PDF In-Depth

Review: callas pdfToolbox 3 and DeviceLink-Add-on

About the Author

Filipe Pereira Martins and Anna Kobylinska

Filipe Pereira Martins and Anna Kobylinska are internationally renowned IT consultants and co-founders of Soft1T Consulting, which specializes in workflow design and automation for print, web, post production and...  More



The makers of Acrobat's preflight engine, callas software, have released the third generation of callas pdfToolbox to a growing interest among industry professionals in prepress and print. All for a good reason.

Adobe's PDF technology has emerged as the industry standard second to none (with PDF 1.7 being approved as the ISO 32000 Standard (DIS)) and Acrobat Professional became the standard application used to tweak PDFs destined for commercial printing. Microsoft and Global Graphics have tried to challenge Adobe's PDF with XPS, but without success. Taking on Adobe's PDF head-on is a daunting task and the reward seems to be rarely worth the effort. Instead, the majority of software and hardware makers prefer to subscribe to a strategy once championed by Microsoft and commonly known as "embrace and extend". Embracing Adobe's PDF and extending Adobe Acrobat Professional with plug-ins has enjoyed a growing popularity over the last decade.

With pdfToolbox 3, callas software is offering a set of tools designed to correct and optimize PDF files for a variety of printing environments. In addition to callas pdfToolbox CLI 3 for Unix-savvy geeks and callas pdfToolbox 3 for visually oriented desktop users, callas has released pdfToolbox Server 3, a GUI-equipped edition for hot-folder-based automation.

The callas pdfToolbox 3 Line-up

Callas offers its pdfToolbox 3 in three different editions: pdfToolbox 3, pdfToolbox Server 3 and pdfToolbox CLI 3.

callas pdfToolbox3 is the regular desktop version which plugs in into Acrobat 7 or 8 Standard, Professional or 3D (on Windows Vista, 2000/XP Professional or Mac OS X 10.3-10.5.). It consists of three Acrobat plug-ins: pdfLayerMaker, pdfColorConvert and pdfCorrect.

Plug-in toolbar and menu items

Figure 1. callas pdfToolbox 3 consists of three Acrobat plug-ins: pdfColorConvert (1), pdfCorrect (2) and pdfLayerMaker (3).

For automated deployment, callas offers two standalone versions (no Acrobat required): pdfToolbox CLI 3 and pdfToolbox Server 3.

callas pdfToolbox Server 3 is a newcomer to callas' pdfToolbox product line-up, which provides an easy-to-use front-end to callas CLI modules on Mac OS X and Windows. It is aimed at professional service providers with the need for automated PDF processing.

callas pdfToolbox CLI sports a command-line interface and runs on RedHat Linux, SuSE Linux, Solaris (x86 and SPARC, Version 9 and higher) and IBM AIX. It is primarily of interest to developers and system integrators.

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