Graphic technology -- Prepress digital data exchange using PDF

This document specifies the use of ISO 32000‑2 (PDF 2.0) for the complete and partial exchange of digital data intended for print reproduction.

Technologie graphique -- Échange de données numériques de préimpression utilisant le PDF

General Information

Status
Published
Publication Date
22-Nov-2020
Current Stage
5060 - Close of voting Proof returned by Secretariat
Start Date
26-Oct-2020
Completion Date
26-Oct-2020
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INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 15930-9
First edition
2020-11
Graphic technology — Prepress digital
data exchange using PDF —
Part 9:
Complete exchange of printing data
(PDF/X-6) and partial exchange of
printing data with external profile
reference (PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n)
using PDF 2.0
Technologie graphique — Échange de données numériques de
préimpression utilisant le PDF —
Partie 9: Échange complet de données d’impression (PDF/X-6) et
échange partiel de données d’impression avec une référence de profil
externe (PDF/X-6p) utilisant le PDF 2.0
Reference number
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
ISO 2020
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2020

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Notations....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3

5 PDF/X-6 conforming files and processors ................................................................................................................................. 3

6 Technical requirements ................................................................................................................................................................................ 4

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2 Print and non-print elements ..................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2.2 Print elements .................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2.3 Non-print elements ....................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.3 Intended visual appearance ......................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.4 Complete exchange .............................................................................................................................................................................. 5

6.5 File structure ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 5

6.5.1 File header ............................................................................................................................................................................. 5

6.5.2 File trailer .................. .................................................... ......................................................................................................... 6

6.5.3 Cross reference table .................................................................................................................................................... 6

6.5.4 Stream objects .................................................................................................................................................................... 6

6.5.5 Name objects ....................................................................................................................................................................... 6

6.5.6 Permissions .......................................................................................................................................................................... 7

6.5.7 Document catalog dictionary ................................................................................................................................ 7

6.6 Colour .............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 7

6.6.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 7

6.6.2 Identification of characterized printing condition ............................................................................. 7

6.6.3 Print element colour spaces .................. ..............................................................................................................10

6.7 Graphics .....................................................................................................................................................................................................11

6.7.1 Content streams.............................................................................................................................................................11

6.7.2 Use of transparency ........................................................................................................................................... .........12

6.7.3 Extended graphics state..........................................................................................................................................12

6.7.4 Images ....................................................................................................................................................................................13

6.7.5 XObjects ................................................................................................................................................................................14

6.8 Fonts ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................14

6.8.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................14

6.8.2 Embedded fonts .............................................................................................................................................................14

6.8.3 Use of .notdef glyph ....................................................................................................................................................15

6.8.4 Font metrics ......................................................................................................................................................................15

6.8.5 Character encodings ..................................................................................................................................................15

6.9 Bounding boxes ...................................................................................................................................................................................15

6.10 Trapping.....................................................................................................................................................................................................16

6.11 Metadata and document identification ...........................................................................................................................16

6.11.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................16

6.11.2 Namespaces and prefixes ......................................................................................................................................16

6.11.3 Version and conformance level identification .....................................................................................17

6.11.4 File identifiers .................................................................................................................................................................17

6.11.5 File provenance information ..............................................................................................................................17

6.12 Annotations.............................................................................................................................................................................................18

6.12.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................18

6.12.2 Annotation dictionaries ..........................................................................................................................................18

6.12.3 Annotation appearances ........................................................................................................................................18

6.13 Interactive forms ................................................................................................................................................................................18

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)

6.13.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................18

6.13.2 XFA forms ............................................................................................................................................................................19

6.13.3 Digital signatures ...................................................................... ....................................................................................19

6.14 Actions .........................................................................................................................................................................................................19

6.14.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................19

6.14.2 Handling of JavaScript actions ..........................................................................................................................19

6.14.3 Trigger events ..................................................................................................................................................................19

6.14.4 Handling of GoToR, GoToE, URI and SubmitForm actions ........................................................19

6.15 Use of optional content .................................................................................................................................................................20

6.16 Viewer preferences ..........................................................................................................................................................................21

6.17 Use of alternate presentations ...............................................................................................................................................21

6.18 Document requirements ..............................................................................................................................................................21

6.19 Spectral Data (CxF) ...........................................................................................................................................................................21

Annex A (normative) Requirements for PDF/X-6p .............................................................................................................................22

Annex B (normative) Requirements for PDF/X-6n .............................................................................................................................24

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................26

iv © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 130, Graphic technology.

