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ISO 15930

The ISO 15930 family of standards define PDF/X, which support the graphic arts and professional printing sectors. PDF/X was the first standardized PDF subset and thus is also now the largest family of the ISO PDF subsets. The ISO 15930 family of PDF/X standards includes several documents which have been withdrawn or have published errata (see here for a list of all PDF/X ISO publications) and, as a result, a year is sometimes required to create an unambiguous PDF/X conformance level.  Many later parts also include multiple conformance levels, designated by additional letter combinations append after the PDF/X version designator.

All versions of PDF/X use XMP metadata to declare their conformance.

PDF/VT further extends and refines to PDF/X to support variable data printing. Additional print workflow and metadata standards can also be used to specify print product processing and job ticketing details.

Application Notes for PDF/X-4 and PDF/X-6 supplement the ISO 15930 family of standards by providing additional information and guidance.

Current PDF/X conformance levels are listed below:

Conformance level ISO standard Complete exchange? Colour-managed data permitted? Print characterization colour spaces supported PDF Version
PDF/X-1:2001 ISO 15930-1:2001 Yes No CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-1a:2001 ISO 15930-1:2001 Yes No CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-1a:2003 ISO 15930-4:2003 Yes No CMYK 1.4 (no transparency)
PDF/X-3:2002 ISO 15930-3:2002 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.3
PDF/X-3:2003 ISO 15930-6:2003 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.4 (no transparency)
PDF/X-4 ISO 15930-7:2010 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-4p ISO 15930-7:2010 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-5g ISO 15930-8:2010 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-5n ISO 15930-8:2010 No Yes n-colourant ICC profile 1.6
PDF/X-5pg ISO 15930-8:2010 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 1.6
PDF/X-6 ISO 15930-9:2020 Yes Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 2.0
PDF/X-6p ISO 15930-9:2020 No Yes Gray, RGB, CMYK 2.0
PDF/X-6n ISO 15930-9:2020 No Yes n-colourant ICC profile 2.0

The “X” in PDF/X represents “eXchange”, referring to the exchange of digital print data as PDF between a print buyer and a print producer.

Comments?

Technical questions about ISO 15930 are most effectively addressed in the PDF Association’s official pdf-issues GitHub repo.

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Buy PDF/X-6 from ISO

The ISO 15930 family of standards define PDF/X, which support the graphic arts and professional printing sectors.

Subscribe here for the PDF Association’s periodic updates regarding new, updated, or corrected industry and ISO specifications for PDF technology.

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ISO Group Responsible: ISO TC130 WG2

ISO Status: status of all PDF-related ISO work

Errata: PDF/X-6 (ISO 15930-9)

Publications: PDF/X in a Nutshell


PDF 2.0 PDF/X

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