I am using the XeTex typesetting system on a Macintosh running Snow Leopard. I would like it to produce a PDF/X file. Is this possible? I am mainly concerned with ensuring the fonts are embedded.


2 Answers 2


Yes, you should be able to, using the PDFX package. But you should realize that there is much more to the PDF/X spec than just embedding fonts. The PDFX package can be had here: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/pdfx/

Otherwise, produce your PDF with embedded fonts, then try and print the PDF to another PDF using OS X's print dialog, and save as PDF/X-3.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer, but will this work with XeTeX? The link you provide states it will only work with PDFTeX. Mar 10, 2010 at 6:00
  • I don't see why it wouldn't work for XeTeX. Have you tried it?
    – Mica
    Mar 10, 2010 at 16:18
  • Yes, I have. I get an error typesetting the included sample document. "[...] (/usr/local/texlive/2009/texmf-dist/tex/latex/pdfx/pdfx.sty ! Undefined control sequence. l.39 \pdfminorversion =4" Mar 10, 2010 at 16:43
  • I also want to note that the first line in the "Limitations" section of the PDFX documentation states that "pdfx.sty works only with PDFTEX." Mar 10, 2010 at 16:54
  • hmm. have you tried with pdflatex? that will tell if your setup is right... Going the path of least resistance, what fonts are you trying to use? And are those fonts available within LaTeX? tug.dk/FontCatalogue
    – Mica
    Mar 10, 2010 at 17:48

As far as I (not an expert) understand, XeTeX (and ConText) uses dvips as its engine. The dvips file is then converted to PDF. However, this cannot produce a PDF/Xn file (with or without a special package). The reason is that dvips simply does not contain certain data that must be in the final PDF/Xn file.

On the other hand, pdflatex can directly write PDF without the intermediary of dvips. With the correct package, pdflatex is instructed to write the necessary PDF/Xn metadata, before the document text even begins. Thus, pdflatex is capable of PDF/Xn output. Be aware that available TeX packages are not equally good at doing that.

If you must use XeTeX, then as long as your fonts are embedded, it is possible to post-process the PDF using professional software (such as Adobe Acrobat Pro), to create a new PDF/Xn file. If you don't have the software, and if your purpose is academic, your college department or library might have a license to the software (for academic purposes). Ask. Then you would get all the benefits of TeX, plus the PDF/Xn conformance.

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