A list of all parts in the ISO 15930 series can be found on the ISO website.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Introduction

ISO 15930 (all parts) defines methods for the exchange of digital data within the graphic arts industry

and for the exchange of files between graphic arts establishments. It is a multi-part document where

each part is intended to respond to different workflow requirements. These workflows differ in the

degree of flexibility required. However, increasing flexibility can lead to the possibility of uncertainty or

error. The goal throughout the various parts of ISO 15930 has been to maintain the degree of flexibility

required while minimizing the uncertainty.

Many printed documents are assemblies of partial pages and/or pages created at different locations

and by different organizations. The merging of these individual elements into the final printing form

and the subsequent printing can take place at different locations. Some of these elements can also be

routed to multiple sites for incorporation into other documents. Each of these elements is referred to in

ISO 15930 as a compound entity.

A variety of data formats and structures are used for the creation of this type of material, but with

two prevalent kinds of underlying data structures. These are vector-based data for the encoding of

line art and textual information and raster-based data for the encoding of image information, including

previously rasterized line art and textual information.

Both kinds of data structures are required along with page description information in an open

electronic workflow. The subject of ISO 15930 is a format for the exchange of object-based data where

individual objects can be in either vector or raster data structures.

The various parts of ISO 15930 define a number of conformance levels intended to address different

requirements; all define data formats and their usage to permit the predictable dissemination of a

compound entity to one or more locations. These goals are accomplished by defining a specific use of

the Portable Document Format (PDF). In order to achieve a level of exchange that avoids any ambiguity

in interpretation of the file, a limited set of PDF objects that are permitted to be used is identified and

restrictions to the use, or form of use, of those objects, and/or keys within those objects are added.

In some environments, the data exchange needs to be in a form ready for final print reproduction,

by transfer of a single file. This file contains all the content information necessary to process and

render the document, as intended by the sender, coded inside a single PDF file. No other files, neither

external files nor internally embedded files, are required or permitted. This exchange requires no prior

knowledge of the sending and receiving environments and is sometimes referred to as “complete” or

“blind” exchange. It is platform- and transport-independent. Whereas many production workflows

benefit from the exchange of complete material, with all elements present, there are circumstances

when this is not appropriate. In certain workflows, some or all of the referenced elements might be

more logically present at the receiving site, or might be exchanged at a different time. These include

high-resolution contone-image files, line-art files, ICC profiles, etc. These exchanges will generally

require prior agreement between sender and receiver.

Historically, the exchange needed to be restricted to gray, CMYK (and spot colour) data. In modern

workflows, it is more appropriate to convey it as colour-managed, CMYK, gray, RGB, and/or spot colour,

or to use alternative process colour models.

Several new versions of the PDF specification have been issued since the publication of ISO 15930-1 in

2001. More recent parts of ISO 15930 expand and extend earlier parts by reference to later versions of

the PDF specification.
Table 1 summarizes the conformance levels defined in each part of ISO 15930.
vi © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 6 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Table 1 — PDF/X conformance levels
Conformance ISO 15930 Complete Colour-managed Print PDF version
level part number exchange data permitted characterization
spaces supported
PDF/X-1:2001 ISO 15930-1 Yes No CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-1a:2001 ISO 15930-1 Yes No CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-1a:2003 ISO 15930-4 Yes No CMYK 1.4
PDF/X-3:2002 ISO 15930-3 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-3:2003 ISO 15930-6 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.4
PDF/X-4 ISO 15930-7 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-4p ISO 15930-7 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-5g ISO 15930-8 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-5n ISO 15930-8 No Yes n-colourant 1.6
PDF/X-5pg ISO 15930-8 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-6 ISO 15930-9 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 2.0
PDF/X-6p ISO 15930-9 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 2.0
PDF/X-6n ISO 15930-9 No Yes n-colourant 2.0

