Monday May 11, 2020

How to handle PDFs with layered versions in Switch

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.

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 single submit point where the incoming job can be identified as a folder of separate PDFs or one layered PDF.


Jobs are routed based on a drop-down menu that is presented in the submit point. 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 Toon Van Rossum

Switch Automation

Switch Product Manager, Toon Van Rossum has been working at Enfocus for 7 years, in several roles (customer service, QA and software development) after obtaining his bachelor degree in Graphic Arts.

Using his deep knowledge and passion for Switch and technology in general, Toon is in charge of strengthening the Switch product and architecture, ensuring it keeps up with the ever-changing market requirements.

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