I'm generating PDFs using pdflatex. I have found that the pdfx LaTeX module allows to make the files PDF/X compliant, but I would like to make sure that the generated documents are indeed compliant. Acrobat Professional provides a "preflight" tool for that. Is there any free software that can do this check, too?

  • this is a difficult one... Adobe changes the requirements of PDF/X between versions of Acrobat Pro, you can have a file that verifies fine in one version on preflight and fails in another version
    – yms
    Apr 28, 2011 at 20:51
  • Isn't PDF/X a standard? What I need to check is things like CMYK, embedded fonts, etc.
    – raphink
    Apr 28, 2011 at 20:55
  • Since you did not specify "free" this time, allow me to recommend Amyuni PDF Analyzer. It currently support verification for PDF/A (the verification set is compatible with Acrobat 9), but it is extendable/programmable with scripts. Take a look at its features here pdfanalyzer.com/features.html, it may suit your needs.
    – yms
    Apr 28, 2011 at 21:05
  • Thanks @yums. Do you actually know any free one?
    – raphink
    Apr 29, 2011 at 5:51
  • 3
    @yms: Umm, no -- 'Adobe' doesn't change requirements of PDF/X. PDF/X is defined by international working groups of prepress industry experts, accepted by ISO as a formal standard (or not). However, having said that: there is no such thing as a generic 'PDF/X'. There are a few different standards concerning that area, such as: 'PDF/X-1a:2001' (ISO 15930-1); 'PDF/X-3:2002' (ISO 15930-3); 'PDF/X-1a:2003' (ISO 15930-4); 'PDF/X-2:2003' (ISO 15930-5); 'PDF/X-3:2003' (ISO 15930-6); 'PDF/X-4' (ISO 15930-7) and 'PDF/X-5' (ISO 15930-8). Yes, it's confusing... May 1, 2011 at 1:22

3 Answers 3


I am not aware of any free (as in beer) or Free (as in Liberty) software that can reliably validate any of the different PDF/X-* standards.

If you need to do it regularly, and if your business depends on it, you might need to use closed source payware.

If you only need to validate a few files, you may get away with using a tool like callas Software's pdfToolbox5 ( www.callassoftware.com ) and their time limited test/evaluation license (available for Windows and Mac OSX in desktop GUI shape, and as a CLI tool for Linux/Solaris as well....).

  • That's my conclusion indeed. So far, I went with PDFStudio, which has a 30-day evalutation. I might consider buying one of these programs if I really need to achieve a preflight on a regular basis (although I find it sad to have to buy a full PDF creation software to use just one functionality).
    – raphink
    May 1, 2011 at 6:03

I found the answer presented in How can I test a PDF document if it is PDF/A compliant? very useful.

The free service at http://www.validatepdfa.com/ allows you to submit a PDF document by mail, the service replies with a validation report. I haven't managed to get my document validated, although I use the pdfx package.

I also need to mention Generating PDF/A compliant PDFs from pdftex, which provides some insight in the pdftex and PDF/A topic.


We are in 2023 now, and the LaTeX team has devoted considerable effort to enable tagged PDFs. The following code, if placed before \documentclass, can generate PDF/A and PDF/X compliant to the latest standards (PDF 2.0, PDF/A-4, PDF/X-6).


% content of your document

Scribus in an open source InDesign alternative that can check for PDF/X-3 and PDF/X-4 compliance with his Preflight verifier. Just open a PDF file, go to Window > Preflight Verifier and select PDF/X-4.

Source: https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/446594/423407

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