This document specifies the PDF/X-6 conformance level, which incorporates all of the features available

in the PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-3 and PDF/X-4 conformance levels defined in ISO 15930-1, ISO 15930-3,

ISO 15930-4, ISO 15930-6, ISO 15930-7 and adds the following.

— The referenced version is PDF 2.0 and therefore supports the additions to the PDF language found

there, as modified by this document.

— Annotations, including digital signatures, form fields and videos, are allowed in the printable area

of a page.

This document also specifies the PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n conformance levels. PDF/X-6 requires that

any ICC profile describing the characterization of the printing condition for which a file was prepared be

embedded. PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n allow these Output Intent ICC profiles to be maintained externally

to the exchanged file; the difference being that the profile for PDF/X-6n specifies n-colourants instead

of only Gray, RGB or CMYK. This is especially useful in those situations where the size of the ICC profile

is large in comparison with the size of the file to be exchanged; where there are a very large number

of files to be exchanged that have been prepared for the same printing condition, tone and gamut

compression and black generation; or where there are licensing issues that preclude embedding.

Due consideration needs to be given to the increased potential for issues requiring technical discussion

between file submitters and receivers when determining whether to use the PDF/X-6p or PDF/X-6n

conformance levels in preference to PDF/X-6. In addition, it is likely that a larger proportion of receiving

sites will be capable of accepting and correctly processing PDF/X-6 files. PDF/X-6 is preferred to PDF/

X-6p or PDF/X-6n where there is no significant benefit in the use of the latter.

It is anticipated that a variety of products will be developed based on PDF/X, such as readers (including

viewers) and writers of PDF/X files, and products that offer combinations of these features. Different

products will incorporate various capabilities to prepare, interpret and process conforming files

based on the application needs as perceived by the suppliers of the products. A conforming processor

of this document is only required to be able to read and appropriately process all files conforming to

the specified conformance levels within this document. Of course, a conforming processor can support

other PDF standards, be they parts of ISO 15930 or not, but it is not required.

All parts of ISO 15930 define requirements and restrictions on the process of rendering PDF/X files

for viewing and print, in addition to the requirements and restrictions of elements and structures

within the files themselves. In some circumstances, it might be appropriate to render files without rigid

adherence to the provisions of ISO 15930, but it is important to be aware that such renderings do not

conform to PDF/X.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved vii
---------------------- Page: 7 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)

Users of this document are cautioned that they are expected to be familiar with the documents listed as

normative references and the terms used within those documents. This document prescribes specific

uses of, and limitations on the use of, ISO 32000-2 (PDF 2.0) and its associated supporting documents.

An ongoing series of Application Notes is maintained for the guidance of developers and users of the

PDF/X family of International Standards. These application notes, and other documents relevant to

PDF/X, are available from APTech, The Association for PRINT Technologies, in the APTech, Standards

Workroom at .

A number of other International Standards, defining focussed subsets of the Portable Document Format

in areas other than the graphic arts, are either published or under development, including PDF/A, and

PDF/UA. Where possible, PDF/X has been designed to allow a single file to comply both with PDF/X

and with these other standards. The PDF/VT standards for variable data printing require that all

conforming PDF/VT files are also conforming PDF/X files.
viii © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 8 ----------------------
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Graphic technology — Prepress digital data exchange
using PDF —
Part 9:
Complete exchange of printing data (PDF/X-6) and partial
exchange of printing data with external profile reference
(PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n) using PDF 2.0
1 Scope

This document specifies the use of ISO 32000-2 (PDF 2.0) for the complete and partial exchange of

digital data intended for print reproduction.
2 Normative references

The following documents are referred to in the text in such a way that some or all of their content

constitutes requirements of this document. For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For

undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.

