callas software releases pdfToolbox 12

24 Nov. 2020 By Sam Claeys

callas software, the market leader for automated PDF quality control and archival solutions, today releases a milestone update for its pdfToolbox product line: pdfToolbox 12. Major new features include a “QuickFix” engine to modify even massive PDFs incredibly fast, an engine to compare color differences between PDFs, a generic way to create Fixups on the fly using JavaScript, more powerful Actions (now supporting editing and variables), an OCR engine, and much, much more…

This is the twelfth version of callas pdfToolbox. “One would think it would become more difficult to introduce genuine improvements in such a mature product. Instead,” remarks Dietrich von Seggern, Managing Director at callas software, “we are continuously amazed at what our customers accomplish with pdfToolbox. The list of features we want to add, to help them in what they want to do with the product, keeps growing every year. Once more, we’ve tried to strike a balance between improving what was already there, yet at the same time introducing completely new and exciting functionality.”

“Our partners and customers increasingly rely on the PDF validation, correction and transformation capabilities of pdfToolbox,” says David van Driessche, Chief Technology Officer at Four Pees, the worldwide distributor for all callas solutions. “The incredible rate of innovation in the product, coupled with its unmatched stability and performance on all production platforms is paramount in supporting this.” The most important new features and improvements are explained below.


pdfToolbox 11 added a QuickCheck engine: the goal was to extract information from PDFs blazingly fast, even for huge files. In pdfToolbox 12 the complimentary QuickFix engine is introduced, which accomplishes the same for PDF corrections. The QuickFix engine comes with lightning-quick solutions for spot colors, output intents, page boxes, adding and removing pages…

While the performance of pdfToolbox is already out of this world, the QuickFix engine’s goal is to perform modifications in close to constant time, whether it’s on a PDF with a single page or half a million pages. In time-critical environments, this is a game-changer.


For years pdfToolbox has known the concept of “Actions”. You could create these in the Switchboard, and then use them in Process Plans. In pdfToolbox 12, callas promoted Actions to first-class citizens. They now appear in the list of Fixups and have a brand-new editor which allows editing all of their properties, not just those that happen to be visible in the Switchboard. Additionally, they fully support variables, making them a lot more flexible, especially in a Process Plan context.

Color improvements

Color is a critical topic every year, as it’s both complex and used in just about any workflow. pdfToolbox 12 introduces major new color functionality. First up is adding a spot color separation based on ink amounts of objects in the file. This is essential when printing on transparent media and adding a (expensive) white backing layer. Talking about separations, pdfToolbox 12 also introduces minimum and maximum ink checks for individual separations, crucial in flexo workflows, amongst others.

The Visualizer technology includes new sections for the minimum and maximum ink per separation checks, but also adds an out-of-gamut section and the ability to compare color differences between PDFs. The latter provides a heat map of all areas on those files with a color difference larger than a set DeltaE. pdfToolbox of course fully supports all of these novelties in its automated workflows as well.


The Tesseract OCR engine built into pdfToolbox 12 provides a way to automatically create fully searchable text for PDFs that don’t contain live text. This is important in the context of specific standards (such as PDF/A or PDF/UA) but can also be crucial for workflows in which you want to use the text search capabilities pdfToolbox has.

By default, the OCR engine has support for English and German enabled in the product, but you can download other languages if needed.


What is unique about pdfToolbox is its mix of easy to use components, coupled with the incredible extensibility that comes from integrating technologies such as HTML and JavaScript. In pdfToolbox 12, this is again taken a step further by allowing JavaScript to create Fixups on the fly.

While this may not be needed in simple, straightforward workflows, it is absolutely crucial in highly flexible environments where pdfToolbox needs to react dynamically on PDFs and metadata coming in.

Compatible with MacOS Big Sur

Recently Apple released its new MacOS Big Sur update. pdfToolbox 12 is fully compatible with this most recent update. callas software has extensively tested pdfToolbox 12 with regard to Apple’s new OS release, and upgrading to it should not give any issues for pdfToolbox 12.

David van Driessche: “We’ve tested the upcoming pdfToolbox v12 and it works well with macOS Big Sur. While we’re all excited about a new macOS update, and we don’t see problems, we do urge users to test before upgrading on production systems. And to make sure backups are in place in case you need to do a roll back.”

Miscellaneous smaller features

Of course, these are not the only new features in pdfToolbox 12. Among the smaller new features are:

Availability and price

callas pdfToolbox 12 is available as of today:

For further inquiries regarding availability, price, options or return on investment, please contact the callas software distribution partner, Four Pees at Download a fully functional time-limited trial version from

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