Acrobat August 2017 Update released

Adobe has releaded planned Updates for Acrobat DC and Acrobat 2017. As usual there are two different updaters:

The update can also be installed using the Acrobat menu Help > Check for Updates….

Some of the new features are only available in the subscription version. IMHO there are not interesting new features for users in print production in this update.

However an ugly bug has finally been fixed: it’s now possible again to define the Trapped key in the Advanced Document Properties!

After the update the tools for page control did disappear on my computer (selection, hand, zoom out, zoom in, zoom value, fit width, fit page, read mode). With the help of the menu View > Show/Hide > Page Controls > Show Page Controls it should be possible to enable them again. If this is not successful a reset of the toolbars may help. However a reset means that the customization of the toolbar is lost. (Hint: make a screenshot of the toolbar before resetting!)


PDF 2.0 (ISO standard 32000-2)
is (finally) published!

After nine years of (hard) work the ISO has published PDF 2.0 as ISO standard 32000-2:2017. This is the first PDF specification which was completely developed by more than 30 PDF experts from all over the world in an ISO working group. ISO 32000-1:2008 was basically a takeover of PDF 1.7 from Adobe. PDF 2.0 is more an evolution than a revolution. An important goal was compatibility to older PDF versions.

Seven chapters of the specification (971 pages in total) have been completely rewritten (e.g. transparency, tagged PDF). The goal was not to introduce new features but to eliminate ambiguities and errors of old specifications.

Beside other new features there are also some enhancements for digital prepress data:

  • Setting to activate black-point compensation (BPC) for each object. This allows to define predictable color conversions.
  • Output Intent per page (optional). E.g. Coated for the cover pages and Uncoated for the body pages of the same PDF.
  • Use of spectral data for spot colors (using CxF/X-4).
  • Definition of the printing order (e.g. for sheetfed offset).
  • Enhanced halftone features (origin, halftone dot shape).

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 …

Barcode check in PDF files
with ChkBarcode from CSci

Software developer CSci from Hamburg has released ChkBarcode. This software allows checking of barcodes in PDF files for printing.

ChkBarcode checks quickly and securely all barcodes directly in the ready-to-print PDFs. The verification software ChkBarcode finds 1D and 2D barcodes, determines the type, reads the contents and measures the quite zone, checks the dimensions, measures the barcode elements and determines the bar width reduction (BWR). With ChkBarcode, you can create a QS report and use the results to control your workflow.


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!


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.

Prepetual license of Acrobat
now also in version 2017

After the confusing version jump of the Acrobat update in April Adobe now has also released Version 2017 of the perpetual license of Acrobat (classic track). Please note  that the perpetual version has lost the amendment DC and now is only called Acrobat 2017.

The users of the perpetual version eventually can also benefit of new features of the subscription version:

On the Acrobat 2017 FAQ page one can find a somewhat longer list of new features. But also there several features of the subscription version are missing. E.g. the enhancements of preflight and accessibility. However I don’t know if these features just have not found their way into these lists or if the perpetual version really has fewer features that the subscription version…

Acrobat 2017 is a paid update for users of Acrobat XI and Acrobat DC (Classic).


 

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).


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.


Enfocus PDF Review Module released

At last years Drupa Enfocus had showcased a new technology which allows to better integrate customers into review and approval workflows. This technology is now released as Switch PDF Review Module.

PDF Review Module consists of two parts:

  • a Switch App which uploads a PDF to a web server, and
  • the PDF Review web server, which can be installed on any internal or external host.

Weiterlesen / Read more …

Enfocus PitStop 2017
with new technology

Enfocus has released version 2017 of PitStop Pro and PitStop Server. It’s the first bigger update sind April 2015 (version 13).

Enfocus has used the time to develop some innovative new preflight features. I have waited for these since longtime.

These features are based on the new PDF Geomapper technology. This makes ist possible to check objects based on their position on the page in relation to other objects at this position. This was not possible with any preflight tool since only properties of single objects are checked.

Weiterlesen / Read more …

Survey: How many of your PDF files are checked with a Preflight tool?

For my presentation at PDF Days Europe 2017 on 15.5.2017 I have started a new survey:

How many of your PDF files are checked by a Prelight tool?

Based on my long experience as a graphic arts consultant I expect that the share of PDF files which are checked with a Preflight tool in daily production is quite low. But I am willing to learn. Please participate in this very short survey…