ISO 15076-1:2010, Image technology colour management — Architecture, profile format and data

structure — Part 1: Based on ICC.1:2010
ISO 32000-2:— , Document management — Portable document format — PDF 2.0
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
characterized printing condition

printing condition for which process control aims are defined and for which the relationship between

input data and the colorimetry of the printed image is documented

Note 1 to entry: It is generally preferable that the process control aims of the printing condition and the

associated characterization data be made publicly available via the accredited standards process or industry

trade associations.
3.2
CMYK

subtractive process colour model where the channels are called Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black

1) Under preparation. Stage at the time of publication: ISO/FDIS 32000-2:2020.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved 1
---------------------- Page: 9 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
3.3
compound entity

unit of work with all text, graphics and image elements prepared for final print reproduction that might

represent a single page for printing, a portion of a page or a combination of pages

3.4
conformance level

identified set of restrictions and requirements with which files, processors and writers are required

to comply
3.5
default colour space

PDF colour space named DefaultGray, DefaultRGB or DefaultCMYK that provides an indirect method of

specifying the colour space of elements
3.6
element

substructure of a compound entity relative to the current processing environment, such as a block of

text, a contone picture or an outline graphic that, by itself, comprises the smallest logical composed unit

of a compound entity
3.7
n-colourant

process colour model other than gray, RGB (3.12) or CMYK (3.2), and comprising at least two colourants

3.8
non-print element
element (3.6) not intended for final print reproduction
3.9
print element
element (3.6) intended for final print reproduction
3.10
process colourant

additive or subtractive colourant whose characteristics (colour, transparency, etc.) make it suitable to

combine with other colourants to form secondary or tertiary colours
3.11
process colour model

colours, defined in a colour coordinate system, produced by a set of process colourants (3.10)

3.12
RGB

additive process colour model (3.11) where the channels are called Red, Green and Blue

3.13
spot colour

single colourant, identified by name, whose values are specified independently from the colour values

specified in a colour coordinate system
3.14
trapping

modification of boundaries of colour areas to account for dimensional variations in the printing process

by overprinting in selected colours at the boundaries between colours that might
...

INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 15930-9
First edition
Graphic technology — Prepress digital
data exchange using PDF —
Part 9:
Complete exchange of printing data
(PDF/X-6) and partial exchange of
printing data with external profile
reference (PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n)
using PDF 2.0
Technologie graphique — Échange de données numériques de
préimpression utilisant le PDF —
Partie 9: Échange complet de données d’impression (PDF/X-6) et
échange partiel de données d’impression avec une référence de profil
externe (PDF/X-6p) utilisant le PDF 2.0
PROOF/ÉPREUVE
Reference number
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
ISO 2020
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2020

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii PROOF/ÉPREUVE © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Notations....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3

5 PDF/X-6 conforming files and processors ................................................................................................................................. 3

6 Technical requirements ................................................................................................................................................................................ 4

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2 Print and non-print elements ..................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2.2 Print elements .................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.2.3 Non-print elements ....................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.3 Intended visual appearance ......................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.4 Complete exchange .............................................................................................................................................................................. 5

6.5 File structure ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 5

6.5.1 File header ............................................................................................................................................................................. 5

6.5.2 File trailer .................. .................................................... ......................................................................................................... 6

6.5.3 Cross reference table .................................................................................................................................................... 6

6.5.4 Stream objects .................................................................................................................................................................... 6

6.5.5 Name objects ....................................................................................................................................................................... 6

6.5.6 Permissions .......................................................................................................................................................................... 7

6.5.7 Document catalog dictionary ................................................................................................................................ 7

6.6 Colour .............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 7

6.6.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 7

6.6.2 Identification of characterized printing condition ............................................................................. 7

6.6.3 Print element colour spaces .................. ..............................................................................................................10

6.7 Graphics .....................................................................................................................................................................................................11

6.7.1 Content streams.............................................................................................................................................................11

