Pitstop Server 3.1.1

PitStop Server is standalone software for managing high-volume PDF, PDF/X-1a, and PDF/X-3 workflows. It bulk-processes files – preflighting, auto-correcting and managing them. Simply drop PDFs into a watched hot-folder and PitStop Server automatically processes files using powerful PDF profiles and Action Lists.

It is these profiles that underpin Server, as they are used to verify, auto-correct and certify PDFs. The most commonly used PDF profiles – such as PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 – are included with PitStop Server, and version 3.1 adds many more. Yet digital workflows are unpredictable, so Pitstop allows for the building of profiles that can accommodate those ever-evolving vagaries, variables and glitches unique to each workflow.

There are hundreds of problem-catching options covering areas such as colour management, spot and process colours font style and embedding, resolution, OPI, transparency, and page size. At Macworld, for example, we would need parallel workflow set-ups for ads and editorial. Although both are based on the Pass4Press PDF standard, each has its idiosyncrasies, and so would require unique Pitstop profiles.

Unless flagging-up problems, all workflow-management software should stay out of your face, a rule Pitstop obeys by virtue of automated watched hot-folders. These are set up so that when either PostScript files or PDFs are copied to them they are automatically preflighted, corrected, and then shunted into Success or Failure folders. For those who prefer problem files
to be flagged-up immediately Pitstop is also able to send success-and-failure email alerts.

One of the most significant differences in version 3.1 is the introduction of PDF 1.5 compatibility. This means Server can offer built-in checks to detect the PDF version number, object compression, JPEG 2000, 16-bit per channel images, as well as the existence of layers. In addition, Enfocus has redesigned the colour-management layer, including a number of generic ICC profiles that now come standard with the application.

This version also fixes a problem with Mac OS X’s permissions, whereby files that did not originate from the administrator’s account would not be recognized by Server. However, I discovered another problem when using it in OS 9 with QuarkXPress 4.1, whereby Reports upon Failure said only “Not a PDF file”, giving no clue as to the true problem. The workaround involves copying PostScript files to the desktop and then dragging them to the hotfolder, instead of navigating there from within XPress.


At more than £2,000, Pitstop Server might sound prohibitively expensive. However, what Server gives is peace of mind – so you need to ask what value you place on that. With its system of server-based hotfolders and profiles, Server guarantees that an entire team’s PDFs are scrutinized, corrected and organized scientifically, with a minimum of input from you – saving heaps of time and error-laden heartache in the process.

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