Word 2003: White background prints as gray

May 4, 2008

Have you inserted a graphic into Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, then noticed that its white background prints as a very light gray? This is a known issue with Microsoft Office products when the graphic’s format is PNG or BMP (KB 908021).


  1. Open the graphic in a graphics editor, then save it as one of these formats: GIF, JPG, or TIF.
  2. Reinsert the graphic into the document and the light grey should be gone the next time you print.

[This article was first published in the September 2006 CyberText Newsletter; added Microsoft KB reference, 21 August 2008]


  1. A thing not mentioned here:
    You have to save the image as RGB for some strange Word reason. I had the same jpg in cmyk and rgb. As cmyk it printet white as light grey. Go figure…
    This is why I hate word ;) Nothing is simple really.

  2. […] much frustration and further ‘googling’ I found this article that solved the problem in question. All that was needed was to change the color mode […]

  3. Hi.
    The same problem occurs while playing imported movies in windows powerpoint. Ive tried .wmv and .avi but my white backgrounds turns light gray. Any tips on solving this?

  4. I changed to RBG and it still shows a gray background on .jpgs. with a white background, this is also happening in CorelDraw which didn’t have that issue before.

  5. Same here was working fine printed a heap off then bang grey background with a jpg srgb colorspace.

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