"Shapes" features extended in pdfToolbox 9.1

Based on numerous feature requests, the "Shapes" feature, just introduced in pdfToolbox 9.0 in summer 2016, has already been extended in pdfToolbox 9.1, released in November 2016. There are two areas that have been enhanced or added:

  • enlarging or reducing a shape by a certain amount now also is available for shapes derived from tracing page content or using existing vector paths (until now, enlarging/reducing was only supported for rectangular shapes based on page geometry boxes or a custom box)
  • "all-inclusive" shape: it is now possible to merge several nested shapes such that only the outer border of such shapes will be used. For example, for a donut shape, it is sometimes necessary to use the donut shape with the hole in it, and in other cases it is necessary to just use its outer border, i.e. the outer circle, and not take the hole in it into account

Enlarging or reducing non-rectangular shapes

In many cases a shape cannot be directly used as derived from page content. Instead, it needs to be reduced in size by a small amount, or enlarged.
For example, for a white background in label printing on transparent substrate, it could be necessary to print white in all areas of the printed content, but at the same time the white should never become visible itself, e.g. in the case of mis-registration of the colorants during the printing process. Thus it can make sense to reduce the area where white is to be a printed by a millimeter or so.
Along the same lines, it can be desirable for varnish to make sure it gets printed in top of all printed page content – and a tiny bit beyond it, to again compensate for possible mis-registration between colorants during the printing process. In this case, the shape would be enlarged by a millimeter or so.

The option to enlarge or reduce a shape's size is now also available for shapes derived from tracing page content or from existing vector paths:

The settings for enlarging or reducing a shape's size can be found inside the "Parameter:" dialog.

The settings for enlarging or reducing a shape's size can be found in the lower half of the "Parameter:" dialog in the form of

  • the "Adjust size" field, and
  • the "Adjust size unit" option, supporting "mm" (millimeter), "pt" (point) or "in" (inch) as units

A negative value for "Adjust size" will reduce the shape, whereas a positive value for "Adjust size" will enlarge it.

"All-inclusive" shape: Reduce shape to outer borders

The drawing below illustrates how the new "all-incluse" option impacts the shape that results from tracing page content or deriving a shape from existing vector paths. The main effect is that any shapes that exist inside other shapes are discarded. Where shapes overlap, the combined area of such overlapping shapes will be used as the actual shape. For shapes that are neither nested nor overlapping, the option has no effect.

The "Reduce shape to outer borders" is only available for the three "Create shape" variants

  • From tracing page content (excluding white  area)
  • From tracing page content (including white  area)
  • From vector paths

The "Reduce shape to outer borders" can be found inside the "Parameter:" dialog.

The "Reduce shape to outer borders" can be found at the bottom of the "Parameter:" dialog.

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