I'm about to finish my report for this semester. My document inlucdes a lot of pictures and schematics from different (external) sources. Now the printery (prepress) is complaining about transparencies and transfer curves in my final pdf.

I know that transparencies and transfer curves are included in the images I use (mainly PDFs) and pdfLaTeX doesn't seem to reduce transparencies. Is there a way to tell the compiler to create a document that is suitable for professional printing? I included a list of the packages I used. Thanks for help!


\usepackage[colorlinks,pdfpagelabels,pdfstartview = FitH,bookmarksopen = true,bookmarksnumbered = true,linkcolor = black,plainpages = false,hypertexnames = false,citecolor = black]{hyperref}

With help of ghostscript, you can try these two steps:

  1. convert your PDF file from PDF to PostScript (default: level 2):

    pdf2ps document.pdf document.ps
  2. convert this PostScript file from PostScript to PDF v1.3:

    ps2pdf13 document.ps document-v1.3.pdf
  • This is what I tried, but since my pdf consists of different sized pages, one of these conversions resized them to the same page size. Maybe I could try to convert the pdfs I'm including? Is there a free tool to check whether a .pdf is pdf1.3 oder pdfX compliant? – the-bass Aug 31 '12 at 7:56
  • 1
    Well, it seems like the best way would be converting the troubled PDFs to PS and back to PDF v1.3. They should be included in the main PDF via pdfLaTeX afterwards. – the-bass Sep 4 '12 at 11:43
  • @the-bass: This is exactly the way to go! I guess pdfinfo will tell you the PDF version (can't check this at the moment). – Daniel Mar 1 '13 at 0:10

The best way would be to create a pdf file in PDF version 1.3, as it can not contain transparency.

With the macro \pdfminorversion=3 you can LaTeX advise to create a pdf file in version 1.3 with the drawback that all inserted PDFs may also be only of version 1.3. In this case you have to rebuild your inserted pdfs. I guess that this is not possible?

As an alternative take your pdf file and use Adobe Professional to change the pdf file version from 1.x to 1.3. You can use the tool (only in the professional version!) preflightto convert your LaTeX created pdf file.

But a good printing company should be able to do this for you.

BTW: to get a good print your included images should all have the same print resolution of 600 dpi or more.

  • Thanks. Neither rebuilding the pdfs nor Adobe Professional are available to me. They adviced me to include graphics with 300 dpi. Is latex, dvips, ps2pdf (with /prepress) a better option to get a pdf/x or pdf1.3 compatible result? – the-bass Aug 30 '12 at 14:29
  • Can I convert any .pdf file to .eps using pdf2ps and ps2eps? To me it sounds like this would produce a good output. – the-bass Aug 31 '12 at 7:52
  • This won't really help, as setting \pdfminorversion=3 only sets the version number of the PDF to 1.3 and lets pdfTeX issue warnings when it encounters PDFs newer than 1.3 (and disables handling of transparency in included PDFs and PNGs): It does not cause pdfTeX to flatten the included PDFs. If you want that, you need to flatten the PDFs with another program like Adobe Acrobat or GhostScript. – Martin Schröder Aug 31 '12 at 16:29
  • I'm not an expert on these things at all, but what about flattening only the offending pdfs, maybe even to bitmaps, and then including them? – mbork Feb 28 '13 at 22:42

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