Many manuals are already presented in this format – often at the expense of paper-based ones – due to its cross-platform nature. However, there is a downside: editing them – a particular problem for publishers and repro houses. If, say, an advertisement is provided in a native file-format, like XPress, and requires a small change, no problem. If it is supplied as an EPS, FreeHand or Illustrator will usually cope. But PDFs can be very awkward, especially with embedded fonts and RGB images that have not been converted to CMYK – a separate article could be written on this thorny subject.Enfocus CheckUp and PitStop were released to work with Acrobat Exchange 3.0; PitStop 4.0 combines the two products for use with Acrobat 4.0.
The intention is to provide functions to preflight PDFs, correct various errors, and make creative edits.For trouble-shooting, PitStop has a Preflight Control Panel. Here, a pre-set profile is selected that best suits the purpose of the PDF. Each profile has settings for a large number of properties, from the document format through to fonts, colours and images. Options are either a level of severity – ignore, caution or enforce – or an action – such as do, do not, remove or correct.
Custom profiles can be created with the help of the on-screen wizard. PitStop will then create a report, in PDF format, of course, detailing every problem with the file, and it can show them individually.The other side of PitStop handles file editing. Global changes include alterations to colours, fonts and the positioning of items, plus overprint/knockout characteristics and the addition of bleed and trim boxes. The colour changes work on all PostScript colours, XPress boxes and Illustrator items, but not on embedded bitmaps – a serious problem if there is a Photoshop RGB image in the file. This requires another of Enfocus’s tools, Tailor.
A shame that this facility is not included in PitStop – even just as an export option.PitStop adds to Acrobat with a variety of editing tools. Any object can be scaled, rotated or sheared; and any path can be altered. Text facilities include paragraph editing and reflow, with access to embedded fonts, as well as System varieties, eyedropper, path, mask and layer functions.
On the editing side, while both FreeHand and Illustrator will load PDFs, neither handle embedded fonts well. Acrobat 4.0’s editing facilities are reasonably basic, making PitStop the ideal answer. The preflight report is invaluable, showing a number of errors. Perhaps Enfocus may include Tailor’s facilities in the next upgrade.