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PDF/X, PDF/A, PDF/E

The next three categories all address compatibility with three standards to which a PDF file may conform. These standards consist of a set of rules that ensure a PDF file will have the best chance of working well. The three standards are:

  • PDF/X: Ensures the file will work when sent for professional printing (all fonts embedded, no RGB colors, etc.).
  • PDF/A: Ensures the file is appropriate for archiving-that is, it will remain readable for a long time, despite changes in technology.
  • PDF/E: Makes the file particularly useful for engineering documents.

All three of these standards have variations that we’ll ignore here, though we’ll talk about the different flavors of PDF/X in a future article.

The extent to which these standards matter to you depends mostly on what your print service needs. Ask if they need PDF files to be PDF/X compliant. If so, the controls in the Convert category (Figure 17) will call predefined PDF fix-its which will change your PDF file so it conforms to the PDF/X rules. The control settings in Figure 16 are a reasonable choice for a printed document.

Figure 17

Figure 17 You can have the preflight engine modify your PDF file so it conforms to one of the PDF standards. The options I’ve selected here are appropriate to a professionally printed document.

These standards don’t apply to my eBook, so I’ll leave these controls at their default, Ignore-it settings. We’ll talk about PDF/X in a future article.

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