When profiles are not enough: Process plans

When you look at the profile window, you'll see that the list of profiles contains two different types of items.

  1. Regular profiles, recognizable by their blue icons.
  2. Process plans, recognizable by their yellow icons.

Process plans behave like profiles in most ways. They can be run on PDF documents, you can import and export them, they can live anywhere in the profiles windows (they can be in any group, not just the group named "Process plans" as shown in the example above). But process plans are built differently and they can be used to solve different problems.

Why process plans?

Process plans were invented to solve two very distinct problems:

  • In a profile you can have checks and fixups, but you cannot control the order in which these are executed. For checks that is not a problem, checks do not change the PDF document they are run on so their order is irrelevant. But for fixups this can be a real problem. Sometimes you need to do things in a certain order.
  • Sometimes you need to be a little careful when you execute a fixup; you really only want to perform a fix if a certain condition is met.

Process plans make both of these things possible; you can control the order of execution and you can do conditional processing based on the result of a check or profile.

Anatomy of a process plan

Process plans are quite simple, below is the process plan editor with its major parts:

  1. Process plans of course have a name and description, just as profiles.
  2. This area at the top details what you can use as the steps in a process plans. Profiles, checks and fixups are described in this manual, actions and variables go beyond the scope of this manual but are described elsewhere in the online help.
  3. The first step in this process plan is always executed; in this example that is a profile. Notice the up and down arrows to allow changing the order of the steps in the process plan. This allows determining what exactly the order is going to be of all of the steps in the process plan.
    The "On Error", "On Warning", ... options allow you to specify what needs to happen based on the result of this first step. This could simply be executing the next step, but the options can also be used to jump to a specific step in the process plan or exit the sequence altogether.
  4. This second step is an action, which was created in the Switchboard and which will re-distill the file.
  5. The last step in this example is the same as the first step. This is to re-execute the same profile if the first step wasn't successful and thus the re-distill action was used.

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