Using pdfToolbox and Preflight in Acrobat Pro parallel (8.3)

A lot of users want to use the Acrobat Preflight functionality as well as the high number of additional tools from pdfToolbox 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 pdfToolbox works.

Open Acrobat-build-in Preflight

The Preflight functionality in Acrobat Pro can be found using the "Tools" sidebar 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.

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.

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.

pdfToolbox as an Acrobat Pro Plug-In

Using the pdfToolbox 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).

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

Open the pdfToolbox Profiles window

A click on the "pdfToolbox 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 pdfToolbox.
The reason for this is quite simple: Adobe uses technology from callas software for the Preflight functionality in Acrobat Pro.

Why using pdfToolbox AND Acrobat Preflight?

There are several functions available in pdfToolbox (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, pdfToolbox 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 pdfToolbox in parallel

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

Using pdfToolbox-only features

Using the pdfToolbox Plug-In allows to use pdfToolbox-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.

Upgrade Adobe Acrobat on Windows so that callas pdfToolbox is still working

When upgrading Adobe Acrobat on Windows (for example to go from version 9 to Acrobat X), Adobe Acrobat is completely reinstalled and the old version of the software is removed by the Adobe installer. To ensure pdfToolbox remains working, follow the following steps:

  • Your preferences should not be affected by this upgrade. But it is always wise to have a backup of your preferences before doing big changes, so head on over to the callas preferences folder and make a backup.
  • Make sure you have the pdfToolbox installer handy. If necessary you can download it from the callas download page.
  • Run the Adobe Acrobat installer to upgrade your Acrobat installation.
  • When Adobe Acrobat is installed and properly working, run the callas pdfToolbox installer to reinstall the pdfToolbox plugin in your new version of Adobe Acrobat.


  • Your preferences or custom profiles will not be affected by running the Adobe or pdfToolbox installer.
  • You should not need to reactivate pdfToolbox, it will continue to recognize your license.
  • You can avoid having to run the pdfToolbox installer, but going into the plug-ins folder of Adobe Acrobat and making a copy of the callas pdfToolbox folder. Then, after upgrading to the new Adobe Acrobat version simply copy the pdfToolbox folder back into the plug-ins folder of Adobe Acrobat.