Ghent Workgroup PDF Output Suite 5.0

Ghent Workgroup PDF Output Suite 5.0

In the last quarter of 2016, Ghent Workgroup (GWG) announced the release of Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0 for testing and adjusting PDF output workflows with color management in order to be fully compliant with PDF/X-4.

Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0 helps determine whether workflows are behaving as expected, and identifies errors in a fast and simple way. It is distributed as a series of PDF patches that can be applied by end users of graphic arts equipment as well as developers of applications handling PDF files. Each patch is numbered and contains tests for one specific property. The patches can be used individually but most patches can also be grouped together. The most important part of the Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0 package is a six-page PDF with an amalgamation of 48 patches ready to start testing immediately.

Stephan Jaeggi, PrePress-Consulting Switzerland and chair of the Process Control Subcommittee, was the driving force behind the task force of Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0, alongside Didier Haazen, VIGC Belgium, and Peter Kleinhieder, Calibrate Austria. “The Ghent PDF Output Suite is designed to address the complexities of digital prepress files and output settings having a significant effect on the end result of printed materials. We are all very excited about this new version. It is the first release that supports testing of output workflows with color management by adding ICC-based test patches. The test pages are easy to use, requiring little time with great benefits to the user. Eventually, it helps improve the output quality and adds value to the overall throughput.”

Optimal results with PDF/X files
David Zwang, chairman, Ghent Workgroup, comments, “The patches test real world issues that can be found in a production environment. They have been built to easily and unambiguously reveal normally subtle, and sometimes missed, problems. By using the Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0 to test the parameters and settings in applications and RIPs, you can verify or adjust files or settings to produce optimal results when running PDF/X files.”

In Version 5.0, additional patches have been added to test ICC-based objects allowed in PDF/X-4 (ISO 15930-7) to test device-independent workflows. The Ghent Workgroup has abstained from using ICC-based blending spaces in isolated transparency groups for this release since their processing is not clearly defined in PDF 1.6, on which PDF/X-4 is based, creating confusion in RIP implementations.

Patches from the Ghent PDF Output Suite V4.0 are also included in the package, which is now divided into three categories:

  • CMYK: test patches using Device CMYK color only
  • SPOT: test patches using Device CMYK and a spot color
  • CMS: test patches using ICC-based colors and testing color management.

Ghent Workgroup has asked vendor members that provide PDF workflow systems to create their individual setup instructions for a successful processing of Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0. These will help users in setting up the correct parameters for their PDF workflow and processing other PDF/X-4 files. The following vendors have released their settings:

  • AGFA Apogee Prepress 9.2

  • EFI Fiery proServer and Fiery XF (wide format)

  • ESKO Software Platform

  • KODAK PrinergyWorkflow

  • OCE PRISMAsync print server

Other vendors will follow soon. Also Ghent PDF Output Suite will be regularly updated with new patches and revision of existing ones. Therefore, the documentation of each patch is included in each individual patch.

To download all patches and detailed documentation for Ghent PDF Output Suite 5.0, please visit

About Ghent Workgroup
The Ghent Workgroup, formed in June 2002, is an international assembly of industry associations and suppliers from across Europe and the United States. The Ghent Workgroup’s objective is to establish and disseminate process specifications for best practices in graphic arts workflows.

Since its inception over 10 years ago, the organization has consistently produced numerous process specifications for PDF exchange. It has developed useful tools for automating processes and testing, and established consistent PDFs for print and publishing—all available free at

Based on a press release and edited by Naresh Khanna


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