What is PDF/X?

The PDF/X is the subset of the PDF ISO standard. It is formalized in ISO standards 15929 and 15930. The PDF/X (the "X" is for eXchange) standard was developed at the request of graphics technology to facilitate the exchange of documents. Note that PDF/X is not a special version of PDF. It is a standard that seeks to avoid problems that may arise when exchanging documents required for seamless graphic production (professionally printed products).

A PDF document created according to the PDF/X standard must meet the following parameters:

  • The PDF document must not be separated.
  • The PDF document must not be password protected or have some other restriction.
  • All objects required for processing a PDF document must be embedded in the document itself.
  • All fonts used in the PDF document must be embedded.
  • LZW compression is not allowed.
  • Trapping must be defined.
  • Output intent must be specified.
  • If the bleed zone is defined, the BleedBox must be outside the printable area (the TrimBox).
  • Active content is not allowed in a PDF/X file.

Find out more about the different versions of the PDF/X standards at the following link: List of the PDF/X standards.