Why some tools are more
forgiving of bad PDFs?

Martin Bailey gives some thoughts on the Global Graphics blog about compliance, compatibility, and why some tools are more forgiving of bad PDFs.

He reports on Global Graphics’ nearly 25 years of experience with native PDF RIPs (Harlequin). At that time, developers were faced with the question of whether to strictly implement the PDF specification and thus risk not being able to process many PDFs (even from well-known creators), or whether to pragmatically achieve the best possible result even with poorly built PDFs.

A quantum leap in Preflight!

The latest updates of the most important preflight tools (Enfocus PitStop and Callas pdfToolbox) feature new technologies which allow to substantially leverage the quality of preflight checks. We had to wait long time for such possibilities!

Until now preflight tools could only check for properties of single isolated PDF objects. The classical example is black text which is not overprinting. A corresponding check has also issued an error message if the black text was not placed on top of a color background but over the paper white. In this case it’s irrelevant if the text is overprinting or not! This created a lot of unjustified error message (false positives) which was irritating for the user. This has often led to ignore serious error messages. This is a big problem with the preflight profiles of the Ghent Workgroup and PDFX-ready since they feature many overprint checks.

In the past preflight also checked invisible objects which were masked or covered by other objects.

A restriction of the objects to check was only possible with the page geometry boxes (e.g. BleedBox, TrimBox). A restriction of the preflight to an arbitrary contour (e.g. cutline) was not possible.

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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.