Processing Steps Specification

It is common practice in the packaging and other segments of the printing industry industry to add additional objects and metadata in a PDF that will not be used for printing the final product e.g. cut lines.  This data corresponds to additional processing steps (e.g. die cutting).

At this point in time, the method used to store these objects in the PDF is not standardized. As a consequence multiple methods are used depending on the application used to generate the PDF and the preferences of the user. For example, in 1 PDF the cut line can be stored in a layer called “CAD” using a contour with a stroke in spot color “coupe”, while in another PDF the cut line is stored in the same layer as the graphics and is represented as a contour with a stroke in spot color “cut”.

This lack of standardization leads to problems of interoperability between companies and systems. Suppose, for example, a converter (the packaging equivalent of a printer) has configured its RIPs to ignore “cut” inks in incoming PDF files.  If he the converter now receives a PDF with an ink “coupe”, he risks wasting an extra plate.

This document describes a standardized method for storing data (objects and metadata) corresponding to additional processing steps in a PDF.

Warning: This specification has been submitted to ISO for standardization. At the time of writing, the ISO standardization process is not finalized. As a consequence the final ISO standard ISO 19593-1 may deviate from this document. Implementers are strongly advised to base their work on the ISO documents.

The download on the right includes the GWG processing steps specification, a ZIP-file with 3 sample files of processing steps and the whitepaper ‘’Using PDF to associate processing steps and content data’.

These sample files are provided and are built based on the current iteration of the ISO/DIS 19593-1 document as of May 2016. The design, development, and production of these files were graciously provided by Phototype and the IP (Intellectual Property) rights for these specific files have been released to the GWG. The GWG retains the IP rights to these files going forward, and is not releasing these rights by providing these sample files for use. The GWG requests, that as you use these files for testing and other development processes, that the content and graphics of these files are not to be altered or pieces removed, or changed in any way. Before using these sample files in any promotional efforts, please review the usage intent with the marketing group at GWG for approval before any public release is done. The files can be used for testing and demonstrations in your environment as long as you adhere to the parameters of not changing the content and approval is received before any public release by your company.

If you have any questions, please contact the GWG Packaging Committee chairmen for help or more information via the GWG administrator.

73.11 MB File Size