PDF - the Portable Document Format

Adobe created the PDF (Portable Document Format) format as a way to deliver Optimized Postscript to the masses. The development of the free 'Adobe Acrobat Reader' was a major push into digital convergence. Adobe had distributed 250,000 free copies of Acrobat Reader before Microsoft had identified that it's Internet Explorer browser should be bundled with their Windows operating system.

With the PDF format, we were first able to guarantee that documents would appear the same on all platforms. It was the first proprietary digital format capable of printing out elegant print designs, typography and highly graphic layouts in a true cross-platform manner. Prior to Acrobat, the only way computer output devices were able to achieve these imaging results, was by natively using the Postscript format with machines that appropriately licensed the scripting language.

Today PDF is considered an open standard, and developers have created many different 'free PDF reader' products that compete with Adobe's Acrobat Reader. There are also several different subsets of the PDF standard that have been introduced. Some of these include PDF/X (printing and graphic arts - ISO 15930), PDF/A (document archiving - ISO 19005, PDF/E (engineering - ISO TC171), and PDF/UA (universally accessible PDF files).

These links will allow you to dig a little deeper into the world of PDF:


Here's a table of some current industry PDF utility programs.
We've tested most of these products and integrated a variety of PDF document management systems.

Company Application(s) OS Retail Price Ranking
ABBY Software House

PDF Transformer Win $50.00 USD -
Acronnect Software
ImageEngine Standard
ImageEngine Professional
ImageEngine Export Standard
ImageEngine Export Professional

Mac 89-220 Euros
Adobe Systems, Inc.
www.adobe .com
Acrobat 7.0 Professional
Acrobat 7.0 Standard
Acrobat 7.0 Elements/Elements Server
Acrobat Distiller
Acrobat Capture 3.0
Acrobat Messenger 1.0
Creative Suite
Create Adobe PDF Online
Adobe LiveCycle Designer

Mac, Win, Solaris*, Linux* $10.00 per mo. - $15,000.00 USD -
Apago Inc.
PDF/X Checkup
PDF Enhancer/Enhancer Professional
PDF Enhancer Server/Enhancer Advanced Server

Mac, Win, Solaris, AIX $35.00 -
$1999.00 USD
Appligent Inc.
PDF Foundry
APSplit/APSplit Desktop
StampPDF Plug-in/StampPDF Batch

Mac, Win, Linux, Solaris, UNIX $179.00 -
$2995.00 USD
Arts PDF Inc.
Nitro PDF Professional
PDF Aerialist/PDF Aerialist Pro
PDF Split & Merge
PDF Stamper
PDF ImageWorks
PDF Stratify
PDF Variform Lite/PDF Variform Plus

Mac, Win $99.00 -
$699.00 USD
Artwork Systems

Mac $10,000.00 -
$15,000.00 USD
BCL Technologies
EasyPDF Printer Driver
ALLPDF Converter
BCL Jade
BCL Magellan
easyPDF Reflow SDK
Magellan SDK
PDF Reflow SDK
easyPDF Folder Watcher Server
Magellan Folder Watcher Server
PDF Reflow Folder Watcher Server
Mac, Win, Linux $10.00 USD - Call -
Callas Software
Mac, Win $99.00 -
$1499.00 USD
Dalim Software

Mac, Win, Linux Call -

DynaStrip 4.4

Mac, Win Call -
Enfocus Software
PitStop Professional
PitStop Server
PitStop Automate
Instant PDF
PDF Workflow Suite

Mac, Win $199.00 -
$5999.00 USD -

SCOPE workflow Mac, Win Call -
Farrukh Systems Ltd.

Imposition Publisher 4.6

Mac, Win Call -
FyTek Inc.
PDF Report Writer
PDF Report Writer Lite
PDF Charts
PDF Forms
PDF Optimizer
PDF Image Stream
Text 2 PDF
PDF Meld
PDF Briefcase
PDF File Save

Mac, Win, Linux, Solaris, UNIX $20.00 -
$300.00 USD
Global Graphics Software Inc.
Jaws PDF Creator
Jaws PDF Editor
Jaws PDF Server
Jaws PDF Courier
Jaws RIP

Mac, Win Call -
Heidelberg USA Inc.
Prinect PDF Assistant
Prinect Signa Station
Prinect Printready
Prinect Trap Editor
Prinect Color Editor
Prinect MetaDimension
Prinect Profile Toolbox
Prinect Remote Access

Mac, Win Call -
Kodak Graphic Communications
Prinergy and Brisque workflow systems
Kodak Prepare
Kodak inSite
Kodak Teamworks
Kodak EyeMedia
Kodak Preps
Kodak Pandora
Kodak UpFront

Mac, Win Call -
Krause Imposition Manager (KIM) PDF 5.0

Win Call -
Lucid Dream Software Inc.

Mac, Win $1595.00 -
$4695.00 USD
Markzware Software

FlightCheck Professional 5.x

Mac, Win $499.00 USD -
PDF Converter 3
PDF Converter Professional 3
PDF Create! 3

Win $50.00 -
$100.00 USD
PDF Tools AG
3-Heights PDF Desktop Analysis & Repair Tool
3-Heights PDF Printer & Printer Service
3-Heights PDF Viewer and Viewer Pro
3-Heights Image to PDF Converter
3-Heights PDF Optimization Tool
3-Heights PDF Extract Tool

Mac, Win, Linux, Solaris, UNIX $120.00 -
$360.00 USD
Quite Software
Quite a Box of Tricks
Quite Imposing
Quite Imposing Plus
Quite Revealing

Mac, Win $204.00 -
$899.00 USD
Rampage Systems Inc.
Rampage JVX

Win Call -
Recosoft Corporation
PDF2Office Personal
PDF2Office Professional

Mac, Win $49.00 -
$129.00 USD
RIPit Imaging Systems
OpenRIP Symphony
OpenRIP Flexo

Win $3,500.00 -
$16,500.00 USD
SmileOnMyMac LLC

Mac $50.00 -
$90.00 USD
Ultimate Technographics Inc.
Impostrip unlimited client-server v8.x
Impostrip Solo client-server v8.x
Impostrip v7.x
Impostrip Ganging v2.x

Mac, Win $4,000.00 -
$7,000.00 USD
Xerox Corporation
FreeFlow Web Services 4.0
FreeFlow Process Manager 4.0
FreeFlow Makeready 4.0
FreeFlow Print Manager
FreeFlow Output Manager
FreeFlow Variable Information Suite
FreeFlow DocuSP
FreeFlow AccXES (wide format)

Mac, Win, Linux, Solaris, UNIX $3995.00 -
$20,000.00 USD - Call

Over the last decade, we have built custom applications, plug-ins, Photo Databases, eBooks, annual reports, user manuals, product catalogs, brochures, Internet help centers, and archiving systems using the PDF format. With the latest release of Adobe's Acrobat platform, one thing is certain -- that this format is here to stay, and will continue to play a large part in the creation of electronic document systems.

To preview our PDF portfolio & eBook collection, or schedule an appointment to preview our studio resource center - please contact us.

+1.412.462.1123 Tel.
+1.412.462.9335 Fax


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218 West 8th Avenue, West Homestead, PA 15120-1011 USA
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Site last modified: 5/30/06