What is PDF/X used for?
PDF/X files are primarily designed for printing and publishing. Each version was created with different requirements and features in mind, so they may therefore suit different kinds of projects.
- With PDF/X-1a, all fonts must be embedded and the images need to be CMYK or spot colours.
- PDF/X-3 is less restrictive and can use CMYK, RGB, Lab and ICC-based colour spaces.
- PDF/X-4 supports transparencies and comprises all the necessary data without the need for flattening.
- PDF/X-5 includes added support for external graphics and profiles used for rendering intent. It can also be used for partial exchange of printing data.
Advantages of PDF/X files.
- Optimises prints - The strict requirements of PDF/X can help users create better quality prints by following printing best practice.
- Multiple versions available - Each version of PDF/X builds upon the previous one, so users have a wide range of file options to choose from. The different versions offer flexibility, better results for specific projects and also enable reliable exchange.
- Lower chance of errors - You are less likely to face printing errors by following the specific requirements for PDF/X.
The best type of PDF for your project will depend on your specific aims and objectives. If you’re looking to produce high-quality prints, a PDF/X file could be the best choice. However, if you want to enable wide-scale accessibility, PDF/ UA could be the most suitable option.
How to open a PDF/X file.
To open a PDF/X file on Mac or Windows, simply double-click the file to open it. Your software or PDF/X reader - preferably Adobe Acrobat - will then examine the filename extension. If it recognises the file, it will open it for you to view.
How to create and edit a PDF/X file.
You can create a PDF/X file by using Adobe Acrobat. The software has PDF/X-1a support built into Acrobat Distiller, used for PostScript conversion and now merged into the wider tool-set.
If you want to convert an existing PDF document into a PDF/X-1a file, you can do this with Adobe Acrobat Pro. As long as your file complies with the specific requirements, you can save your PDF as a PDF/X by following these simple steps:
- Open the file you want to convert to PDF/X in Acrobat
- Select Tools > Print Production > Preflight
- In the panel that opens, choose which PDF/X variant you want to save your file as
- In order to avoid any compatibility issues for the conversion and check that sufficient standards are met, select ‘Analyse and Fix’ - and allow fixes for any identified problems to be enacted
- Select a location where you would like to save the file. Click File then Save As and choose Adobe PDF (PDF/X). When asked which PDF/X standard you want to save the file as, pick the correct one and click Save.
Is PDF/X safe?
As a subset of the wider PDF format, PDF/X documents benefit from the same robust security measures as the Portable Document Format at large. This means that they are typically safe to share and exchange with others - contributing to their widespread popularity in the printing and publishing industries.
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