Offending command: pdfmark

A pdfmark is a small piece of code that an application can include in its print files to tell Acrobat Distiller how the handle a specific aspect of the creation of a PDF file. For example: using pdfmarks, an application can instruct Distiller to add a hotlink to a small piece of text in its file, so that if you click on that word in the PDF, a web browser like Firefox opens a web page.
Errors that contain an offending command ‘pdfmark’ point to some kind of problem in processing these pdfmarks. The error should only pop up in Distiller or equivalent programs because it makes no sense trying to send PDFmarks to a normal RIP.


Solving this kind of error should not be to difficult: disable pdfmark creation in the originating application. The only problem is that this option may be hidden under some exotic description.

  • Take for example FrameMaker 7. It has a known problem with files that fail while creating PDFs or distilling PS files with tagged PDF information. The error is (%%[ Error: undefined; Offending Command: pdfmark; ErrorInfo: StRetrieve P127021 ]%% Stack: /StRetrieve) … As a workaround, turn off ‘Generate Tagged PDF’ in the PDF Setup menu.
  • The same is true in FrameMaker 6 which can generate errors looking like this: %%[ Error: typecheck; Offending Command: pdfmark; ErrorInfo: PUT _objdef ]%% . Turning off ‘Generate Tagged PDF’ in the PDF Setup menu also gets rid of this error.

Yet another FrameMaker 6 or 7 tip: instead of printing to a PostScript file and then processing that file with Distiller, print to the Adobe PDF printer.

23 December 2014

5 responses to “Offending command: pdfmark”

  1. pdfmark operator provides additional information to Distiller and similar PostScript to PDF converters. If something goes wrong there, the offending pdfmark can be commented out or removed without changing the rest of them.

    Please contact Coscript Consulting for professional resolution of PostScript and PDF issies: [email protected] or +1 (610) 529 3475.

  2. vikas garg says:

    Currently i am using adobe page maker 7.0 & Adobe 9.0.

    I am trying to convert page maker file into .pdf but getting some error mentioned below :

    TT9BF4ACCATH not found, using Courier.
    %%[ Error: rangecheck; OffendingCommand: imageDistiller; ErrorInfo: Decode –nostringval– ]%%


    %%[ Flushing: rest of job (to end-of-file) will be ignored ]%%
    %%[ Warning: PostScript error. No PDF file produced. ] %%

    Kindly help me to come out from this problem.
    I shall be thank full to you for this.

    Vikas Garg

  3. Laurens says:

    Other work-arounds:

    – Pdfmark data are typically embedded in PostScript files. Depending on your layout application you may be able to directly export to PDF, completely avoiding this issue.

    – Trying another release of Distiller might not be a bad idea.

    – As a last resort, how about switching off all pdfmark processing in Distiller? The tricky part is that this requires some knowledge from the user. The code to deactivate pdfmark processing is:

    /pdfmark where {pop} {userdict /pdfmark /cleartomark load put} ifelse

    You either need to insert this in your Postscript file using an editor, preferably right after the first few header lines or this line of code should be added to the PostScript header or prolog file of a queue or device.

  4. Laurens says:

    Found this work-around in a forum: I have seen it happen in Quark documents set up as 2-page spreads. When you print one of the two pages to a .ps file and then distill it , it fails. In my case the problem has been caused by a placed image(s), such as a Photoshop eps, that is on the adjoining page, but is either purposely crossed over or accidently crossed over to the page you are trying to print. If you are adding bleed, any image on an adjoining page that falls within the bleed area can cause it also. To Fix we either temporarily turn off the printing of the crossed-over pic or temporarily drag the picture box outside the printing area (remember bleed).

  5. Charity says:

    I tried the workaround of turning off tagged PDF. The error persists. Ideas? I noticed the .ps file is inordinately large.