[OS X TeX] Why is pdflatex not good enough?

William F. Adams wadams at atlis.com
Thu Jul 8 15:25:10 CEST 2004

On Wednesday, July 7, 2004, at 07:33  PM, Maarten Sneep wrote:

> I don't know what these settings-files for Acrobat do, but if those 
> settings can be used somehow, then we could just pretend that the file 
> was generated in the way they specified... Anyone around with better 
> insight into this subject matter?

The big problems with pdflatex from a publisher's viewpoint:

  - font inclusion / non-standard fonts, esp. Type 3
  - missing some tables required for say PDF/X compliance (these can be 
  - placed .pdf graphics are ``form'' objects, which many older pdf 
tools can't reach inside of to fix / examine
  - failure to set certain pre-press oriented settings such as overprint 
for multi-colour jobs

Lesser problems include

  - colour model (don't use RGB, and spots are hard to accommodate)

That said, a decent work-around for much of the above in Mac OS X is to 
set up one's .pdf generation in Mac OS X to conform to PDF/X, open a 
.pdf in Preview or TeXshop and print-save to a .pdf

Here's a link which discusses this and the settings:


(It's mostly correct)

That does introduce one other wrinkle:

  - use of very new .pdf stuff (pdf version 1.4 or later)

But that can be sidestepped by using a commercial printer with an 
up-to-date RIP.

William Adams, publishing specialist
voice - 717-731-6707 | Fax - 717-731-6708

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