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PDF/VT Variant for Simplified Variable Data Printing Released

September 20, 2010
RESTON, VA—September 20, 2010—An international, multi-vendor, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) committee has completed the development of an international standard that defines a PDF-based variable data printing (VDP) job exchange format.

"ISO 16612-2 Graphic technology — Variable data exchange — Part 2: Using PDF/X-4 and PDF/X-5 (PDF/VT)" defines the PDF/VT document format and methods to enable reliable document exchange for variable data and transactional printing. Transactional documents include invoices, statements, and documents that integrate billing information with marketing information (TransPromo).

The file format is intended to enable those involved in variable data printing to take advantage of tools, conventions and technologies already in use. PDF/VT will simplify VDP printing in a range of environments, from desktop printers to digital production presses. Additionally, it will support the full graphics model of PDF 1.6.

PDF/VT uses the Portable Document Format (PDF) based on the existing ISO PDF/X-4 and PDF/X-5 standards. It provides for the specification of document structure and layout, content and interaction of graphical objects in an imaging model supporting live transparency, layers, and full ICC-based colour management. Provision is made for fully self-contained PDF/VT files (blind exchange for maximum reliability), as well as for PDF/VT files that reference external graphic objects and profiles. PDF/VT's rich metadata model enables robust, granular and dynamic production controls.

In a PDF/VT workflow, a VDP application generates output in the data format, and a RIP or digital front end (DFE) that is capable of interpreting the PDF/VT format renders the job for print production. Workflows based on PDF/VT will deliver all the well-known benefits of PDF print production for VDP jobs. By folding seamlessly into existing PDF-based prepress operations, it enables a single common PDF print production workflow for all job types.

PDF/VT will enable high performance rendering of graphically rich content for printing on high-speed digital presses by caching repeated text & graphics. A significant number of products which will create or consume the data format are currently in active development, and are expected to be introduced in the near future.

According to Tim Donahue of Eastman Kodak, document editor and chairman of the ISO TC 130 Task Force that developed the ISO PDF/VT standard, "The PDF/VT standard is based upon the result of rigorous examination of variable data and transactional print workflows and on requirements drawn directly from variable print practitioners. The members of the Task Force that created this standard included an international group of experts in variable data and transactional print workflow, digital printing, PDF, JDF, color management and high performance RIP technology."
 

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