PitStop Pro 6.0 review

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  • Price When Reviewed: 413 . 170

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PitStop Professional is a surprisingly versatile utility that helps the accurate professional printing of PDF documents.

PitStop Professional is a surprisingly versatile utility that helps the accurate professional printing of PDF documents. It’s a combination of manual-editing tools with a comprehensive preflight checker, automatic fixing abilities, and Enfocus’ Certified PDF Technology for embedding file history and restoration metadata. PitStop is a plug-in to Adobe Acrobat and appears as a series of new floating palette menus, plus a set of added tools that extend the editing abilities way beyond Acrobat’s limited standard set. Version 6.0 is compatible with Acrobat 6.0 on Mac OS X. It will run with Acrobat 5 and 4.05 on OS 9. The Windows version so far is only compatible with Acrobat 4.05.

PitStop has more extensive preflighting capabilities than Acrobat 6.0 professional and the same ability to create PDF/X files for professional printing, so you can save £100 and buy the Standard edition of Acrobat.

The manual editing tools allow you to select any object in a PDF and move, delete, or alter it. Selected vector objects are displayed with control points so the outlines can be moved (manually or by the numbers), scaled or reshaped rather like the way Illustrator works. New objects (text or shaped) can be created, coloured, positioned and duplicated.
You can copy-&-paste objects between files.

A PitStop Inspector menu panel can be displayed for selected objects, with a full range of tabs to change the colour fill or stroke, plus printing attributes such as overprints, halftones, transparency, and OPI substitution. Images can be re-sampled and a different compression ratio applied. Text objects can be converted to different fonts or weights, using if necessary any font on your system and not just those embedded in the original PDF.

As with the previous version, PitStop Professional incorporates Enfocus’ Certified PDF Technology, a way of embedding the details of the file creator, its preflight record, and history of editing changes into the PDF itself.

This is useful where a file moves between users and sites and a reliable record is needed. Any Certified PDF compliant reader can view these details, and they are automatically updated if the PDF is altered. The history part allows you to visually compare two versions and return to a previous editing stage if needed.

PitStop’s preflight checks are controlled by profiles, which apply rules to decide what happens when a problem is uncovered. Some potential problems trigger a failure, others just display a warning in the report, and a third group are simply ignored. A set of profiles is supplied, or you can create your own. These profiles can be passed on to other users.

PitStop supports Action Lists – editing and preflighting scripts that can be applied automatically or manually if a problem is detected, such as RGB colours where you want CMYK. More than 100 conditions can be automatically changed. An easy scripting menu means that practically anything Acrobat or PitStop does can be put into a multi-stage action list. Actions can be used within a pre-flight profile for non-standard checks – detecting a particular company logo colour for instance. Action lists can also be transferred to other users, or you can download new lists from the Enfocus Web site.

Most of the new features of PitStop Professional 6.0 deal with the new PDF 1.5 format, such as handling and checking for JPEG 2000 compressed files, 16-bit imaging, and multiple layers. The automatic fixing routines can convert PDF 1.5 to earlier versions and convert JPEG 2000 to ZIP or earlier JPEG.

A Pantone library for specifying colours in the manual-editing tools has been added. The new Smart PDF Comparison tool lets you run different checking profiles against Certified PDFs – for instance a receiving site may want to run a more rigorous check than the original customer did.

Enfocus sells two other related PDF utilities that have been updated for PDF 1.5 and OS X. PitStop Server 3.0 is an automated version of PitStop Professional 6.0, with the same ability to run preflight checks and actions. It costs £1,799.

Instant PDF is a stripped-down, £199 single-user version of PitStop, without manual-editing tools, or the ability to create new profiles and actions. It can load new profiles created by PitStop. The idea is that Instant PDF is run by print customer sites before submitting files, using profiles supplied by the printer.

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