pdfToolbox for OEM customers

pdfToolbox is used by many OEM customers worldwide; they integrate pdfToolbox technology into their own workflows to accept PDFs that are being uploaded in a web application, to aggregate or impose, to soft proof print material, to let users view and modify PDF files and much more.

The reason pdfToolbox is so popular with OEM customers is because it is essentially a one stop solution for PDF in prepress. It can be used to implement a wide variety of tasks such as preflight (quality control), color conversion, versatile font handling (embedding, substitution, vectorisation), transparency flattening, high-quality PDF rendering and more. Anything you can do with pdfToolbox in an interactive way (through pdfToolbox Desktop) or in an automated way (through hot folders or command-line), is also available for OEM customers through a direct integration interface as well.

Crucially important for the OEM market is performance and reliability; products are only as strong as their weakest link. callas goes to great lengths to ensure that any pdfToolbox release has been rigorously tested. That is a necessity for technology that is shipped to millions of customers by OEM customers such as Adobe, Foxit, Quark, Xerox and to the many smaller OEM customers servicing specialized markets.

Many OEM customers implement global solutions for worldwide customers. For those it is especially important that pdfToolbox comes with pre-localized preflight profiles, immediately available in 15 different languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Finnish, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Czech and Danish).

Of course OEM customers – or their end-users – can also modify preflight profiles or create new ones from scratch: pdfToolbox uses the same profile format as Adobe Acrobat’s Preflight (which actually has been developed by callas). And the interactive pdfToolbox Desktop product of course also allows profile editing and testing. This gives OEM customers a choice between simply implementing default profiles or allowing complete freedom in their solution.

pdfToolbox is frequently updated (usually one major upgrade and several maintenance upgrades per year). These updates are made available to OEM partners as they become available, which allows them to provide their customers with additional value for their own maintenance agreements.


There are virtually no limitations with regards to supported environments; pdfToolbox is available to OEM customers on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Sun Solaris and IBM AIX. On all of these platforms there is also a choice on how you want to integrate the technology: through command line or a real SDK.

With pdfToolbox CLI (the command-line version) all communication happens through the command-line; pdfToolbox reports back through stdout, exit codes and XML reports. Documentation and integrated help functionality make interfacing with the CLI a breeze.

pdfToolbox SDK consists of a programming library that has a native C API with additional header files for C++ and comes with wrapper interfaces for C#/.NET (Windows only) and Java. A web service interface for SOAP is available as well. All of these different interfaces are actively used by OEM customers; they are thoroughly tested and come with documentation and sample code designed to make integration easy and straightforward.

Since the features of pdfToolbox CLI and pdfToolbox SDK are almost identical it only depends on our OEM customers’ need and preferences which of the components works best. Here you will find a detailed overview about the differences of the two.

OEM customers get priority support throughout the integration of pdfToolbox into their product and beyond. Direct access to developers is available when needed.

Areas of application

Below you will find some examples for product types in which pdfToolbox is frequently integrated (in alphabetical order), but please note that this list is by no means complete.

Advertisement Workflows and Management Solutions

When ads are not just something that is important on the business level but also something that needs to be incorporated into a published product, it is crucial to make sure that what the customer has delivered can be produced accurately or – if modifications are required– to identify such issues as early as possible.
This is significantly important in a publication that has to be printed on every day and at a given time. No wonder that many ad management solutions (not only) for newspapers are relying on pdfToolbox’ preflight and correction features.

Desktop Products

There are powerful desktop products from OEM customers with worldwide product sales that internally use our PDF technology: Adobe Acrobat, Foxit Phantom Suite, Quark XPress and many more. In some cases only certain preflighting or correction features are used, sometimes it is mainly about standards compliance, sometimes it is preview generation or something different still.

Output Management and Imposition

Managing the output means taking in what comes from previous workflow steps. Usually the quality of a PDF should already be good in this phase of the workflow and thus the main task is to let users control the order in which pages are output and to distribute PDF pages onto sheets. But it might also be necessary to adapt colors, e.g. in order to convert spot colors to CMYK because only in this stage of the workflow it becomes clear what machine will be used for printing. In addition it might still be important to perform some final checks on the combined sheets or pages because production problems – although infrequent – are very expensive if not detected beforehand.
Providing solutions for imposition or more general the management of output requires good knowledge about customer workflows and requirements. This needs to be combined with a reliable solution that performs whatever is required on PDF level. This is where many of our customers are using pdfToolbox in order to be able to concentrate on their own knowledge and expertise.

Preview and Proof

In some cases pdfToolbox is used in order to create high quality renderings of PDF pages. High quality in this context means that the preview is just right – particularly when it comes to overprint or transparency effects – which is “where wheat separates from the chaff”. Customers are using pdfToolbox for more or less simple preview generation (e.g. in an imposition solution) but also for consistent high-end color soft proofs.

Web Applications and Web-To-Print

Many web applications allow end users to upload PDFs for the printing process. Such a web application should take care that its users will receive at least some immediate feedback about the quality of the upload and whether any problems are to be expected. It does not make a big difference whether it is the website of printer or the ad portal of a publisher or a publishing group. This is the reason why many of these sites have integrated pdfToolbox in order to deliver this feedback. When it comes to OEM customers in this area who are developing products for print shops and publishers it is important that pdfToolbox comes pre-localized to all important languages and that it supports various report types including one that can easily be customized using HTML templates.


All print workflows that process PDF files are in need of some technology that is able to preflight and modify files while routed. In some cases it is advantageous that pdfToolbox can also convert other file formats like office (Microsoft Office files only on a Windows computer and only if Microsoft Office is installed), images (TIFF, jpeg, PNG) or EPS/PostScript into PDF. Many workflow products that are provided either as a separate license or as part of a hardware sale are internally using pdfToolbox.

Activation and License Terms

When being used under an OEM distribution agreement pdfToolbox does not require per-machine or per-user activation. It instead simply integrates with the host software’s copy protection and can be distributed with the host product and installer without any need for interaction with an additional activation system.

pdfToolbox may be integrated into a wide range of products and technologies, from desktop tools with a massive customer base (such as Adobe Acrobat, Foxit Phantom or Quark XPress) to very specific tools for a specialist target audience. In order to find a licensing arrangement that works best for our customers with such different contexts we follow a tried and proven procedure in our OEM distribution agreements that takes the individual situation of the host product into account. We are confident that pdfToolbox does not only integrate well on the technical level but also on the business relationship and licensing arrangement level.