Automating complex workflows with pdfToolbox 11!

Toolbox 11 blog

What does complexity in terms of PDF processing actually mean? Is it a function of the file size? Majority of us would rightly say ‘no’ because we might have seen a file with one big image getting processed in a matter of seconds. In PDF terms, ‘complexity’ usually refers to the drawing operations that build objects on a PDF file. In pdfToolbox, measuring such complexity by counting the drawing operations was always possible but that, as you can imagine, could take time. What changed is that now you can measure the size of the uncompressed content stream. pdfToolbox 11 comes with a ready-to-use Process Plan ‘Convert pages with very complex page descriptions into CMYK images’ that triggers an action in case the content stream is above ‘user defined’, say 2000 kilobytes. It can easily be adjusted to take a different action based on your workflow needs.

Print products such as packaging, label or large format often produce rectangular pages but also shapes, cut out with a die cutter. Having bleed is atleast as important as for pages and using pdfToolbox 11, you can now generate bleed for irregular shapes. This is one use case that shows how base technologies such as ‘Shapes’ or ‘Sifter’ are becoming the foundation for advanced automation features. In case your workflow depends on the Server version of pdfToolbox, you will be glad to know about ‘Job tickets’ and ‘Sidecar files’. Job folder is an easy and handy way to get an almost complete control over the settings and behavior of hot folder processing. On top of that, you can now define different variables for individual PDF files going into your Input folder using sidecar files.

Printing methods such as metalling printing, screen printing and pad printing or tampography can’t produce overprints, what they rather need is a “separation” into a predefined number of spot colors from a spot color library. Spotify is introduced in pdfToolbox 11, which lets you turn an image (usually RGB) into a PDF which uses one or several spot colors, each at a tint value of 100% and without overprints while maintaining the originality of the image as good as possible.

A Real eye catcher is the new Process Plan editor, that shows the internal PDF flow in a lot nicer way and makes creation of increasingly complex automation Profiles a lot easier. Process Plans now allows you to rename and save a PDF after any of the Process Plan steps while the original PDF travels through the rest of the steps. In addition, you can now skip a Process plan step or not apply Fixups, controlled by variables.

Along with making your workflows less error prone or let’s also say that you are better equipped to find problems in your workflows than ever before, pdfToolbox 11 also comes with new features and improvements in its Desktop flavour. A better ‘Object Inspector’, License Server integration through Desktop, all this makes the pdfToolbox family altogether automation strong. These features are very well documented for in depth look and use. I would be more than happy to see your feedback in the comments section.

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