What exactly is pdfToolbox?

pdfToolbox offers powerful, dynamic and easy ways to integrate PDF processing. It offers capabilities from quick visual inspection and fixing, to fully unattended processing of thousands of files. Using rock-solid Adobe technology, pdfToolbox provides checking and fixing of even very complex problems such as: color management, impositioning, conversion to and from PDF and more. pdfToolbox technology is used by small companies, large publishers and print providers as well as OEMs that integrate the technology in their own solution.

Let's look at this statement in a little more detail, shall we?

PDF processing

The pdfToolbox technology focuses on processing PDF files. In most cases, there will be an incoming PDF document that is checked or fixed in some way, and the result will be another PDF document. pdfToolbox can extend to non-PDF documents as well; however, it is capable of converting to and from multiple different file formats such as Postscript and EPS, image files, as well as office document file formats.

From manual to fully unattended

Callas software developed pdfToolbox as a product family; the same underlying core-technology is used in a number of different products.

  • pdfToolbox Desktop allows operators to open PDF documents manually, examine them visually, and run preflight checks and fixes on them. Read the chapter on manual processing of PDF documents to know more (Working with PDF documents manually).
  • pdfToolbox Server performs unattended processing using hot folders. All files placed into a watched folder are picked up and processed automatically. Read the article on processing PDF documents using hot folders for further information (Working with hot folders in pdfToolbox Server).
  • Lastly, the pdfToolbox CLI and SDK provide the means to integrate the pdfToolbox engine in web portals or other software products. Read the article on Integrating pdfToolbox technology using the command-line or the SDK for more information about those tools.

Using Adobe technology

The pdfToolbox engine is built upon the Adobe PDF Library technology; this ensures that the PDF documents it processes are handled by the same rock-solid technology you have in Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader and in many of the RIPs available and in-use. pdfToolbox uses the Adobe PDF Library for transparency flattening, rasterization to images, conversion to and from Postscript and EPS and more.

In the other direction, parts of the pdfToolbox technology have been integrated in Adobe Acrobat. More specifically, the "Preflight" plug-in that can be found in Adobe Acrobat Pro, was developed by callas software. If you are familiar with it, you will recognise much of the preflight functionality in pdfToolbox Desktop already.


The second best way to learn something new after hands-on training is 'videos'. Enjoy this video about basics of pdfToolbox.