6.7.2 Use of transparency ........................................................................................................................................... .........12

6.7.3 Extended graphics state..........................................................................................................................................12

6.7.4 Images ....................................................................................................................................................................................13

6.7.5 XObjects ................................................................................................................................................................................14

6.8 Fonts ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................14

6.8.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................14

6.8.2 Embedded fonts .............................................................................................................................................................14

6.8.3 Use of .notdef glyph ....................................................................................................................................................15

6.8.4 Font metrics ......................................................................................................................................................................15

6.8.5 Character encodings ..................................................................................................................................................15

6.9 Bounding boxes ...................................................................................................................................................................................15

6.10 Trapping.....................................................................................................................................................................................................16

6.11 Metadata and document identification ...........................................................................................................................16

6.11.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................16

6.11.2 Namespaces and prefixes ......................................................................................................................................16

6.11.3 Version and conformance level identification .....................................................................................17

6.11.4 File identifiers .................................................................................................................................................................17

6.11.5 File provenance information ..............................................................................................................................17

6.12 Annotations.............................................................................................................................................................................................18

6.12.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................18

6.12.2 Annotation dictionaries ..........................................................................................................................................18

6.12.3 Annotation appearances ........................................................................................................................................18

6.13 Interactive forms ................................................................................................................................................................................18

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved PROOF/ÉPREUVE iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)

6.13.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................18

6.13.2 XFA forms ............................................................................................................................................................................19

6.13.3 Digital signatures ...................................................................... ....................................................................................19

6.14 Actions .........................................................................................................................................................................................................19

6.14.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................19

6.14.2 Handling of JavaScript actions ..........................................................................................................................19

6.14.3 Trigger events ..................................................................................................................................................................19

6.14.4 Handling of GoToR, GoToE, URI and SubmitForm actions ........................................................20

6.15 Use of optional content .................................................................................................................................................................20

6.16 Viewer preferences ..........................................................................................................................................................................21

6.17 Use of alternate presentations ...............................................................................................................................................21

6.18 Document requirements ..............................................................................................................................................................21

6.19 Spectral Data (CxF) ...........................................................................................................................................................................21

Annex A (normative) Requirements for PDF/X-6p .............................................................................................................................22

Annex B (normative) Requirements for PDF/X-6n .............................................................................................................................24

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................26

iv PROOF/ÉPREUVE © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 130, Graphic technology.

A list of all parts in the ISO 15930 series can be found on the ISO website.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved PROOF/ÉPREUVE v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Introduction

ISO 15930 (all parts) defines methods for the exchange of digital data within the graphic arts industry

and for the exchange of files between graphic arts establishments. It is a multi-part document where

each part is intended to respond to different workflow requirements. These workflows differ in the

degree of flexibility required. However, increasing flexibility can lead to the possibility of uncertainty or

error. The goal throughout the various parts of ISO 15930 has been to maintain the degree of flexibility

required while minimizing the uncertainty.

Many printed documents are assemblies of partial pages and/or pages created at different locations

and by different organizations. The merging of these individual elements into the final printing form

and the subsequent printing can take place at different locations. Some of these elements can also be

routed to multiple sites for incorporation into other documents. Each of these elements is referred to in

ISO 15930 as a compound entity.

A variety of data formats and structures are used for the creation of this type of material, but with

two prevalent kinds of underlying data structures. These are vector-based data for the encoding of

line art and textual information and raster-based data for the encoding of image information, including

previously rasterized line art and textual information.

Both kinds of data structures are required along with page description information in an open

electronic workflow. The subject of ISO 15930 is a format for the exchange of object-based data where

individual objects can be in either vector or raster data structures.

The various parts of ISO 15930 define a number of conformance levels intended to address different

requirements; all define data formats and their usage to permit the predictable dissemination of a

compound entity to one or more locations. These goals are accomplished by defining a specific use of

the Portable Document Format (PDF). In order to achieve a level of exchange that avoids any ambiguity

in interpretation of the file, a limited set of PDF objects that are permitted to be used is identified and

restrictions to the use, or form of use, of those objects, and/or keys within those objects are added.

