PDF basics

Below are links to pages that contain more information on PDF, the Portable Document Format. The content is geared towards prepress operators, who mainly use PDF as a file format to get pages that need to be printed from their customers. For more information on the multimedia or forms capabilities of PDF you’ll have to look elsewhere.

PDF essentials

How to create and handle PDF files

The history of PDF

The PDF file format

Special PDF flavors

  • PDF/X-1a – Popular standard for data exchange in prepress & printing
  • PDF/X-3 – A color managed alternative to PDF/X-1a
  • PDF/X-4 – The new standard for using PDF in prepress & printing
  • PDF/X-5 – Obscure alternative to PDF/X-4
  • PDF/VT – Using PDF for variable data and transaction printing
  • PDF/A – Using PDF for archiving electronic documents
  • Certified PDF – Proving that a PDF has been preflighted


9 August 2013

5 responses to “PDF basics”

  1. vishal says:

    Hello, i just wanted to know when PDF having different Crop box size and media box also having different size with rotation of 90 degree. how does it makes difference between rest of the PDF. and How to convert it in to Normal PDF?

  2. Irulappan says:

    we need to edit the content like form field in pdf
    any on give the suggestions or this post………..

  3. Bob Randle says:

    This has really been helpful, I have programs which convert reports on IBM iSeries machines to a PDF file, I now have a need to add password protection to the files which are emailed to users and employees. What I need to know is how to assign a password to a PDf file, can anyone point me to a reference? Thanks

  4. Tom Korff says:

    Hi… I like this page.. It seems like a great resource.. I just think it seriously needs to be brought up to date, since a lot of the things written here are so obviously obsolete..

    • Laurens says:

      I am working on it. Most of the links are updated now but I have added pointers to some new topics that also need to be covered.