Graphic technology -- Variable data exchange

This document defines the PDF/VT-3 document format and methods to enable reliable document exchange for variable data and transactional (VT) printing. It uses the Portable Document Format (PDF) Version 2.0, as restricted by PDF/X-6, for the representation of such documents. It allows the specification of document structure and layout, content data, and interaction of graphics objects in a graphics model that supports transparency and both device-dependent and device-independent colour spaces. All elements are either included or provision is made for unique identification of externally supplied ICC profiles. PDF/VT-3 is designed to enable variable data and transactional printing in a variety of environments from desktop printers to digital production presses. This includes hybrid workflows involving both conventional and digital printing.

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Status
Published
Publication Date
29-Nov-2020
Current Stage
5060 - Close of voting Proof returned by Secretariat
Start Date
20-Oct-2020
Completion Date
20-Oct-2020
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INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 16612-3
First edition
2020-11
Graphic technology — Variable data
exchange —
Part 3:
Using PDF/X-6 (PDF/VT-3)
Reference number
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
ISO 2020
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(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 16612-3:2020(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

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

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

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

4 Notations....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

5 Conforming files and equipment ......................................................................................................................................................... 2

6 Technical requirements ................................................................................................................................................................................ 3

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3

6.2 PDF/VT-3 file requirements ........................................................................................................................................................ 3

6.3 PDF/VT-3 file identification ......................................................................................................................................................... 3

6.4 Document part hierarchy ............................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.5 Document part metadata (DPM) ............................................................................................................................................. 4

6.6 Recurring graphics object definitions ................................................................................................................................. 4

6.6.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.6.2 XObject usage scope hints ........................................................................................................................................ 5

6.6.3 Encapsulated XObjects ........................................................................................................................................... ..... 6

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 7

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(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 16612 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.
iv © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
Introduction

This document defines the PDF/VT-3 document format which specifies methods for the use of the

Portable Document Format (PDF) for the definition and exchange of all content elements and supporting

metadata necessary for printing tasks involving variable or transactional document content. It allows

the specification of document structure, document layout, content data, and interaction of graphical

elements in a graphics model that supports transparency.

PDF/VT is designed to enable variable document printing (VDP) in a variety of environments from

desktop printers to digital production presses, including hybrid workflows involving both conventional

and digital printing. These capabilities are used in the creation of one-to-one customer communication

print applications including direct marketing documents, transactional documents, and trans-

promotional documents, as well as in labels, packaging and industrial print.

The present trend towards the separation of variable document content creation from the details

of print production workflow and printing device dependencies is evolving rapidly, but there is an

increasing need for predictable connectivity between the two.

The primary focus of PDF/VT is on the exchange of content between businesses or within an integrated

environment that produces variable document printing. It is intended to be workflow-architecture-

neutral. PDF/VT itself has no provision for encoding workflow or device-specific control information.

The aspects of device control, resource, and production management are outside the scope of this

document.

PDF/VT does, however, provide a print product metadata framework that may be used to embed

workflow control data within the PDF/VT-3 file, as for example, product intent in a format specified in

ISO 21812-1, or production requirements at a later stage in the workflow in the Job Definition Format

(JDF) or the XML Job Definition Format (XJDF). The job ticket is expected to define the product or

production requirements and draw upon PDF/VT for its content and metadata resources.

This document, which defines PDF/VT-3, includes support for the PDF 2.0 imaging model. It builds on

the PDF/X-6 standard (defined in ISO 15930-9), which, in turn, references PDF 2.0 (see ISO 32000-2).

Like ISO 16612-2, this document supports the fundamental requirements of portability, device and

workflow independence and guaranteed communication of the intended colour reproduction. The native

constructs within PDF allow products to provide functionality equivalent to that of PPML workflows as

used in ISO 16612-1, but using a single homogeneous format that adds support for a graphics model that

supports transparency, as well as up-to-date structure tagging in support of repurposing of data where

required.

PDF/VT supports the use of graphics object definitions as a method of specifying graphical content

data only once in a PDF/VT-3 file independent of the number of times it is referenced in the file. This

approach serves to reduce the file size of a PDF/VT-3 file and allows implementers of conforming

processors to employ various processing optimization strategies. Within the context of PDF/X-6, these

graphics objects are specified as image, form and transparency group XObjects.

While there is nothing in this document that enforces the creation of PDF/VT-3 files that make efficient

use of XObjects, doing so is strongly recommended.

XObjects referenced multiple times from various content streams can be tagged with hint information

that aids the conforming processor in its determination of XObject reuse. These hints can include an

explicit lifetime scope to indicate the context within which the XObject is known to be referenced

multiple times, such as within the current file, or that it is explicitly only referenced once.

