Apago, Inc. recently announced a new XML data format that enables publishers and advertisers to exchange the dimensional specifications required for print advertising, and in tandem announced Box Editor, a new, interactive software tool that uses this XML format to simplify the preparation of PDF/X files and verification that the ads they contain meet publisher's requirements.
Apago also reported that New York publishers Time, Inc. and CMP Media are the first to support the XML format, adding that both plan to post ad specifications for their publications on their Web sites in this format. The company expects other publishers and organizations to announce support for the format as a standard way to exchange advertising specifications.
"Even though PDF/X files have been widely adopted for advertising workflow, the bleed and trim data they require often contain incorrect specifications leading to costly mistakes and lost time. To place ads on pages and impose pages and spreads efficiently, publishers need PDF/X files from advertisers with accurate data in bleed and trim boxes," said Apago president Dwight Kelly.
"Although extensible markup language, or XML, is well suited to the task of exchanging ad specifications, previous attempts were complex and not widely implemented," Kelly continued. "We have proposed both a standard way for publishers to supply the bleed and trim data, and a simple and inexpensive software tool that allows advertisers to import that data and easily manipulate it within a PDF/X file."
Standard Format for Exchanging Ad Specifications
Apago's open XML format makes it easy for publishers to publish ad specifications on the Web, enabling advertisers to easily download the XML file and import it into Box Editor software. Currently, advertisers or their prepress providers visit each publication's Web site, print the specifications for reference and manually enter the bleed and trim sizes to create a template page in a layout program such as QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign. The new XML format allows all of the specifications for each publication to be in one downloadable file, thereby avoiding data entry errors.
Support from Time, Inc. and CMP Media
Erik Cullins, Associate Director of Digital Development, Time, Inc., remarked, "We have made great progress toward our goal of receiving 100% PDF inbound advertising files. One big challenge we still face is that virtually every PDF/X-1a file we receive includes page dimensions that are almost always incorrect and requires manual cropping to define what the trim and bleed dimensions should be. By having true page geometry defined in a PDF file, we will be able to take further advantage of what PDF/X1-a has to offer. New and sophisticated workflow tools that enable a file creator (or receiver) to properly specify where they intend the page to trim will help remove a time consuming and potentially error prone process later in the production cycle," Cullins says.
Elizabeth Wimmer, Premedia Director for CMP Media said, "CMP has always been proactive in providing educational tools and in recommending software to help our advertisers prepare better PDF/X files. CMP is making ad specifications for all our titles optionally available in the Apago open XML format to promote the reliable exchange of ad size information, and we are adding Box Editor to our list of standard internal production procedures as a PDF/X verification tool. We hope our advertisers will import CMP ad specifications using the new XML format and adopt Apago Box Editor to prepare ads because both will help them to provide better, more accurate PDF/X ad files."
Manipulate Ad Content in PDF/X Files
Box Editor is a low-cost plugin to Acrobat that allows advertisers to easily set in a PDF/X file the industrystandard "bleed and trim" dimensions or "boxes" that define the size of an ad and how it will print. The software allows advertisers to import and export bleed and trim data in the new XML format to create a "Library" of ad specifications for different publications.
Pricing and Availability
Apago Box Editor 1.0 is compatible with Acrobat 5.0 and later and runs on Mac OS 9 and OS X, and Windows platforms. The new software costs $29. Apago also has bundled Box Editor software in the latest version of its $249 PDF preflight software, PDF/X Checkup 3.0.
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