In some environments, the data exchange needs to be in a form ready for final print reproduction,

by transfer of a single file. This file contains all the content information necessary to process and

render the document, as intended by the sender, coded inside a single PDF file. No other files, neither

external files nor internally embedded files, are required or permitted. This exchange requires no prior

knowledge of the sending and receiving environments and is sometimes referred to as “complete” or

“blind” exchange. It is platform- and transport-independent. Whereas many production workflows

benefit from the exchange of complete material, with all elements present, there are circumstances

when this is not appropriate. In certain workflows, some or all of the referenced elements might be

more logically present at the receiving site, or might be exchanged at a different time. These include

high-resolution contone-image files, line-art files, ICC profiles, etc. These exchanges will generally

require prior agreement between sender and receiver.

Historically, the exchange needed to be restricted to gray, CMYK (and spot colour) data. In modern

workflows, it is more appropriate to convey it as colour-managed, CMYK, gray, RGB, and/or spot colour,

or to use alternative process colour models.

Several new versions of the PDF specification have been issued since the publication of ISO 15930-1 in

2001. More recent parts of ISO 15930 expand and extend earlier parts by reference to later versions of

the PDF specification.
Table 1 summarizes the conformance levels defined in each part of ISO 15930.
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ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Table 1 — PDF/X conformance levels
Conformance ISO 15930 Complete Colour-managed Print PDF version
level part number exchange data permitted characterization
spaces supported
PDF/X-1:2001 ISO 15930-1 Yes No CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-1a:2001 ISO 15930-1 Yes No CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-1a:2003 ISO 15930-4 Yes No CMYK 1.4
PDF/X-3:2002 ISO 15930-3 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-3:2003 ISO 15930-6 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.4
PDF/X-4 ISO 15930-7 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-4p ISO 15930-7 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-5g ISO 15930-8 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-5n ISO 15930-8 No Yes n-colourant 1.6
PDF/X-5pg ISO 15930-8 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-6 ISO 15930-9 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 2.0
PDF/X-6p ISO 15930-9 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 2.0
PDF/X-6n ISO 15930-9 No Yes n-colourant 2.0

This document specifies the PDF/X-6 conformance level, which incorporates all of the features available

in the PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-3 and PDF/X-4 conformance levels defined in ISO 15930-1, ISO 15930-3,

ISO 15930-4, ISO 15930-6, ISO 15930-7 and adds the following.

— The referenced version is PDF 2.0 and therefore supports the additions to the PDF language found

there, as modified by this document.

— Annotations, including digital signatures, form fields and videos, are allowed in the printable area

of a page.

This document also specifies the PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n conformance levels. PDF/X-6 requires that

any ICC profile describing the characterization of the printing condition for which a file was prepared be

embedded. PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n allow these Output Intent ICC profiles to be maintained externally

to the exchanged file; the difference being that the profile for PDF/X-6n specifies n-colourants instead

of only Gray, RGB or CMYK. This is especially useful in those situations where the size of the ICC profile

is large in comparison with the size of the file to be exchanged; where there are a very large number

of files to be exchanged that have been prepared for the same printing condition, tone and gamut

compression and black generation; or where there are licensing issues that preclude embedding.

Due consideration needs to be given to the increased potential for issues requiring technical discussion

between file submitters and receivers when determining whether to use the PDF/X-6p or PDF/X-6n

conformance levels in preference to PDF/X-6. In addition, it is likely that a larger proportion of receiving

sites will be capable of accepting and correctly processing PDF/X-6 files. PDF/X-6 is preferred to PDF/

X-6p or PDF/X-6n where there is no significant benefit in the use of the latter.

It is anticipated that a variety of products will be developed based on PDF/X, such as readers (including

viewers) and writers of PDF/X files, and products that offer combinations of these features. Different

products will incorporate various capabilities to prepare, interpret and process conforming files

based on the application needs as perceived by the suppliers of the products. A conforming processor

of this document is only required to be able to read and appropriately process all files conforming to

the specified conformance levels within this document. Of course, a conforming processor can support

other PDF standards, be they parts of ISO 15930 or not, but it is not required.

