When I view PDFs in Emacs using DocView, they appear much darker than they should:

Emacs and Preview displaying the same PDF, where the PDF appears much darker in Emacs

I am not sure why this happens -- I haven't changed any settings related to DocView or enabled any minor modes that would cause this. Disabling my current emacs config (by moving .emacs.d) does not resolve this. I am using the mituharu emacs-mac port from this Homebrew formula, but the issue also exists with the build from https://emacsformacosx.com. My .emacs.d is on GitHub here.

I've tried using doc-view-clear-cache and revert-buffer, but neither of these help.

Has anyone encountered a similar issue before? How would I go about resolving this?

UPDATE: This seems to be caused by GhostScript. DocView runs the following command to convert each page of a PDF into a PNG:

gs -dSAFER -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=png16m -dTextAlphaBits=4 -dBATCH -dGraphicsAlphaBits=4 -dQUIET -r100 -sOutputFile=out.png in.pdf

Running this command produces dark gray images like the one I see in Emacs.

1 Answer 1


I've resolved this issue by installing mupdf (brew install mupdf), which caused DocView to use mudraw as the PDF->PNG conversion backend instead of Ghostscript. Running doc-view-clear-cache after installing mupdf fixed the issue.

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