Common examples of how pdfToolbox is used

pdfToolbox is most commonly associated with preflight (quality control) of PDF documents, but it certainly is not the only way it is used by its customers. This article provides a number of common examples of how the pdfToolbox technology is used in actual projects.

Preflighting customer files

By far the most common reason to implement pdfToolbox technology still is doing quality control on incoming files and fixing common problems in those files. pdfToolbox supports virtually all preflight standards worldwide (from ISO to Ghent Workgroup, PDF/X-Ready, ...) and can quickly assess whether incoming files adhere to a given preflight standard.

Preflight results can be presented in the application itself (1) or can be generated as files to be shared with customers (2) or used in further automated workflows (such as the XML preflight report format). Preflight reports are flexible, the report shown in (2) can be customized completely; colors, icons and text can be adjusted to match the knowledge of clients or internal staff.

Imposing PDF files

While pdfToolbox is far from a dedicated imposition tool, it does have an imposition engine on board that can handle common tasks such as creating a booklet or doing an n-Up, fill page, or Step & Repeat. It can also be configured to handle many more complex tasks, and as an imposition engine it's really fast.

The imposition tasks can be done manually, or they can be automated using hot folders, the command line, or the SDK.

Performing color management

pdfToolbox can handle a lot of color related tasks; its capabilities can largely be divided in three big areas:

  1. Color conversions using ICC profiles
  2. Color conversions using DeviceLink profiles (53 DeviceLink Profiles free with pdfToolbox since version 10.1)
  3. Changes to spot colors (including converting to CMYK, remapping and changing their names / alternate color space)

With those core color technologies, pdfToolbox can perform a whole range of very useful tasks:

  • Converting to grayscale (including specific types of objects only)
  • Converting everything to a specific type of CMYK (possibly treating different input color spaces differently)
  • Performing ink-reduction or ink-saving using a proper DeviceLink profile
  • Converting to multi-color using an n-channel profile (possibly excluding black text and lineart)
  • Fixing rich-black or four-color black problems
  • Fixing RGB colors from office-generated files
  • Applying correction curves to CMYK or spot colors

Decorating PDF files

Very often, PDF files are 'decorated' (have additional content added) while they are being prepared for production. This can include trim marks, additional white space, color bars, textual information about the customer or file, bar codes... pdfToolbox has a range of different tools to add this necessary information to the PDF file.

  1. pdfToolbox can place trim and bleed marks on the trim and bleed box in the PDF document. This can be done manually (interactively) but of course also as part of a pdfToolbox profile that performs other checks and fixes.
  2. Multiple "Place xxx" fixups allow adding information to PDF documents: easy to use fixups for placing text, page numbers and bar codes, and a more complex "place content" fixup that can be configured using an HTML template and can add virtually anything.