Fixing Problem PDF Files Easier With PDF Enhancer

by Kevin Slimp, January 2004

Fixing Problem PDF Files Easier With PDF Enhancer
Every now and then you come upon a software application that makes you ask yourself, “How did I make it without you all these years?” PDF Enhancer, from Apago, Inc. is just such an application.

Over the past few months, I’ve written a great deal about the need to preflight PDF files for potential problems before discovering errors on the printed page. Acrobat 6.0 Professional has gone a long way toward making preflighting a painless task with its new preflight and color separation functions. PDF Enhancer fills in the gaps by offering users the ability to make simple corrections without the risk of changing essential elements on the page.

The stated purpose of PDF Enhancer is to “improve the quality and functionality of PDF files by correcting errors or damage in a document, reducing them in size, and applying such features as security and linearization.” For most users, PDF Enhancer serves to decrease the size of PDF files. Most of us in the newspaper business will never use this feature. The feature we will use is PDF Enhancer’s ability to remove OPI comments from PDF files.

As I have mentioned in the past, OPI comments can be pesky, causing otherwise perfectly good PDF files to produce errors when printed. When using Acrobat Professional 6.0 to preflight PDF files, OPI comments can be found within a document. Unfortunately, Acrobat can’t remove these comments. That’s where PDF Enhancer comes in. Custom settings can be created to remove any OPI comments from PDF files activated through this utility.

Here’s how it works. I opened PDF Enhancer and created three custom “enhancers.” I named these “Newspaper Gray,” “Newspaper CMYK,” and “Newspaper Spot.” Basically, I created each of these enhancers with almost identical settings. Not wanting to take the risk that I could change a font or graphic in a PDF file, my settings called for PDF Enhancer to make no changes to resolution or fonts. In all three enhancers, I instructed the utility to remove OPI elements. In the “Newspaper Gray” enhancer, I selected the option to covert vector and text to gray. In the “Newspaper Spot” enhancer, I selected the option to “preserve spot colors.”

After testing several PDF files with PDF Enhancer, I found the utility to do an excellent job of removing OPI elements from problem files. During testing, no problems arose related to changing fonts, resolutions, or other necessary elements. In addition, hot folders can be created to automate this process.

PDF Enhancer 2.0 is available for Mac OS X (10.1 and later) and Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP. There are three versions available: standard ($179), professional ($349), and two server versions ($999 & $1499). Most newspapers will be interested in the professional or server versions. A free, fully-functional, demo is available at http://www.apago.com/products.html.