[XeTeX] Placing .pdfs w/ crop and trim boxes

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Wed Jun 14 13:57:39 CEST 2006

On Jun 14, 2006, at 4:34 AM, Jonathan Kew wrote:

> On 13 Jun 2006, at 7:59 pm, William Adams wrote:
>> I've gotten pretty far along on re-creating a journal currently done
>> in Quark XPress (~123 crashes cumulative YTD for this and other
>> projects) in XeLaTeX, and am now at the point of placing graphics.
> It's tempting to ask about the corresponding xelatex crash count, but
> perhaps that would be rash..... ;)

0, which I laud and respect. Excellent work on your part (and that of  
DEK and Apple and everyone who's helping you out). ::applause::

I think I crashed the TeXshop beta once, and TeXshop before that once  

>> Cropping in Adobe Acrobat (having their crop box set) isn't respected
>> when they're placed --- is this a known issue? (I couldn't find
>> anything on it) and what causes it?
> Not a known issue to me, mainly because it's not something I've ever
> tried to do. xetex uses Quartz functions to access a PDF file, and
> uses the media box to determine its size. I guess it should be using
> the crop box instead, though; it just hasn't come to my attention
> because I don't crop and place PDFs! :)

Understandable, it's a graphic-design kinda thing to do.

On Jun 14, 2006, at 6:37 AM, Jonathan Kew added:
> If you're inclined to build-your-own-XeTeX, rather than waiting for a
> new release, the current code in Subversion now respects the crop box
> (at least for the simple tests I've run).

Excellent! Checked out, compiled, installed and it works perfectly!  

> Should xetex also consider the trim box of a PDF it's including? If
> so, how would that interact with the crop box?

Sorry, guess I should've explained the different boxes:

  - media box --- this is the total output area which the .pdf takes  
up (for printing, often a number of files will be imaged on a single  
sheet of film --- this allows the whole thing to image w/ crop marks  

  - bleed box --- this is the minimal amount of defined  
``bleed'' (elements which appear at the edge of the trimmed page and  
go beyond it)

  - trim box --- this is the desired physical page area after all  
folding and trimming

  - crop box --- this is how much of the .pdf displays on-screen ---  
sometimes a graphic design shop will set all of the afore-mentioned  
boxes appropriately, then crop down to slightly smaller than trim so  
as to get a design down beneath the threshold at which Acrobat's  
``reduce to page'' feature will be activated so a job can be sent out  
to a client for proofing w/o having to worry so much about it  
printing at the wrong size.

I'd typically want to place an object by its bleed box (so that  
things which bleed can be placed so as to allow this), but a typical  
user would probably want the trim box, but the na{\"\i}ve user will  
probably be confused if anything other than the crop box (matching  
what's shown on-screen) is used. But, a graphic design company which  
didn't use English as its primary language could well want to build  
an imposition system using XeTeX which allowed it to place images  
according to their media box and have Unicode-encoded typeset notes  
about workflow (quantities &c.)....

So, support 'em all!

Seriously, I think it is best to take all possibilities into account  
and allow the user to choose. I think the best default, as I  
indicated above would be either trim or crop.

>> Also, will it be possible to set the crop, trim and media box in
>> XeTeX? Currently I have to manually set the crop box in Acrobat
>> before sending things through Prinergy.
> That would be useful, I guess... I'll need to investigate how to do
> it through Quartz.
> Is this supported by [x]dvipdfmx, and if so how is it specified in
> the source document?

AFAICT it's not, at least I can't find anything w/ a Google search.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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