A look at Acrobat Pro, Enfocus PitStop, Apago PDF Enhancer, and Callas pdfColorConvert.
With Pitstop, you can also: change overprint settings; move,
rotate, scale, or shear objects; change the color of line art; re-
sample images; modify the color space of images and objects;
and change or remove OPI information. In addition, you can
add, modify, or remove spot colors. Price: $599, for Mac and
In addition, PDF Enhancer automatically gets rid of unneeded
objects and applies optimal compression. The effect of running
a PDF through Enhancer can not only significantly reduce the
file size, but also the amount of work your RIP will need to do.
The program allows you to build customized enhancement
scripts by combining and altering "targets." The number and
types of enhancements you can make are virtually unlimited,
and the program can be somewhat intimidating simply
because there are so many different ways you can use it. But
the preset tools are very easy to understand and apply, and
apago has a reputation for helping its customers find solutions
for specific needs.
Price: standard edition, $199; Professional edition, $399
(the version you will want); server edition, $999; and advanced
server edition $1999. PDF Enhancer 3.1 is available as a
free upgrade to customers who previously purchased PDF
If color conversion is the chief problem you have with PDF
documents, as it is with many PDF production workflows, this
is a relatively inexpensive solution. Converting a document to
monochrome is as simple as selecting the proper rendering
intent with one button click, and then hitting the convert button.
When converting colors, pdfColorConvert automatically creates
a copy of the original document so it is only the copy that is actually
modified. Because this functionality has been automated,
it's virtually impossible to accidentally overwrite the original.
Price: approximately $367 ("??299), Mac or Windows. Callas
has a free downloadable sample version that puts a Callas
watermark on all documents, but is otherwise fully functional.
A justifiable ROI
Adobe is clearly making PDF the format of the future, and it's a
great tool for print production. But editing PDFs can be troublesome
without some added assistance. Tools such as PitStop,
PDF Enhancer, and ColorConvert are great for increasing your
capabilities in dealing with common print-production issues.
Add all those pieces together and you come up with a rather
significant price tag"?but the resultant increase in productivity
could make your return on investment more than sufficient to
justify the cost.
Stephen Beals (firstname.lastname@example.org), in prepress production
for more than 30 years, is the digital prepress manager
with Finger Lakes Press in Auburn, NY.