Version 4 Specifications: Overview

Version 4 Specifications: Overview


In the world of the Ghent PDF Workgroup, a specification is a set of guidelines to which a PDF file should conform. A practical example of a guideline could be the color spaces allowed in a PDF file or the image resolution required for images in a PDF file.

The Ghent PDF Workgroup defines a number of different specifications. The reason multiple specifications exist is to support different market segments, different output processes or different workflows. As a practical example, a magazine advertisement workflow is going to have totally different guidelines than a newpaper workflow.

The version 4 specifications bring some marked new developments to the table:

  • The standard set of specifications has been fully updated for the newest software releases, including Adobe Acrobat 8 and 9
  • The latest version of standardized ICC profiles for the various market segments are now incorporated and replace the Generic GWG ICC profile

This page contains general information on the version 4 specifications. The other pages in this section (available from the navigation bar at the top of the section) point you to:

  • Documentation
    Full documentation for the version 4 specifications. This section is intended for associations and vendors who want to examine all settings in detail. You’ll find information about the specifications themselves and the reference implementations used by the Ghent PDF Workgroup for testing purposes.

The Role of PDF/X

In 2004 we could simply state that all Ghent PDF Workgroup specifications were based on, and compliant with the PDF/X standards. In 2005 we need to qualify this statement because of the addition of the packaging specifications.

In packaging, features such as support for live transparency in PDF files and support for multiple layers are important and necessary. In the current versions of PDF/X supported by the Ghent PDF Workgroup (PDF/X-1a:2001) those features are not allowed. As a result the packaging specification is not PDF/X compliant.

All other specifications are still compliant with the PDF/X standards as before.

Market Segments

For version 4 the ten Ghent PDF Workgroup specifications are restricted to the following market segments:

  • Advertising for newspapers
  • Advertising for magazines
  • Commercial sheet offset printing
  • Commercial web offset printing
  • Publication gravure printing
  • Packaging

Specifications for the market segments Packaging and Office Document Printing can also be found in the Technical Specifications category.