Nine reasons to preflight

The Ghent Workgroup (GWG) has published an interesting poster:

On the front page the GWG is presented. On the back nine reasons to preflight are listed (compiled by belgian VIGC). Each topic is illustrated with an eample.

This page can be used to check how certain PDF definitions are displayed in different viewers (Acrobat/Reader, Apple Preview, etc.) and output devices (printer, proofer, imagesetter).

In addition one should check this PDF with a preflight tool in order to also detect the problems which are not visible. For this the preflight profiles GWG2012 or GWG2015 (part of Acrobat DC Pro, Callas pdfToolbox, Enfocus PitStop Pro) and of course the preflight profiles for Acrobat Pro from PDFX-ready are highly recommended.

Is JPEG2000 compression suitable
for PDF files for prepress?

For the new Adobe InDesign export settings V2.5 for PDF/X-4 CMYK+RGB from PDFX-ready the technical committee of PDFX-ready has investigated if a change of the compression method from the traditional JPEG to the newer JPEG2000 would be useful.

JPEG2000 uses a completely different compression technology (wavelet transformation) than the old JPEG (discrete cosine transformation). The new technology promises a better quality together with smaller file sizes. JPEG2000 also allows images with more than 8 bits per channel and up to 256 channels. That sounds promising…

We already knew from tests of the Ghent Workgroup that not all PDF viewers (especially on mobile devices) can handle PDFs with JPEG2000. With other PDF viewers (including Acrobat/Reader) displaying JPEG2000 images is much slower than JPEG images.

But after all we wanted to know if we could recommend JPEG2000 compression for prepress data. That’s why we decided to perform a series of practical tests with a calendar with highres images in different color spaces (Device-CMYK, ICC-CMYK, ICC-RGB). Peter Kleinheider has done the output tests with two different RIPs and I did the export tests with Adobe InDesign CC2017.

When comparing the test results we noticed some unexpected surprises!

Weiterlesen / Read more …

Review of PDF Days Europe 2017
in Berlin

On May 15th to 17th PDF Days Europe, organized by the PDF Association, took placed again in Berlin. The event, organized for the first time as PDF Technical Conference in 2012 in Basel with less than 60 attendees (mostly developers), was attentended by more than 200 vendors and users this year.  

This year the upcoming publication of PDF 2.0 (ISO 32000-2) and a (somewhat vague) preview of next-generation PDF, which is supposed to allow a better use of PDF on mobile devices, were the primary focus of the event. The concept became clearer only at the Hackathon on the third day.

Slides and video recordings are available of most presentations (please allow enough time to load the video previews on the page). There is also a YouTube video posted of my english presentation about the PDFX-ready Online Tools.

PDFX-ready Preflight profiles
V1.5 / V2.5 released

PDFX-ready has update their preflight profiles for Acrobat Pro. The latest versions feature the following changes:

  • V2.5 (for PDF/X-4):
    • Removed check for single-color hairlines (< 0.125 pt) since these lines are no longer problematic in modern CTP and Digital workflows.
    • Check of multi-color objects (text < 8 pt; lines < 0.25 pt) also for Digital Printing.
    • More details in explanation for spot color check.
    • Compatibility with PDF/X-4 created by QuarkXPress 2016/2017.
  • V1.5 (for PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3):
    • New checks for recognition of black texts and vektors which most probably were re-separated (was alredy in V2.4).
    • More details in explanation for spot color check.
    • Removal of check “Annotation of this type not allowed (GWG)” (alignment with V2.x).

Presentation on PDFX-ready Online Tools
at PDF Days Europe 2017 in Berlin

At the PDF Days Europe 2017 organized by the PDF Association  in Berlin I was invited to give an english presentation on the PDFX-ready Online Tools:

Download PDF-Days2017_PDFX-ready-Online-Tools.pdf (PDF, 2.73MB)

PDF/X in a Nutshell

At the PDF Days Europe PDF Association has published a brochure entitled PDF/X in a Nutshell with these chapters:

  • The history of PDF/X
  • PDF/X: The key facts
  • Technical side and requirements of PDF/X
  • Users and industry segments
  • Tools and usage
  • PDF/X-Plus
  • PDF/X and the other PDF standards

I have contributed a chapter on PDF/X-Plus (about the Ghent Workgroup and PDFX-ready).