An XObject can also be identified as an encapsulated XObject if its definition has a limited and well-

defined interaction with the current graphics state when invoked. This explicit hint serves to assist a

conforming processor in its optimization strategy.

A PDF/VT-3 file based on PDF/X-6 requires all resources necessary for proper interpretation of the

PDF data to be included within the PDF file. This enables an exchange of content where no additional

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)

technical information is required to be communicated between sender and receiver to describe the

appearance of page content.

A PDF/VT-3 file based on PDF/X-6p or PDF/X-6n does not necessarily include all ICC profiles required

for correct rendering for visualization or print. It isn’t necessarily suitable for an exchange without

technical discussions between sender and receiver.

Application notes for print-related PDF subsets are available to provide assistance to developers and

users and can be found at https:// printtechnologies .org/ programs/ standards -workroom/ tools -best

-practices/ .

A processor conforming to this document is not required to be capable of processing documents

conforming to ISO 16612-1, which is based on the use of PPML. Neither is it required to be capable

of processing documents conforming to ISO 16612-2, although it is anticipated that many creators of

processors may choose to do so.
vi © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 6 ----------------------
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
Graphic technology — Variable data exchange —
Part 3:
Using PDF/X-6 (PDF/VT-3)
1 Scope

This document defines the PDF/VT-3 document format and methods to enable reliable document

exchange for variable data and transactional (VT) printing. It uses the Portable Document Format

(PDF) Version 2.0, as restricted by PDF/X-6, for the representation of such documents. It allows the

specification of document structure and layout, content data, and interaction of graphics objects in a

graphics model that supports transparency and both device-dependent and device-independent colour

spaces. All elements are either included or provision is made for unique identification of externally

supplied ICC profiles.

PDF/VT-3 is designed to enable variable data and transactional printing in a variety of environments

from desktop printers to digital production presses. This includes hybrid workflows involving both

conventional and digital printing.
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 15930-9, 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
ISO 32000-2:— , Document management — Portable document format — Part 2: 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
encapsulated XObject

XObject having a well-defined limited interaction with the current graphics state at the point of

invocation
3.2
PDF/VT-3

document format and methods which enable reliable document exchange for variable data and

transactional printing
1) Under revision. Stage at the date of publication: ISO/FDIS 32000-2:2020.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved 1
---------------------- Page: 7 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
3.3
PDF/VT-3 file
PDF 2.0 file conforming to the requirements of this document
3.4
record
collection of information relevant to pages that are to be processed together

Note 1 to entry: A common example of a record is the information about a single recipient for which a collection

of pages was generated.
4 Notations

PDF operators, PDF keywords, the names of keys in PDF dictionaries, and other predefined names are

written i
...

INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 16612-3
First edition
Graphic technology — Variable data
exchange —
Part 3:
Using PDF/X-6 (PDF/VT-3)
PROOF/ÉPREUVE
Reference number
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
ISO 2020
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(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 16612-3:2020(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

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

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

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

4 Notations....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

5 Conforming files and equipment ......................................................................................................................................................... 2

6 Technical requirements ................................................................................................................................................................................ 3

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3

6.2 PDF/VT-3 file requirements ........................................................................................................................................................ 3

6.3 PDF/VT-3 file identification ......................................................................................................................................................... 3

6.4 Document part hierarchy ............................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.5 Document part metadata (DPM) ............................................................................................................................................. 4

6.6 Recurring graphics object definitions ................................................................................................................................. 4

6.6.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

6.6.2 XObject usage scope hints ........................................................................................................................................ 5

6.6.3 Encapsulated XObjects ........................................................................................................................................... ..... 6

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 7

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved PROOF/ÉPREUVE iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(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 16612 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.
iv PROOF/ÉPREUVE © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
Introduction

This document defines the PDF/VT-3 document format which specifies methods for the use of the

Portable Document Format (PDF) for the definition and exchange of all content elements and supporting

metadata necessary for printing tasks involving variable or transactional document content. It allows

the specification of document structure, document layout, content data, and interaction of graphical

elements in a graphics model that supports transparency.

PDF/VT is designed to enable variable document printing (VDP) in a variety of environments from

desktop printers to digital production presses, including hybrid workflows involving both conventional

and digital printing. These capabilities are used in the creation of one-to-one customer communication

print applications including direct marketing documents, transactional documents, and trans-

promotional documents, as well as in labels, packaging and industrial print.

The present trend towards the separation of variable document content creation from the details

of print production workflow and printing device dependencies is evolving rapidly, but there is an

increasing need for predictable connectivity between the two.

The primary focus of PDF/VT is on the exchange of content between businesses or within an integrated

environment that produces variable document printing. It is intended to be workflow-architecture-

neutral. PDF/VT itself has no provision for encoding workflow or device-specific control information.

