Using pdfaPilot and Preflight in Acrobat Pro parallel

A lot of users want to use the Acrobat Preflight functionality as well as the high number of additional tools from pdfaPilot simultaneously.
This tutorial explains, how this parallel usage of Acrobat Preflight (a development of callas software, which has been integrated by Adobe as a part of Adobe Acrobat Pro since 2003) and callas pdfaPilot works.

Open Acrobat-build-in Preflight

The Preflight functionality in Acrobat Pro can be found using the "Tools" bar for example or with the shortcut "CMD, Shift + X" (in MacOS) or "CTRL, Shift + X" (using Windows).

Open Acrobat-build-in Preflight

The Preflight Profiles window

The Profile window lists a number of Profiles, Checks and Fixups. Also a separate "Standards" area gives easy access for conversion of PDF files into PDF-based ISO standards.

The Preflight Profiles window

Process a PDF

When a PDF is open, a conversion or analysis can be executed on that file.

Using Profiles, which only contain checks and/or validation of standards (and with Checks within the respective group), only the "Analyze" button is active. When a Profile contains Fixups and conversions into a PDF standard (and for single Fixups of course), also kann auch "Analyze and fix" can be used.

Process a PDF

Result dialog

After processing, the result is shown and can be reviewed.
A click on the "Profiles" tab within this window allows further processing or analysis.

Result dialog

pdfaPilot as an Acrobat Pro Plug-In

Using the pdfaPilot installer, a Desktop version and a Plug-In for Acrobat Pro will become installed (the latter of of course only if Acrobat Pro is installed on the respective system).

pdfaPilot can be found using the "Plug-Ins" menu or within the "Tools" sidebar.

pdfToolbox as an Acrobat Pro Plug-In

Using the pdfaPilot Plug-In on Windows 

If the pdfaPilot Plug-In is not displayed in Adobe Acrobat Pro after installation, the security settings should be checked. The Plug-In for Acrobat cannot be used in protected mode (sandbox mode). This mode must first be deactivated under "Preferences" > "Security (Enhanced)" (see 2nd screenshot). Then Acrobat must be restarted so that the Plug-In can be used.

Open the pdfaPilot Profiles window

A click on the "pdfaPilot Profiles" entry opens a window with a number of predefined Profiles, Checks and Fixups (as well as ProcessPlans).

You will notice that the Preflight Profile window looks quite similar to the one of pdfaPilot.
The reason for this is quite simple: Adobe uses technology from callas software for the Preflight functionality in Acrobat Pro.

Open the pdfToolbox Profiles window

Why using pdfaPilot AND Acrobat Preflight?

There are several functions available in pdfaPilot (Plug-In and Standalone) only, which are not part of Acrobat Preflight:

  • ProcessPlans
  • Custon reports (based on HTML-Template)

  • Several Fixups like:
  • Place text
  • Place barcode
  • Place page number
  • Place content (based on HTML-Template)
  • Convert colors to n-channel

In general, pdfaPilot has a more frequent update interval than Acrobat Preflight.
Therefore new features, adjustments and fixes are earlier available in callas software products.

Running Preflight and pdfaPilot in parallel

You can use Acrobat Preflight and callas pdfaPilot Plug-In in parallel.

Running Preflight and pdfToolbox in parallel

Using pdfaPilot-only features

Using the pdfaPilot Plug-In allows to use pdfaPilot-only features like placing custom content using a Fixup.

For example placing a text, a barcode, numbering pages or a custom content (using a HTML template) as additional content into the PDF.

Using pdfToolbox-only features