Someone in our family is getting into the publishing business, and the printers have very exact specifications for the PDF files they accept. I'm hoping for some help figuring out what is wrong with my file.

The printer instructs us to submit "PDF/X-1a:2001" format. When trying to print our 170-page color MS Publisher files to PDF (we have bona fide Acrobat X), PDF creation fails:

<PDFX ISO="15930-1:2001" COMPLIANT="false">

PDF/X Compliance Report

1.  Bounding Boxes

   [Violation] Both TrimBoxes and ArtBoxes were found on the following pages:
      Page 1, Occurrences: 1
      Page 2, Occurrences: 1
      ... (170 pages) ...
   Violations: The total found in this section was 170.

2.  Summary

   Warnings: The total found in this document was 0.
   Violations: The total found in this document was 170.

   This document does not pass PDF/X-1a:2001 compliance checks.


%%[ Warning: Did not pass PDF/X compliance tests. No PDF file produced. ] %%

Can someone suggest what we might be doing wrong in Publisher to get this error? Are there any other software that can produce "PDF/X-1a:2001" PDFs - and do a better job, uh, "making it work"?

This seems to be a very common problem, but nobody on the internet has a solution. Thoughts?

  • if you are able to create a (non-PDF/X)-PDF from your MS Publisher file and make it available somewhere online, I could have a look and see what could be done in Acrobat to convert it into a PDF/X-1a:2001... – Kurt Pfeifle May 17 '11 at 16:12

Create a non-PDF/X file first.

You could now start Acrobat's preflight tool. Then find the "single fixup" to remove the ArtBox entries for each PDF page.

After that, run it again through a re-distilling process in Acrobat Pro in order to finally create your desired PDF/X-1a:2001.

Background info: using ArtBox is deprecated in general and forbidden in PDF/X-1a:2001.

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This problem drove me crazy, but I finally (sort of) found the answer. To make a long story short, I realized I had already gotten my file to be in the PDF/X-1a:2001 format even thought I was still getting the error. So, my first advice is to go to File > Properties > Custom, and see if PDF/X-1a:2001 is already listed. If so, stop there because you are already set.

If not, you need to run Preflight. Go to View > Tools > Print Production. The menu will show up on the right-hand side. Choose Preflight. Go down to "Convert to PDF/X Compliance" and click it. Then click one of the "Convert PDF/X 1a" options (I don't know what the different options are, so I just chose the first one). Then click the "Analyze and Fix" button at the bottom. It will prompt you to save this analyzed/fixed document as a different name. If you get any errors, google them and try to fix them. (I was able to figure a few small ones out. My second file didn't have any errors.) Run it again until it is fine.

Here is the key. Go to File > Properties > Custom, and see if PDF/X-1a:2001 is listed. If so, you are good. The mistake I made was at this point to try again to print it to a PDF/X-1a:2001 and I was still getting that Trim Box Art Box error and driving myself crazy until I finally realized that the PDF/X-1a:2001 file was already created.

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18 October 2016

Kurt's trick worked wonders for me! (Thank you!!!) I have been a graphic designer for almost 16 years and I have come across my fair share of PDF/X-1a bleedbox and trimbox errors when I can find no logical reason for them. This is the FIRST true fix I have found after years of searching! My steps were slightly different than Kurt's, so I will share:

In your program, set up print settings for high resolution (in InDesign, this is on the "Advanced" print tab) and for PDF printer preferences, uncheck "rely on system fonts", select the PDF page size, and select "Press Quality."

In Acrobat Pro, open the "Press Quality" PDF you just created, then open the preflight tool. (In Acrobat Pro XI (CS5), this is under Advanced > Print Production > Preflight.) Click and expand the PDF/X compliance tab. Choose Convert to PDF/X-1a (SWOP) unless you know for sure you need one of the other settings. Select "Analyze and Fix." You can save your final "fixedup" PDF/X-1a:2001 PDF as whatever name you choose and it will create the file.

In my case, the preflight tool determined there were no PDF/X-1a errors in my file. (YAY!) I have read on other threads (such as QBN) that there is a glitch in InDesign that can occur with bleed/trim when creating PDF/X-1a.

I found more hints about the preflight tool here: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/11/using/correcting-problem-areas-preflight-tool.html

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