Fixing processing steps data

pdfToolbox can fix a number of common problems with processing steps information and can be used to convert legacy files using spot color identification to processing steps.

Putting objects on a specific layer

This fixup identifies objects with a preflight check; those objects are then put on layer identified by its processing steps group and type.

Adding processing steps information to a layer

This fixup identifies a layer by name, and then adds specific processing steps information to it.

Rename layer identified by processing steps information

This fixup identifies a layer using the specified processing steps information and changes its name.

Specifying whether Processing Steps information is converted or not

When PDF files with Processing Steps information are processed it is not only necessary or even desirable to modify the Processing Steps information. E.g. if you convert all spot color to CMYK you will want to exclude Processing Steps objects.

It is possible to add a filter in the "Apply to" pop up or a similar means to Fixups that would rule out objects on a Processing Steps layer.

Since pdfToolbox 14 that becomes more convenient for the most relevant Fixups, because there is a new pop up in the sidebar that allows you to specify whether or not Processing Steps information should be taken into account or not. Since the Processing Steps groups White and Varnish are "almost" regular print content it is possible to still include only these objects.


This pop up is not active in all Fixups, but only in those where excluding Processing Steps objects actually makes sense. These Fixups are:

  • Generate bleed at page edges
  • Convert colors
  • Map spot and process colors
  • Set Overprint and Knockout
  • Crop to visible based on rendered page
  • Remove objects

In "Generate bleed for irregular shapes" there is a similar mechanism in the Fixup settings: