This is the twelfth version of callas pdfToolbox. “One would think it would become more difficult to introduce genuine improvements in such a mature product. Instead,” remarks Dietrich von Seggern, Managing Director at callas software, “we are continuously amazed at what our customers accomplish with pdfToolbox. The list of features we want to add, to help them in what they want to do with the product, keeps growing every year. Once more, we’ve tried to strike a balance between improving what was already there, yet at the same time introducing completely new and exciting functionality.”
“Our partners and customers increasingly rely on the PDF validation, correction and transformation capabilities of pdfToolbox,” says David van Driessche, Chief Technology Officer at Four Pees, the worldwide distributor for all callas solutions. “The incredible rate of innovation in the product, coupled with its unmatched stability and performance on all production platforms is paramount in supporting this.” The most important new features and improvements are explained below.
pdfToolbox 11 added a QuickCheck engine: the goal was to extract information from PDFs blazingly fast, even for huge files. In pdfToolbox 12 the complimentary QuickFix engine is introduced, which accomplishes the same for PDF corrections. The QuickFix engine comes with lightning-quick solutions for spot colors, output intents, page boxes, adding and removing pages…
While the performance of pdfToolbox is already out of this world, the QuickFix engine’s goal is to perform modifications in close to constant time, whether it’s on a PDF with a single page or half a million pages. In time-critical environments, this is a game-changer.
For years pdfToolbox has known the concept of “Actions”. You could create these in the Switchboard, and then use them in Process Plans. In pdfToolbox 12, callas promoted Actions to first-class citizens. They now appear in the list of Fixups and have a brand-new editor which allows editing all of their properties, not just those that happen to be visible in the Switchboard. Additionally, they fully support variables, making them a lot more flexible, especially in a Process Plan context.
Color is a critical topic every year, as it’s both complex and used in just about any workflow. pdfToolbox 12 introduces major new color functionality. First up is adding a spot color separation based on ink amounts of objects in the file. This is essential when printing on transparent media and adding a (expensive) white backing layer. Talking about separations, pdfToolbox 12 also introduces minimum and maximum ink checks for individual separations, crucial in flexo workflows, amongst others.
The Visualizer technology includes new sections for the minimum and maximum ink per separation checks, but also adds an out-of-gamut section and the ability to compare color differences between PDFs. The latter provides a heat map of all areas on those files with a color difference larger than a set DeltaE. pdfToolbox of course fully supports all of these novelties in its automated workflows as well.
The Tesseract OCR engine built into pdfToolbox 12 provides a way to automatically create fully searchable text for PDFs that don’t contain live text. This is important in the context of specific standards (such as PDF/A or PDF/UA) but can also be crucial for workflows in which you want to use the text search capabilities pdfToolbox has.
By default, the OCR engine has support for English and German enabled in the product, but you can download other languages if needed.
While this may not be needed in simple, straightforward workflows, it is absolutely crucial in highly flexible environments where pdfToolbox needs to react dynamically on PDFs and metadata coming in.
Compatible with MacOS Big Sur
Recently Apple released its new MacOS Big Sur update. pdfToolbox 12 is fully compatible with this most recent update. callas software has extensively tested pdfToolbox 12 with regard to Apple’s new OS release, and upgrading to it should not give any issues for pdfToolbox 12.
David van Driessche: “We’ve tested the upcoming pdfToolbox v12 and it works well with macOS Big Sur. While we’re all excited about a new macOS update, and we don’t see problems, we do urge users to test before upgrading on production systems. And to make sure backups are in place in case you need to do a roll back.”
Miscellaneous smaller features
Of course, these are not the only new features in pdfToolbox 12. Among the smaller new features are:
- A new (stretching) bleed creation mode specifically for the Sign & Display market.
- New Process Plan steps to compare files, run QuickFixes and merge PDF files.
- Support for new ISO standards (PDF/X-6, PDF/A-4, PDF/VT-3)
- Improved barcode detection for 1D and 2D barcodes.
- A new “Export as previous version” for Profiles and Process Plans.
- Improvements to the contextual preflight system (Sifter).
- Extended “User Unit” (scaling factor) support throughout pdfToolbox.
- Improved bleed creation that adds bleed only when necessary.
- An easier fixup to convert elements to Rich Black.
- DPart (Document Part) creation.
- The introduction of free tools that can be used without product activation.
- Improved visualization of page boxes and units in pdfToolbox Desktop.
- Support for pdfToolbox Server in the License Server.
- Better spot color name display throughout the product.
Availability and price
callas pdfToolbox 12 is available as of today:
● pdfToolbox Desktop for manual processing as a plug-in within Adobe Acrobat or standalone, starts at 500 EUR. An upgrade from pdfToolbox 11 costs 200 EUR, and an upgrade from pdfToolbox 10 costs 300 EUR.
● pdfToolbox Server, CLI, and SDK for fully automated, hands-off processing and integration in other solutions start at 4000 EUR. Upgrades to pdfToolbox Server / CLI / SDK 12 are included in the maintenance agreement. Customers without an active maintenance agreement should contact callas software.
For further inquiries regarding availability, price, options or return on investment, please contact the callas software distribution partner, Four Pees at firstname.lastname@example.org. Download a fully functional time-limited trial version from www.callassoftware.com.