Inverted colors for PDF previews in DTTG

I thought that this was an obvious problem and that it would be fixed in the next DTTG version. However, since the problem still exists for me, I am not sure if this is a general problem.

I am using the latest iOS and as soon as I open a PDF document in DTTG it displays the PDF inverted. That is, black background and white font (other colors are also inverted). If I open the same PDF from DTTG in another program (eg PDF Expert) it is displayed correctly.

Do you use dark mode?

Could you maybe post a screenshot of what you’re seeing?

Oh wow. Never thought about that. Thanks @cgrunenberg @eboehnisch
You were right about the dark mode.

But it still seems like a bug with the inverted colors?!

It’s not a bug. It’s due to DEVONthink honoring the system’s setting.

Disable DEVONthink To Go’s Settings > Documents > Auto dark mode.


Inverted colors within images are part of the “dark mode”? I haven’t experienced this issue on any other macOS or iOS app.

Btw. thanks for the workaround.

No, the image shouldn’t be inverted. But PDF is not a very primitive file format and adjusting the colors of a file format that was never intended to be adjusted on-the-fly can sometimes go wrong. Or does the inverting of colors happen to all images in all your PDFs?

Is it possible to configure DTTG such that text documents can be set to have a dark background but PDF documents display normally? Easily configurable in DT on mac and works great.

Every image in every PDF document is inverted for me when the Use Dark Background setting enabled. Makes using DTTG as a pdf reader a non-starter in dark mode.

With the setting disabled, all documents, text included, are presented in eye scorching white.

Two bad options.

I don’t have the setting Settings > Documents > Auto dark mode mentioned above. Running DTTG 3.1

We have no plans to split up dark mode for documents for different document types. But we will let the makers of the PDF library know as they provide the dark mode for PDFs.

In DEVONthink To Go 3.1, it’s Use dark background.

Actually prefer old set up that dark mode setting resulted in dark for markdown and PDF in light. Still ok with both md and PDF in dark on DTTG v3.1 but prefer previous setting.

Btw DTTG v3.1 has a bug that inbox and tags all alight to left messing up icon. See attached screenshot on iPad Pro.

Btw DTTG v3.1 has a bug that inbox and tags all alight to left messing up icon. See attached screenshot on iPad Pro.

First report I’ve seen.

  • Does this persist after quitting and relaunching DEVONthink To Go?
  • How about after rebooting the device,

Rebooting fixed the problem.

Glad to hear it. Thanks!

I’m still getting the inverted colours for images in PDFs with “use dark background” enabled. It’s quite ghastly… any plans for a fix?

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This is the expected result when using the dark background.
The only option is to disable the dark background.
The other potential option would be to ignore dark mode for all PDFs but Development would have to assess that.

A bit more background info: We talked to the developers of the PDF engine and they are aware of the problem. However, as a PDF was never intended to be inverted it’s extremely hard and unreliable to determine which images should be inverted and which should not. Therefore they opted for inverting all images.


I have had the same ‘yuck’ reaction to inverted PDFs. I can see the dilemma, but to me pdfs fit into a different category than ordinary text, much like images. There’s no situation where I would want inverted images in a photo app, and I believe it should be a similar thing for pdfs, they are composed as pdfs to be wysiwyg. I can make only one suggestion, an annotation option to change the background color. In this case to alleviate the ‘eye scorching white’ that prompted dark mode in the first place, I could then simply make the bg a light or med grey. I think this would hit all the right buttons. Seems also easy for the pdf guys. What do you think?

PDF IS based on PostScript which is a programming language (albeit a peculiar one). Basically, all commands in a PS file generate graphics. So how exactly would one determine what to invert and what not?
You can never know for certain if something is an image (defined by what criteria, exactly?) and what isn’t.

PS/PDF were developed to leave (originally only) black dots on white paper. No one thought of PDF on screen until the NeXT, and even then it was black on white. As every print person knows, using white font on a black background is a challenge. As, apparently, is inverting a PDF so that all expectations are met.

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As a temporary work around for those that can’t bring themselves to switch off dark mode, when viewing PDF’s (or anything for that matter) you can use (on iPhone or iPad) Settings> Accessibility> Display & Text Size> and switch on Smart Invert - which will invert everything, including your PDF’s and the images embedded within, from negatives to as you normally view them.

Further, if this is something you may want to use regularly, you can quickly enable and disable smart invert by turning on Settings> Accessibility> Accessibility Shortcut and select Smart Invert - then all you have to do is triple click your home button / top button (depending on iOS device) to switch Smart Invert off and on again. I have this set up for late night reading, where white webpages cause a bright screen and start my wife complaining!

I appreciate this may not be the solution you ultimately want, but it’s either this or switch off dark mode - your call.