Visually inspect PDF files

One of the biggest strengths of pdfToolbox is its ability to preflight PDF documents and return a detailed list of errors and warnings about a PDF file. But in some cases “good” or “not good” simply isn’t a detailed enough answer. In such cases pdfToolbox (and pdfaPilot) provide the visualizer to visually inspect a PDF file.

Ink coverage

Perhaps the best example of cases where the visualizer proves its worth is when a preflight check tells you that a PDF document uses too much ink.

Figure 1: visualizer showing ink coverage for a PDF document

The ink coverage mode of the visualizer overlays the PDF document with a gray mask and highlights any area of the file that goes over a certain threshold with bright colors: yellow for small overruns, progressing to red and purple for serious overruns. This gives you an immediate view on how serious the ink coverage problem is and can help you decide whether the file could still be printed or not.


In cases where you doubt whether a file will separate correctly, or you simply want to examine the ink mix or overprint of certain elements the visualizer comes in handy as well. It provides a number of different separation preview modes to view single separations, just the process separations, just the spot color separations and more.

Figure 2: visualizer showing the cyan separation only

When previewing separations, pdfToolbox here also shows the total ink amount (in percentage of the surface of the trimbox and in square cm) for separations. This information could of course be used in cost calculations.

Safety zone

While pdfToolbox and pdfaPilot provide a preflight check to detect whether objects have enough bleed, this again is an area where visual inspection can often decide more accurately whether a document is in fact good for print or not.
The visualizer has a “safety zone” mode in which it highlights either the page border or the bleed area. These tools can help greatly to help judge a particular PDF document.

Figure 3: visualizer previewing the bleed area


You can read much more about all of the products mentioned in the product pages on the website. Or simply contact us for a personalized demo or to ask more in-depth questions.