PDF

PDF is one of the most interesting things that has happened in prepress in the past 10 years. The file format is very versatile. These pages mainly focus on the use of PDF for printing and the graphic arts industry.

PDF basics

Click the title to get a long list of pages that cover the various aspects of PDF: what is it, how to create PDF files, what does the file format look like,… These are the most popular pages:

Systems and applications that use PDF

All current prepress workflow systems can handle PDF files and use it as their internal file format.

PlanetPDF maintain an extensive list of PDF tools so I am not going to bother doing the same. These are the main vendors of PDF based solutions that are popular in prepress:

Adobe Acrobat is the tool almost everyone uses for viewing and manipulating PDF files.

Enfocus is a Belgian company that created Pitstop, a plug-in to preflight and correct PDF files. The other main contender in this market is pdfToolbox  from Callas software.

Quite Software has some pretty cool Acrobat plug-ins like Quite-A-Box-Of-Tricks, a toolbox that is great for manipulating PDFs coming from Office applications.

Sometimes things go wrong, so this site also has an overview of common PDF related issues. It is outdated but I may revive this section at some point in time. The same is true for the application notes, in which you find more information about the PDF-support from various applications, like InDesign, PowerPoint, Photoshop, or QuarkXpress.

Other sources of information

The web is filled with information about PDF and Acrobat. Below are some of my favorites.

Web sites and forums: PlanetPDF is the leading PDF-releated web site and of course Adobe also have something to say about the subject on their general PDF and PDF Technology Center pages.
I guess the best PDF-oriented forum you can find nowadays is the Adobe forum for Acrobat users.  I also like the Apogee Network, a forum specifically for users of the Agfa Apogee workflow.

Books: There are nowadays tons of books about PDF. The most recent one I read is a highly technical one that dives into the innards of the file format: Developing with PDF, written by Leonard Rosenthol

21 December 2014

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