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PDF Proofing Comes of Age

(June 2007) posted on Thu Jun 07, 2007

The cost and scheduling benefits of adding PDF proofs to your production workflow.

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By Stephen Beals

Helpful Tools
As indicated in the main text, the collaboration tools in Acrobat 8 Professional are easier to use than ever, and they’ve have been improved and expanded upon. Some have been available since earlier versions, but in this edition, Adobe has finally put together a complete package. Briefly, Acrobat Professional allows you to: attach sticky notes that point to specific areas of concern; accept, reject, and track comments and changes; and even automate the e-mail delivery of the changes. With the addition of the optional Connect service, all of these features can be used in real time through any standard browser. You can share your screen with any client, so you are both commenting on the same file at the same time, and of course all comments and changes are tracked and annotated for future review, leaving all the information you need for billing and verification. And in any case, you can attach digital signatures to "sign off" on the final proof.

Several companies are making helpful tools for a PDF workflow, and it is well worth looking at them if you intend to use PDF proofs on a regular basis. Here are just a few (see the January 2007 issue of The Big Picture, p. 46, for a more comprehensive list):

* Enfocus PitStop ( has become an industry standard for editing PDF files. It is a plug-in for Acrobat and also comes in a server version with various automation features. The company also has introduced PitStop Automate for creation, editing, and workflow automation.

* Markzware FlightCheck Professional ( offers extensive controls for checking and certifying PDF files. Its Flight-Check online product can verify files being submitted on-line and offer feedback for correcting any potential problems before the file is sent.

* Apago ( makes several PDF products, but PDF Enhancer will automate the assembly, preparation, and optimization of PDF for Print. It also does a great job of repurposing PDF and merging. For example, you can drop a file into Enhancer and automatically create a Web, print, and office version of the same file.

* Callas Software ( also makes several PDF products: its pdfInspektor will verify file construction; pdfCorrect will search for and repair dozens of common output related problems; and pdfColorConvert will convert spot colors to CMYK, convert the entire job to grayscale, or merge spot colors.