Make a brochure ready to print

This unit explains how to turn a PDF file containing a brochure into a print ready PDF that can be output on a digital printing machine or printing press. Several aspects of inspection and optimization are highlighted.

Launch callas pdfToolbox 

Open the sample file "Adobe History.pdf"

First page in sample document now open

Second page has facing pages (reader spreads)

Third page as well has facing pages (reader spreads)

Open Switchboard

Click on "Arrange" button to navigate to the "Arrange" group of actions

Click on the button "Split in half"

Execute "Split in half"

Review pages in sample PDF

Second and following pages have been turned into single pages

Second and following pages have been turned into single pages

Double check the quality of separations

Visual inspection mode – Various views of process separations

"Visualize process separations" opens showing only the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow channels



All the black text seems to also show up on the CMY color plates. This is not ideal and causes several problems:

  • Text will look fuzzy in the printed result
  • Especially on digital presses, color ink is substantially more expensive than black ink

For optimal print results, black text should only occur on the black separation.

Inspect the black separation

Inspect all four color process separations while hiding spot colors

Showing the page image with all process and spot colorants showing

Adjust black text such that it uses only the black separation – Go to Switchboard

Go to "Colors" group and then click on "Correct 4c Black" button

Execute "Correct 4c Black" action

Correcting the four color black may take a few seconds...

Return to visual Inspection mode for process separations

Display the CMY separations


The black text is now gone from the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow separations.

Inspecting the Black separation


All the text is now only showing on the Black separation, increasing the quality of the output for text as well as reducing the cost for color ink on digital printing devices.

Switch from "Process separations" to "Spot color separations"

Inspect which spot colors are present by viewing "Spot color channels"


Seemingly only one spot color, the Adobe Red, is used here.

Inspect how spot colors and black interact by switching to "Spot color + K channels"

Check non-spot color separations


Sometimes PDFs contain a special color both as a spot color and as a process color. When processing or printing such PDFs, special colors that are expected to look the same will often look slightly different.

Regular page view with all separations showing

Change the appearance of a spot color – Go to the Switchboard

Go to the "Colors" group and then click on the "Spot colors" action

"Spot colors" action shows one spot color and allows for various changes

Modify the CMYK values so they provide a deep purple (30/100/0/50), then click execute

All "Adobe Red" objects are changed to deep purple

Visualize critical areas at the page border – Choose "Visualize safety zone"

Inspect the Trim area for objects that are too close to the border

Switch from "Page border" view to "Bleed area" view

Inspect bleed – Objects ending at trim area should rather extend into bleed area

Adjust bleed area – Go to Switchboard

Go to "Pages" group and click on "Create bleed" button

Choose values for bleed to be added and maximum anamorphic scaling



In sheet fed printing, in most cases it will be sufficient to add 1.5 mm of bleed. Some online print portals even limit the amount of bleed to such a small value to optimize sheet usage. For demonstration purposes, we choose 3 mm to show the effect more clearly.

In cases where objects are already relatively close to the trim area, it is preferable to only use smaller bleed values.

Click on "Execute" and wait a few seconds while pdfToolbox is adjusting the bleed

Return to visual inspection for bleed area

Select "Bleed area" – Verify that the bleed is now sufficient

Go back to first document page

in Switchboard click on "Arrange" group icon

In "Arrange" group, select "Booklet"

Activate cut marks, select "Minimal size" for automatic sheet size, leave offsets at zero

Within seconds, the PDF is imposed into a booklet

Review the result – Pages are now arranged for booklet printing, cut marks have been added

Validate again that bleed is sufficient by using the Loupe tool