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I am using the XeTex typesetting system on a Macintosh running Snow Leopard. I would like it to produce a PDF/X-1a file.

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It seems it should be possible with this package and pdfTeX. From the site:

The package helps LaTeX users to create PDF/X-1a and PFD/A-1b compliant pdf documents with pdfTeX.

The authors are C. V. Radhakrishnan and Hàn Thế Thành.

What distribution and front-end (if any) are you using?

Edit: found the package on ctan as well.

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I am aware of that package. It is included in the distribution that I use, MacTeX-2009. Unfortunately, that package only works with PdfTeX, not XeTeX. – Richard Hoskins Mar 12 '10 at 5:01

Given that ghostscript can't create a pdf/x-1a, I think conversion is your best bet.

Using Acrobat Pro

  • Read in a ps/pdf file and export to pdf/x-1a.

Using pstill

  • Pstill which is free on linux can save to pdf/x-1a. you can put linux in a vm, and add that to your workflow. hacky, but free. if you want less hacky, you can pay for the mac version.

Using Preview

  • You can use preview to save as a pdf-x. open your ps/pdf file and select save as. choose the pdf format and create generic pdfx-3 document quartz filter. If the result is too low resolution, use this colorsync method.

  • You can also just print, and in the pdf button on the lower left side of the dialog, select save as pdf-x.*

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I am looking to create a PDF/X-1a document, not a PDF/X-3. Thanks for the colorsync tip. While it won't help me with this particular problem, it's good to know. (Also, I am not interested in purchasing Acrobat.) – Richard Hoskins Mar 16 '10 at 5:23
sorry about that. i read pdf/x in the title and didn't read the rest carefully. understood that you don't want to purchase acrobat, but there is a 30 day trial if this pdf issue is urgent. – yanokwa Mar 16 '10 at 11:20
Just as a point of reference, the "free" Acrobat trial costs US$15 for Macs, and is shipped on plastic disks. After the trial, Adobe wants US$450. – Richard Hoskins Mar 17 '10 at 15:36

Understanding that you're not interested in purchasing Acrobat, this seems to be the easiest and most viable option.

Acrobat has advantages past this one particular application.

Work Collaboration --- With Adobe Acrobat, groups of writers, website designers and graphic designers can review each other's work easily and inexpensively. That's because Acrobat is able to convert files from a wide range of application programs to PDF files. This eliminates the need for each member of your staff to have separate copies of each other's application software. And, it also eliminates the need for your staff to use the same type of computer. With advanced versions of Adobe Acrobat, you can even share videos in PDF files, without having to share video software programs.

Browser Format Compatibility - Acrobat offers a standardized output format. What you see in the final PDF file will be exactly what others see. All headings, indentations, font sizes, font styles and graphics are preserved in the document. When you post a PDF file on a website, you don't have to worry that the images or fonts won't display correctly on different browsers. Because a PDF file is a graphic image file, the document appears exactly the same in different browsers.

Search and Find - PDF files produced with Acrobat can be readily searched for words. Simply type the word in the search box, and Adobe Acrobat highlights all the words or phrases that you entered. Click on the next icon in the toolbar to jump to the next instance of the found item.

From The Advantages of Adobe Acrobat.

Acrobat is expensive, but if this is a "must have" thing then the cost can easily be justified.

As mentioned, you could use a Linux virtual machine (slow) or Preview (wrong format), but Acrobat appears to be the best option.

Also you could use a two step conversion. Convert with Preview to PDF/X-3 and from there to PDF/X-1A with another application.

The Adobe Acrobat trial can be found for download if you look in the right places. While not available directly from Adobe you can find people who have created a DMG of the disk so that other people can try. As this borders on software piracy I won't include links but again, it's not hard to find.

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Well, I would start with the command you run to generate a DVI, and add a "pdf" in front. That works for a lot of the other TeX variants...

Whoops. Apparantly XeTeX produces PDF normally...

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