Avoiding printing problems with PDF/X

by  Frank Kettenstock, VP of Marketing

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PDF/X standard reduces print problems

As the use of PDF for transferring graphic arts content files between sites, publishers, and printers has grown, so have the anomalies, idiosyncrasies and plain old incompatibilities when it comes to sharing pre-press data using PDF software like Foxit PhantomPDF.

So a group of publishers and printers worked with standards bodies to develop versions of PDF that suit the output requirements of different production techniques. Which is how—and why—PDF/X was born.

Because PDF/X was created to enable universal, error-free printing, you can use it for virtually all your printing needs. Using PDF/X gets rid of the most likely errors in file printing, namely, missing fonts and images, color issues, and page box problems, among others.

And, because it’s controlled by the International Standards Organization (ISO), PDF/X won’t be changed without rhyme or reason by individuals or companies. It’s a standard that stands the test of time.

Different flavors of PDF/X

The most widely used versions of PDF/X are PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3.

The main difference is that PDF/X-1a supports CMYK process colors, while PDF/X-3 supports RGB color spaces. That said, if you create pdf/X-1a files, you can be confident that practically any printer anywhere will able to print your file.

How to create or convert files to PDF/X

Foxit PhantomPDF has PDF/A, PDF/E and PDF/X compliance validation and creation to meet industry standards. Select Convert > Compliance > Industry Standard Industry Standard, then select one of the industry standards, and then click Analyze or Analyze and Fix in the pop-up dialog box.

You can also create standard compliant pdfs by saving them as PDF/X using PhantomPDF Business.

Be aware, however, that PDF/X can sometimes enlarge the resulting PDF file size because it requires many page elements to be embedded.

Standardizing on PDF/X may provide more consistent and reliable output with your printer or software. So if you experience problems during printing of PDFs, consider converting your files to PDF/X.


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