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Four PDF Helpers

(March 2006) posted on Thu Mar 16, 2006

A look at Acrobat Pro, Enfocus PitStop, Apago PDF Enhancer, and Callas pdfColorConvert.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Stephen Beals

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
Windows Platforms.

  • Apago PDF Enhancer: apago ( has
    been creating OEM products for PDF creation and editing for
    several years, but only recently has the company attempted
    to push its products under the apago name. PDF Enhancer
    may become as much a "must have" product for PDF editing
    and management as Pitstop has become, but it does not
    replace Pitstop (and, unlike Pitstop, it's a standalone application,
    not a plug-in to acrobat). The key uses of Enhancer are to
    repurpose existing PDF files for different uses"?you can, for
    instance, create hot folders that will allow you to automatically
    create a high-res file for print output and a low-res file for
    Web viewing, and perhaps a file for printing on your office laser
    printer all at the same time. You can also quickly merge several
    PDF files into one document and put new page numbers
    on the complete document.

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
Enhancer 3.0.

  • Callas pdfColorConvert: From Callas (www.callassoftware.
    com), pdfColorConvert does one basic thing and does it
    simply, quickly, and elegantly: It allows you to convert RGB and
    spot colors to CMYK, as well as making it possible to adjust and
    modify individual spot colors in a PDF document. "Intelligent
    conversion" can also be accomplished by assigning or deleting
    ICC color profiles. It also is a simple matter to convert the entire
    document to monochrome"?a quick solution for RGB "richblack"
    documents created by office programs.

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 (, in prepress production
for more than 30 years, is the digital prepress manager
with Finger Lakes Press in Auburn, NY.