Monday May 11, 2020

How to handle PDFs with layered versions using PitStop Server 2020

Dealing with language layers

PitStop 2020 has a handy new feature. Using an Action List, it is now possible to overlay one PDF file onto another. Born from the Overlay PDF Action List is the Overlay PDF app available for free on the Enfocus Appstore. A related app, which is also free, is Split PDF Layers. Using a combination of these two, you can handle versioned PDF submissions in an automated way.

In this example, you are printing a children’s book in multiple languages. This job type will typically be submitted in one of two ways. Your customer will either supply one PDF with each language in a separate layer or supply one PDF for the common elements and one PDF each for the languages. In either scenario, you can handle these jobs with one Switch flow that contains both of the apps mentioned above.

Requirements for this solution: PitStop Server 2020 and optionally, Overlay PDF and Split PDF Layers apps.

Scenario A

The customer has given you one layered PDF file with all of the languages.


You will make use of the Split PDF Layers app to create one PDF for each language, while keeping the common elements and marks in place. Within the properties of the app, you can assign which layers will be kept in each new PDF file and how to name each file. Using the layer name as the file name will do perfectly for this particular PDF.

Your results will be one PDF with each language layered onto the common elements.

Scenario B

The customer has supplied you with a PDF for the common elements and one PDF each for the languages.

You can submit this job as a folder of PDF files and make use of the Overlay PDF app to assemble each language onto the common elements. You will have to park the common PDF in a location and refer to it in the app settings as each language layer PDF passes through for merging.


The results from this part of your Switch flow will be one PDF each with the language PDF overlaid onto the common PDF.

The Switch flow


The full Switch flow will look like this in its most basic form. It uses a network folder as an input for single PDF files or folders of PDF files.

Jobs are routed based on whether it is a single PDF or folder. With a fairly simple Switch flow that uses the Overlay PDF app and the Split PDF Layers app, you are able to create a workflow that handles two common ways that you could receive versioned jobs.

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About Andrew Bailes-Collins

PitStop Pro 2018

Andrew Bailes-Collins is Senior Product Manager at Enfocus.

He graduated from what is now the London College of Communications and went on to serve an apprenticeship as a compositor. He has worked for a number of vendors in the printing and publishing sector, including Scangraphic, Apple and DuPont/Crosfield.

Andrew has been Prepress Manager for several high-quality printing companies in London, managing the change from conventional production techniques to digital. An early adopter of computer-to-plate and PDF workflow, Andrew then worked at OneVision Software for ten years. Initially based in the UK, before rising through the company to become Head of Product Management Europe at their head office near Munich in Germany.

Andrew joined Enfocus and moved to Belgium in 2011 and is the Senior Product Manager responsible for the PitStop family of products. He is also the Technical Officer for the Ghent Workgroup and Co-Chair of the GWG specifications sub-committee.

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