Executive Summary - What is PDF Print Product Metadata?

Generally, JDF or XJDF contain the product intent of a print buyer. That is, both formats can hold properties of the requested product, like

  • type of product
  • printing substrate
  • binding intent
  • type of inks to be used
  • number and dimensions of pages
  • delivery details

Since 2019, there is another way to store this kind of data, namely inside PDF. Thus, a PDF file may contain not only the artwork data but also the product description. This concept goes far beyond considering PDF just being a page description language (PDL).

The idea is that the print buyer stores the product intent inside PDF, either by entering the data directly in some layout program, which generates the PDF, or indirectly by using a web-to-print system/customer portal, that writes this metadata into the PDF. When such a PDF file reaches the print provider, it can then be split up in two; in artwork (PDF) and in product intend data (JDF/XJDF). Thus, there is no need to change the production workflow at the print shop. On the other hand, the advantage of such an approach is that both artwork data and product intent data are stored in one single file during transmission between print buyer and print provider. There is no need any more to link the artwork and the job ticket at the printer provider's site.

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