Digital Directions Revisited
In PrintMedia magazine's February issue, Linda Manes Goodwin explained the benefits of using PDF/X-1 digital file format. In response, a reader contacted Goodwin for more information:
I have read your article and many articles on PDFs and I am still confused about the difference between PDF and PDF/X-1. I work in an ad agency and use PDFs every day, mostly for our clients to view ads before press runs. Using Quark to make a PS file and running it through Distiller seems to be working fine for now, but I want to upgrade my department to PDFs for press runs. Is there a better way than running PS files through Distiller?
-Melissa Bolyard, Valentine Radford Communications
PDF/X-1 is a subset of PDF. Think of it as PDF with blinders on. PDF is a wonderfully diverse file format that can be used for a variety of media. It can contain animation, annotation, and video, just to name of few of its myriad capabilities. When a document is destined for print, however, you want to limit all those options. PDF/X-1 sets certain parameters that are applicable to the print world. Those parameters are:
1) CMYK color space and spot
2) All components are embedded, including fonts
3) Trim and bleed are defined
4) Trap is defined as on or off
5) Types of compression are limited
6) Security level must allow for printing
A PDF created by Acrobat Distiller can be converted to PDF/X-1. Although several companies are developing tools, Apago has an inexpensive Acrobat plug-in that will be available at the end of February. PDF/X-1 Check-up will preflight your PDF, make auto corrections, report on items that cannot be auto-corrected, and apply the PDF/X-1 tags. Although I haven't tested this product personally, it passed the DDAP PDF/X-1 verifier.
PDF/X-1 is also an accredited standard file format, while PDF is not. For more information about accredited file formats and PDF/X-1 in particular, click here: