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 …

Problem with Enfocus PitStop Inspector
in Adobe Acrobat DC 2017

There is a problem with PitStop Inspector in Acrobat DC 2017. After starting Acrobat it is impossible to select an object with the PitStop Inspector tool.

This is also true for older versions of Enfocus PitStop. The reason for the problem seam to be a change in Acrobat DC 2017. Enfocus is working with Adobe to find a solution.

The recommended workaround is to open the window Adobe Acrobat DC > About Third-Party Plug-Ins > About Enfocus PitStop Pro… and close it. Afterwards objects can be selected as usual … until the next start of Acrobat DC 2017. Then you have to open the About Enfocus window again!

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)

Most important problem
in PDF workflows

The biggest problem in PDF workflows for print production is certainly the topic of color. Often there are surprises after printing because the printed colors do not meet the expectations.

PDF/X files have a mandatory output intent but often the color spaces of the objects in PDF/X documents do not match the output intent.

This can be checked very easy with the Color Preflight of the PDFX-ready Online Tools.

Since this happens frequently and the reason is often lack of know how I have decide to create a seminar entitled PDF Color Management (for now only in german). This will be offered at the usual places in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The first seminar will take place in Olten on 31.8.17.

EFI Fiery DFEs and Workflows Process
the Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0

EFI has announced that the six pages with 48 test elements of the Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0 can be flawlessly processed by  Fiery DFEs und workflows.

On the web site of the Ghent Workgroup one can find the settings used for the successfull output of the Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0 (also for some other vendors).

Use of GWG preflight profiles
with Agfa Apogee Prepress 10

Agfa offers in Apogee Prepress 10 a choice of two different preflight processes. Apogee Preflight is a solution developed by Agfa while Preflight is based on Enfocus PitStop. For both there are now preflight profiles available which are compliant with the lastest GWG2015 specifications of the Ghent Workgroup.

In a short instruction the use of the GWG2015 profiles with both preflight processors in Apogee 10 is described.

New online help for callas products

Callas software has created a comprehensive online help for pdfToolbox, pdfChip and pdfaPilot. One can find an overview of the new features of the latest versions with step-by-step instructions and a lot of screenshots. These pages shall be extended in the future.

New MadeToTag version
with a clever form field function

The latest version 1.7.080 of the InDesign plug-in MadeToTag from Axaio, known for the features for the definition and export of tagged PDF (PDF/UA), now also comes with a feature for better export of form field properties out of InDesign.

Since longtime the Adobe layout application offers the possibility to define form fields directly in the layout. During PDF export they are converted to PDF form fields. Unfortunately the possibilities for the definition of the form field properties in InDesign are very limited, compared to what can be done in Acrobat. That’s why a lot of users still prefer defining their form fields in Acrobat. Which has the disadvantage that one has to update the form fields after each change of the form layout.

Weiterlesen / Read more …

Guideline for GWG 2015 PDF/X workflow

The Ghent Workgroup has published a Guideline for the GWG 2015 PDF/X workflow. The publication is based on the PDFX-ready Guideline.

There are dutch and english translation available at the moment.

In addition there is a dutch and an english sample page.

In the Ghent version of the guideline only the first part of the PDFX-ready guideline was considered. Unfortunately important topics like PDF preflight and output workflow are missing.

Can QuarkXPress 2016 edit PDFs?

Quark has announced XPress 2016. In the new version it shall be possible to convert imported PDF pages into native XPress objects which can be edited directly in XPress. This feature is demonstrated in a YouTube video.

However in the announcement of the PDF conversion feature I have detected the footnote *Restrictions apply. The quality of the PDF conversion will be crutial.

I will follow this topic closely and report in my findings in PDF-AKTUELL…

Adobe preflight signature has expired

On February 8th at 14:33:51 (CET) the Adobe preflight signature has expired. That’s why it is no longer possible to embed the preflight audit trail after a preflight with Acrobat Pro in a PDF:

Preflight AuditTrail Error
After embedding the preflight results the PDF is usually “sealed” with this generic signature. This allows to recognize immediately if the PDF has been altered after the embedding of the preflight audit trail which may make the results obsolete. Thanks to the signature it is even possible to undo these changes.

Unfortunately the Adobe preflight signature is only valid for 5 years. Therefore the signature has to be renewed during the life cycle of an Acrobat version. Last time the signature expired on 22.11.2012. I remember that day very well. At that time I was responsible for the prepress support at Novartis Pharma and I received the error reports from all over the world. Since embedding the preflight audit trail is mandatory for PDFs for packaging files for Novartis Pharma I had to find a solution urgently. I did found out that replacing the invalid preflight signature of Acrobat 9 and X by the newer signature of Acrobat XI solved the problem.

It took Adobe quite a while to do the same. In January 2013 updates of Acrobat 9 and X containing the Acrobat XI signature were released. This signature was valid until 8.2.2016. It was also delivered with the first versions of Acrobat DC.

But this time Adobe has reacted on time (I have pushed them a little bit). With the January update of Acrobat DC and the 11.0.14 update of Acrobat XI a new preflight signature is installed. Users of these applications only have to perform the free update. Afterwards embedding the preflight audit trail is working properly again. At least until 6.11.2020. Then the signature will expire again…

Since Adobe does not offer updates for Acrobat 9 and X anymore, users of these applications must help themselves.

Weiterlesen / Read more …

Shrinking of PDFs for free

For reducing the file size of a PDF you can use PDF Optimizer in Acrobat Pro. Acrobat Preflight, Callas pdfToolbox or Enfocus PitStop can also perform this task.

There are also web services for shrinking PDFs. Apago is proving a free shrinking service at This is the online version of the Apago tool by the same name. After uploading a PDF from the local computer or a Drobbox one you select one of five settings (High Quality, Website, E-Mail, Mobile and Scanned Documents).

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Irritating dialog in Acrobat/Reader DC

Since the January update of Acrobat/Reader DC a lot of users get this strange dialog when they open a PDF:


This is only useful for people who are using assistive technologies (e.g. a screen reader). The annoying feature can be turn off in Preferences > General… > Accessibility by deactivating the option Enable assisive technology support. This must also be repeated in the Reader preferences to avoid that this dialog is shown when a PDF is displayed in an Internet browser.