Practical advice on using some of the most used PDF subset standards

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Dietrich von Seggern, David van Driessche and myself are presenting at this year’s PDF Days. Our presentations revolve around PDF subset standards: how print needs to be personal, what about Ghent Workgroup and how to make your PDF/A conversion easier.

Print needs to be personal

The world of marketing has changed. Print is only one of the channels and communication mostly happens using social media, email, websites etc. But print has changed too. The amount of printed paper is, on the one hand ,decreasing but there are many expanding print areas such as packaging, label or large format print. And lots of print does now take place on digital printing machines - which is important to survive in the concert of marketing channels…

PDF/VT

Print in an “omni channel marketing strategy” often needs to be individual and that is indeed possible using high speed digital print. Therefore today’s printed marketing communication uses individual names of the addressee and often more changed content, e.g. different images depending on the type of addressee.

But individualized print requires not only high speed printing machines - it also put some requirements on the PDFs to be printed. In essence they have to be processed (ripped) as quickly as these machines can print. And for that process the “inner qualities” of PDF files play an important role.

This session will talk about inner PDF structures and how they have an impact on processing speed on a printing machines. Introducing best practice guides for variable data print recently published by the PDF Association it in addition provides practical advice on what to do and what to avoid in such PDFs.

Ghent Workgroup to the rescue?

Rather than boring everyone with the minute details of the Ghent Workgroup specifications, David is going to talk about three fundamentally weird statements and explain why they are true and what the repercussions are for standard development on the print side of the world.

First of all, he is going to explain why printers really don’t care about PDF/X compliance all that much; and why there is such an amount of tension between theory and practice in this area.

Secondly, he wants to explore why is it that PDF/X is so limited, that the Ghent Workgroup feels it has to make this international standard stricter instead of just using it (as is common with PDF/A and PDF/UA).

And in third place, he'd like to talk about how unsuitable the Ghent Workgroup specifications (and by extension PDF/X and other standards) are for software vendors who need to support and implement them. And how that can be done in a better way.

Hopefully the answers to these controversies will leave you with a better understanding of how standards work in print and how the Ghent Workgroup advances and develops them.

Make your PDF/A conversion easier

A good PDF to PDF/A converter almost always finds its way to convert to PDF/A. But sometimes these ways have to be rather complicated and have to cut off more of the original feature richness of the PDF than necessary- if a newer standard variant would be used. In rare cases it may even fail. What does that have to do with the different PDF/A variants?

PDF/A standards have been around for a long time now, the first one in the form of PDF/A-1 being introduced in 2005. Since then, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3 and PDF/A-4 have been released as well. (And no, the A-1 in PDF/A-1 doesn’t mean it is the ‘BEST’ PDF/A version). But how do you know which version to pick for your conversion needs? The answer lies primarily in that question- ‘your conversion needs’…

I am hopeful that this presentation will give you practical reasons in the form of different PDF/A variants to make your PDF/A conversion easier.

Having written all of that, I assume many of you would be willing to be a part of the event. If you are unsure about attending PDF Days, you should definitely give this a read.

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