ESKO workflows compliant with Ghent PDF Output Suite 5

ESKO confirmes  confirm compatibility of the Esko Software Platform with new Ghent PDF Output Suite version 5.0.

All 48 test patches in the Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0 were processed perfectly using Esko Software Platform applications and workflows.

Ghent Workgroup PDF Survey 2017

Every few years the Ghent Workgroup (GWG) is conduction a survey on the use of PDF. The responses will help to better understand how processes have changed over the years, which specifications are being adopted, and how workflows vary so the GWG can continue to improve their solutions. Completing the survey only takes a few minutes. In order to get better results it would be great if a lot of users could participate in this survey.

Maximum file size doubled
for all PDFX-ready Connectors

In the user survey of the PDFX-ready Online Tools many users were complaining about the small file sizes. PDFX-ready has reacted and has doubled the maximum file sizes for all PDFX-ready Connectors:

  •   10 MB instead of     5 MB for FREEWARE
  •   40 MB instead of   20 MB for PREMIUM Bronze (individual members)
  • 100 MB instead of   50 MB for PREMIUM Silver (corporate members)
  • 400 MB instead of 200 MB for PREMIUM Gold (PDFX-ready partners)

In order to benefit from the new file sizes a new PDFX-ready Connector is required.

The FREEWARE version of Connector V2.0 can be downloaded here. A new registration is required.

Members of PDFX-ready will receive an e-mail with the download information (including password) for their PREMIUM version from the PDFX-ready office once the payment of their membership fee for 2017 is received.

Good rating for PDFX-ready Online Tools

PDFX-ready is conducting a continous survey about the PDFX-ready Online Tools in order to get feedback from the users of the PDFX-ready Online Tools.

So far the users of the PDFX-ready Online Tools gave a good rating for the new service:

More than 60 Percent would recommend the PDFX-ready Online Tools to their  customers and colleagues:

A frequent complaint is the small maximum file size.

That’s why PDFX-ready has doubled the maximum file sizes for all PDFX-ready Connectors in February 2017.

PDFX-ready Online Tools Presentation at Swiss Publishing Days

I gave an english presentation about the PDFX-ready Online Tools at the meeting of the Ghent Workgroup (GWG) in Barcelona and at the Callas and FourPees VIP event in Berlin:

In order to view the integrated movie on slide 4 you must download the PDF and read it locally on your computer.

PDFX-ready Online Tools released

PDFX-ready has annonced the immediate availability of the PDFX-ready Online Tools. This is a new innovative service for the members of PDFX-ready and also (in a limited version) for non-members.


The PDFX-ready Online Tools allow performing interesting analyses and conversion on a server in the cloud with the help of a free PDFX-ready Connector. PDF Preflight checks the PDFs with the well-known preflight profiles of PDFX-ready and a comprehensive report is created. Color Preflight can determine the original color spaces of CMYK images in a PDF. The ISO<–>PSO Converter converts PDF files from FOGRA39 (ISO Coated V2) to FOGRA51 (PSO Coated V3) and vice versa. The results are sent via e-mail with a download link.

Weiterlesen / Read more …

PDFX-ready Connector FREEWARE


In order to upload PDF files and the associated job tickets to the cloud server with the  PDFX-ready Online Tools a small application called PDFX-ready Connector is required.

The FREEWARE version of the PDFX-ready Online Tools can be downloaded by everybody. Compared to the PREMIUM versions which are only available for members of PDFX-ready, there are a few limitations (e.g. the file size) in the FREEWARE version.

Before downloading the PDFX-ready Connector a registration is required.

Please support the PDFX-ready Online Tools

Please help to spread the news about the PDFX-ready Online Tools:

  • Inform the creators of your prepress files about the new possibilities for checking their files before sending them to a print service provider.
  • Share this message in social networks (e.g. using the Sharing buttons below the post on

Thank you for your support.

Update on PDF Specifications for Packaging

David Zwang, Chairman of the Ghent Workgroup (GWG), talks at WhatTheyThink about the role of PDF in packaging as it moves digital. The organization has developed the PDF Processing Steps specification which is on its way to becoming an ISO standard that includes not only the file components but a standardized way to communicate embellishments and other aspects of packaging production to enable increased automation.