All parts of ISO 15930 define requirements and restrictions on the process of rendering PDF/X files

for viewing and print, in addition to the requirements and restrictions of elements and structures

within the files themselves. In some circumstances, it might be appropriate to render files without rigid

adherence to the provisions of ISO 15930, but it is important to be aware that such renderings do not

conform to PDF/X.
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ISO 15930-9:2020(E)

Users of this document are cautioned that they are expected to be familiar with the documents listed as

normative references and the terms used within those documents. This document prescribes specific

uses of, and limitations on the use of, ISO 32000-2 (PDF 2.0) and its associated supporting documents.

An ongoing series of Application Notes is maintained for the guidance of developers and users of the

PDF/X family of International Standards. These application notes, and other documents relevant to

PDF/X, are available from APTech, The Association for PRINT Technologies, in the APTech, Standards

Workroom at .

A number of other International Standards, defining focussed subsets of the Portable Document Format

in areas other than the graphic arts, are either published or under development, including PDF/A, and

PDF/UA. Where possible, PDF/X has been designed to allow a single file to comply both with PDF/X

and with these other standards. The PDF/VT standards for variable data printing require that all

conforming PDF/VT files are also conforming PDF/X files.
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INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
Graphic technology — Prepress digital data exchange
using PDF —
Part 9:
Complete exchange of printing data (PDF/X-6) and partial
exchange of printing data with external profile reference
(PDF/X-6p and PDF/X-6n) using PDF 2.0
1 Scope

This document specifies the use of ISO 32000-2 (PDF 2.0) for the complete and partial exchange of

digital data intended for print reproduction.
2 Normative references

The following documents are referred to in the text in such a way that some or all of their content

constitutes requirements of this document. For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For

undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.

ISO 15076-1:2010, Image technology colour management — Architecture, profile format and data

structure — Part 1: Based on ICC.1:2010
ISO 32000-2:— , Document management — Portable document format — PDF 2.0
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
characterized printing condition

printing condition for which process control aims are defined and for which the relationship between

input data and the colorimetry of the printed image is documented

Note 1 to entry: It is generally preferable that the process control aims of the printing condition and the

associated characterization data be made publicly available via the accredited standards process or industry

trade associations.
3.2
CMYK

subtractive process colour model where the channels are called Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black

1) Under preparation. Stage at the time of publication: ISO/FDIS 32000-2:2020.
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ISO 15930-9:2020(E)
3.3
compound entity

unit of work with all text, graphics and image elements prepared for final print reproduction that might

represent a single page for printing, a portion of a page or a combination of pages

3.4
conformance level

identified set of restrictions and requirements with which files, processors and writers are required

to comply
3.5
default colour space

PDF colour space named DefaultGray, DefaultRGB or DefaultCMYK that provides an indirect method of

specifying the colour space of elements
3.6
element

substructure of a compound entity relative to the current processing environment, such as a block of

text, a contone picture or an outline graphic that, by itself, comprises the smallest logical composed unit

of a compound entity
3.7
n-colourant

process colour model other than gray, RGB (3.12) or CMYK (3.2), and comprising at least two colourants

3.8
non-print element
element (3.6) not intended for final print reproduction
3.9
print element
element (3.6) intended for final print reproduction
3.10
process colourant

additive or subtractive colourant whose characteristics (colour, transparency, etc.) make it suitable to

combine with other colourants to form secondary or tertiary colours
3.11
process colour model

colours, defined in a colour coordinate system, produced by a set of process colourants (3.10)

3.12
RGB

additive process colour model (3.11) where the channels are called Red, Green and Blue

3.13
spot colour

single colourant, identified by name, whose values are specified independently from the colour values

specified in a colour coordinate system
3.14
trapping
modification of boundaries of colour areas to account for dimensional variatio
...

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