007 @ 10:55 am

Thanks, This used to be under the Filter>Colors menu in CS2, but with the advent of Live Color this is the attempt to integrate this into the Live Color rationale. There should really be these edit colors options in the Live Color dialogue box.

Not to mention an undo feature in the dialogue. It is easy to make a boo-boo in there and then you have to cancel and start all over. Not too awesome.

On a side note, I was pretty disoriented when they took Hatch Effects away in CS1. I actually copied the plug in into the CS2 plug in folder. But that doesn’t fly for CS3, it doesn’t load. Scribble is the new Hatch Effects, it is actually a lot better so I am happy with that change.

Nick said,

August 28, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

Thanks for the tip! Finding your page made that process much easier :)

Todd said,

September 7, 2007 @ 10:26 am

Thanks for the tip. This isn’t something they teach you to do in the tutorials.

LaDonna said,

December 22, 2007 @ 9:21 am

Thanks for putting this out there. I’ve used it before and just couldn’t find it in the menus this time.

Fred said,

April 10, 2008 @ 4:53 am

Another thankful soul here. Spent some time trying to follow Adobes logic in Illustrator, then went on google-hunt. :)

Dick said,

July 21, 2008 @ 2:38 am


Ran into the same “problem” …
Thanks so much for the tip!!



Cathie said,

August 6, 2008 @ 9:08 am

Yet another grateful designer wanting to say thanks for ending my 30 minute struggle to do something so simple.



Reid Walley said,

September 10, 2008 @ 11:05 am

Dude! That was amazingly EASY!
Thanks a ton for the tip,
Reid Walley

Kristen said,

October 8, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

Wow! That was so much easier than I thought! Thank you so much for the tip! Too bad I didn’t find this last week :P You are a life saver!


Hugh said,

November 3, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

Cool! I found you in google. Thanks!

Amanda said,

December 10, 2008 @ 8:46 am

that was ridiculously easy…make me feel silly! thanks for your help!

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