The aspects of device control, resource, and production management are outside the scope of this

document.

PDF/VT does, however, provide a print product metadata framework that may be used to embed

workflow control data within the PDF/VT-3 file, as for example, product intent in a format specified in

ISO 21812-1, or production requirements at a later stage in the workflow in the Job Definition Format

(JDF) or the XML Job Definition Format (XJDF). The job ticket is expected to define the product or

production requirements and draw upon PDF/VT for its content and metadata resources.

This document, which defines PDF/VT-3, includes support for the PDF 2.0 imaging model. It builds on

the PDF/X-6 standard (defined in ISO 15930-9), which, in turn, references PDF 2.0 (see ISO 32000-2).

Like ISO 16612-2, this document supports the fundamental requirements of portability, device and

workflow independence and guaranteed communication of the intended colour reproduction. The native

constructs within PDF allow products to provide functionality equivalent to that of PPML workflows as

used in ISO 16612-1, but using a single homogeneous format that adds support for a graphics model that

supports transparency, as well as up-to-date structure tagging in support of repurposing of data where

required.

PDF/VT supports the use of graphics object definitions as a method of specifying graphical content

data only once in a PDF/VT-3 file independent of the number of times it is referenced in the file. This

approach serves to reduce the file size of a PDF/VT-3 file and allows implementers of conforming

processors to employ various processing optimization strategies. Within the context of PDF/X-6, these

graphics objects are specified as image, form and transparency group XObjects.

While there is nothing in this document that enforces the creation of PDF/VT-3 files that make efficient

use of XObjects, doing so is strongly recommended.

XObjects referenced multiple times from various content streams can be tagged with hint information

that aids the conforming processor in its determination of XObject reuse. These hints can include an

explicit lifetime scope to indicate the context within which the XObject is known to be referenced

multiple times, such as within the current file, or that it is explicitly only referenced once.

An XObject can also be identified as an encapsulated XObject if its definition has a limited and well-

defined interaction with the current graphics state when invoked. This explicit hint serves to assist a

conforming processor in its optimization strategy.

A PDF/VT-3 file based on PDF/X-6 requires all resources necessary for proper interpretation of the

PDF data to be included within the PDF file. This enables an exchange of content where no additional

© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved PROOF/ÉPREUVE v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)

technical information is required to be communicated between sender and receiver to describe the

appearance of page content.

A PDF/VT-3 file based on PDF/X-6p or PDF/X-6n does not necessarily include all ICC profiles required

for correct rendering for visualization or print. It isn’t necessarily suitable for an exchange without

technical discussions between sender and receiver.

Application notes for print-related PDF subsets are available to provide assistance to developers and

users and can be found at https:// printtechnologies .org/ programs/ standards -workroom/ tools -best

-practices/ .

A processor conforming to this document is not required to be capable of processing documents

conforming to ISO 16612-1, which is based on the use of PPML. Neither is it required to be capable

of processing documents conforming to ISO 16612-2, although it is anticipated that many creators of

processors may choose to do so.
vi PROOF/ÉPREUVE © ISO 2020 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 6 ----------------------
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
Graphic technology — Variable data exchange —
Part 3:
Using PDF/X-6 (PDF/VT-3)
1 Scope

This document defines the PDF/VT-3 document format and methods to enable reliable document

exchange for variable data and transactional (VT) printing. It uses the Portable Document Format

(PDF) Version 2.0, as restricted by PDF/X-6, for the representation of such documents. It allows the

specification of document structure and layout, content data, and interaction of graphics objects in a

graphics model that supports transparency and both device-dependent and device-independent colour

spaces. All elements are either included or provision is made for unique identification of externally

supplied ICC profiles.

PDF/VT-3 is designed to enable variable data and transactional printing in a variety of environments

from desktop printers to digital production presses. This includes hybrid workflows involving both

conventional and digital printing.
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 15930-9, 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
ISO 32000-2:— , Document management — Portable document format — Part 2: 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
encapsulated XObject

XObject having a well-defined limited interaction with the current graphics state at the point of

invocation
3.2
PDF/VT-3

document format and methods which enable reliable document exchange for variable data and

transactional printing
1) Under revision. Stage at the date of publication: ISO/FDIS 32000-2:2020.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved PROOF/ÉPREUVE 1
---------------------- Page: 7 ----------------------
ISO 16612-3:2020(E)
3.3
PDF/VT-3 file
PDF 2.0 file conforming to the requirements of this document
3.4
record
collection of information relevant to pages that are to be processed together

Note 1 to entry: Note to entry: A common example of a record is the information about a single recipient for

which a collection of pages was generated.
4 Notations

PDF operators, PDF keywords, the names of keys in PDF dictionaries, and other predefined names are

written in a bold
...

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