Not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I hope you can send me to the right place if this one isn't. I have problems creating a PDF from XeLaTeX for professional printing.

How it all started: I've been working on a card game since quite some time now. I had a prototype printed months ago where I used Adobe InDesign to put all the elements of the cards together manually. It was a task cumbersome. long, repetetive and boring. With InDesign I made an export as PDF and the printing company printed it happily.

To make my life easier, I started looking around and learned LaTeX. Much (mostly passive) help from this community made me learn enough to build a tool that puts all elements of the cards to the right places automatically. And I do have a PDF document that looks fantastic to me. I took it to the printing company as I did the first time. But now they sent back a bunch of problems to be resolved. I could solve some on my own, but I failed on central points:

  • All text should be turned into paths instead of embedding the font
  • Text needs to be set to overprint
  • Maximum ink coverage must not exceed 305%

While I was able to do the first thing in Adobe Acrobat on the PDF document I generated, I was unable to solve the other two problems on my PDF. For overprint I tried XeTeX & Overprinting and http://tex.aanhet.net/overprint/, but checking the document in Adobe Acrobat afterwards showed I failed to set text to overprint. For the maximum ink coverage I didn't even find a hint, so I suspect I might be looking at the wrong place.

My original goal is to create a PDF document suitable for professional printing with LaTex or subsequent post-processing of the PDF I generated, e.g. using ghostscript. But I am not even sure that is possible. If it is, I am uncertain whether the right approach is to produce an RGB PDF from LaTeX and turn it into CMYK afterwards, or to produce a CMYK PDF in the first place and then process it further, if needed.

And, last thing: I am on a very tight schedule as I have set due dates after I sent the PDF to the printing company as I was a bit naive not expecting above problems. So if there is a short, manual way you know about to fix my generated PDF document using Adobe tools the way the printing company would like it, please tell me. I would also like to fix my LaTeX or add automatic post-processing such that no manual PDF processing is required.

Summing up my questions:

  1. How do I fix the problems in my generated PDF file as soon as possible?
  2. What are the tools (and if possible steps) to automatically generate a PDF document that fulfills the above requirements?
  3. Where in the whole process do I turn things from RGB to CMYK best?
  • 2
    Here are some tools to check ink coverage graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/73233/…. And the colorspace package contains options for overprint. Jun 20, 2020 at 8:37
  • The tools to check ink coverage don't help me to reduce coverage as far as I see. However thanks a lot for pointing towards the colorspace package. It looks promising, does not solve the problems right away, but I still need to make some further checks.
    – olsn
    Jun 20, 2020 at 11:34

1 Answer 1


Alright, after some hints elsewhere and a lot of trial and error I could finally find a quick solution to my urging problem:

Adobe Acrobat has all the tools that are required in the "Preflight" menu. So I could open my generated PDF, then It is important to the steps in the correct order. I only have a German version of the software, so there might be translation errors:

  1. Open the unchanged (RGB) PDF generated by LaTeX (no color profile, no overprint):
    • Convert colors (with desired profile)
    • Set overprint
    • Convert text to paths
    • Save as PDF/X-4
  2. still open
  3. See 1, but not before.

I would still rather do everything automatically, but I've got more time to find the right solution now.

  • Two minor things. 1) I am not getting your points 2 and 3. 2) If you use a Mac, there is Automator.app that might help you out. For Windows there should be third-party tools out there. Jun 21, 2020 at 14:01
  • Points 1 to 3 were meant to match my questions 1 to 3, sorry that didn't come out :)
    – olsn
    Jun 22, 2020 at 6:29

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