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

Siep Kroonenberg siepo at cybercomm.nl
Thu Jul 8 23:18:47 CEST 2004

On Thu, Jul 08, 2004 at 09:25:10AM -0400, William F. Adams wrote:
> 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

This can usually be fixed by generating mapfiles with updmap with
the right settings in updmap.cfg. For print publishing, you should
also include the base-14 (Times etc.).

And don't forget that included graphics may bring their own font
problems with them.

>  - missing some tables required for say PDF/X compliance (these can be 
> added)
>  - 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

For overprinting, you can give my overprint.sty at
http://tex.aanhet.net/overprint/ a try.  It seems to do what it is
supposed to do, judging by Acrobat's separation preview, but for the
project for which I wrote it I ended up submitting a preseparated
pdf instead, on request of the printer.

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

Fortunately, not everybody insists on pdf/x or makes a fuss about

For just black plus spotcolor, you can one of cyan/magenta/yellow
stand for the spotcolor. Context has better spotcolor support.

> 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

Do you have first-hand experience with re-saving pdftex-generated
pdf with preview? One might worry that Preview might mangle a
basically good if not quite pdf/x conforming pdftex-produced pdf.

> Here's a link which discusses this and the settings:
> http://www.creativepro.com/printerfriendly/story/21266.html
> (It's mostly correct)

One thing which may not have been mentioned: the PostScript-to-pdf
conversion of Preview is done by a command-line program pstopdf,
which you can use directly if you want.

> That does introduce one other wrinkle:
>  - use of very new .pdf stuff (pdf version 1.4 or later)

If you don't need the new pdf stuff, put a line


in your preamble, just to be sure.

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

Unfortunately, when dealing with publishers, it is rarely the author
who picks the printer.

Siep Kroonenberg
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