Easiest way to fix broken/corrupt/weird PDFs?

bcr

Well-known member
Hi folks,

We receive lots of 'office' documents which we have to print, either through Command Workstation or a KM controller/driver.

We frequently get weird PDF's, stuff like: scanned documents with irregular page sizes, comment boxes sitting outside the page dimensions, weird fonts in foreign languages. This often makes the fiery or the printer driver throw a wobbly and refuse to process them.

For our new printers i am looking for a simple solution to 'fix' these PDF's so that they will print and i'm looking for suggestions. Ricoh suggested Pitstop Server, but it's quite expensive for something that will probably only be used once every few weeks or even months. It should also be easy to use. In the past I've sometimes been able to re-print as PDF's, or print on a basic office printer and scan them back in. Quality is not an issue - as long as the documents are legible.
 

Repro_Pro

Well-known member
In such rare cases I would suggest "ripping" in Photoshop to whatever resolution and color space that fits your digital press.
 
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bcr

Well-known member
In such rare cases I would suggest "ripping" in Photoshop to whatever resolution and color space that fits your digital press.
Thanks for this. We don't actually have Photoshop ATM as we are currently only printing office docs, but I guess we could invest in that and InDesign etc with the new machines instead of pitstop server - esp as we may be starting to print marketing materials in house
 

DYP

Well-known member
I would give Affinity Publisher a try since it opens PDF files. Fonts could be an issue though as you will have to have those fonts loaded or replace them once opened.
 

abc

Well-known member
If you've only got a few files then you don't need PitStop Server.
PitStop Pro will do the job and has the same functionality, it's just manual instead of automatic.
You probably need different solutions for different files, so manual might even be a better approach.
30 day trial available, perpetual or subscription licensing.

You can PM me if you have any questions or would like any test files processed.
 
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chriscozi

Member
I would give Affinity Publisher a try since it opens PDF files. Fonts could be an issue though as you will have to have those fonts loaded or replace them once opened.
Get the Affinity Suite. $150 - it imports word files, scans, you name it.
Will also let you do your marketing stuff.
YMMV.
 
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JorisJ

Member
Open the PDF in Acrobat Pro, export to a Postscript file, and then re-rip with Distiller (high-res PDF in PDF standard you need) is sometimes a solution also to get a properly created PDF that you can edit and rip easier.
 
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bcr

Well-known member
Open the PDF in Acrobat Pro, export to a Postscript file, and then re-rip with Distiller (high-res PDF in PDF standard you need) is sometimes a solution also to get a properly created PDF that you can edit and rip easier.
I've had some docs where the only thing that would work was to save as an image and then convert that back to pdf
 

bcr

Well-known member
If you've only got a few files then you don't need PitStop Server.
PitStop Pro will do the job and has the same functionality, it's just manual instead of automatic.
You probably need different solutions for different files, so manual might even be a better approach.
30 day trial available, perpetual or subscription licensing.

You can PM me if you have any questions or would like any test files processed.
Thanks! This is v. helpful. It is probably 1 in 2,500 documents that won't print at all - it just tends to be the case that when we receive one we receive several at once. So just looking for a way to fix the docs as easily as possible. Will try out a demo and see if it works. Not sure if I can send you the problematic files as they are probably highly confidential legal docs
 

gordo

Well-known member
IMHO Affinity Publisher is the way to go - about $50 and no subscription. Open your PDF using Affinity Publisher, make any needed changes then export as a new PDF.
 
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Joe

Well-known member
IMHO Affinity Publisher is the way to go - about $50 and no subscription. Open your PDF using Affinity Publisher, make any needed changes then export as a new PDF.
Not unless you have the fonts embedded in the PDF locally and open on your system.
 
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bcr

Well-known member
Wouldn’t that be the case with other methods?
My knowledge of fonts is v. limited. But the documents are sent from all around the world and in all manner of languages. Often they are scanned Docs and I think perhaps bad OCR is done and that might have something to do with it.

The docs I'm talking about are evidence in law suits so we just have to print them as simply and accurately as possible
 

Joe

Well-known member
Wouldn’t that be the case with other methods?
No. With Affinity Publisher you can't even place a PDF in a Publisher document unless you have the fonts loaded locally or it will replace the embedded fonts with something else that is loaded locally on your system., InDesign or Quark do not have that issue. Heck even PageMaker wouldn't even do that.

But it sounds like the PDF's he is getting may just be scanned documents with no fonts. In that case Publisher would be able to place those files without issue. Not sure if the resulting PDF would be any better than the original. If they are just scanned document documents Photoshop (or Affinity Photo $50.00 right now) would be my choice to resize/crop or do any other fixes.
 
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tngcas

Active member
I paid an online programmer (Netherlands I think) a while back make a standalone desktop application that converts pdf files to images at whatever resolution I specify (usually 600dpi), mirror the margins (if I ask it to) and then converts it back to pdf for me.

I had ideas that we could use it to cut down on the time we spend fixing/adding bleeds to customer files because a decent percentage of our customers don't know what they're doing and we can't spend a lifetime educating all of them (we win some, we lose some). It wasn't a perfect match for what I was hoping for BUT the one nice side-effect is that I can almost always reliably use it to fix buggy pdf files and do it quickly. I use it as a last resort because converting to images isn't ideal but sometimes it's the only thing that works.

You can achieve the same thing by opening up the file in photoshop and flattening it and resaving it as a pdf BUT you have to do that page-by-page and that's not efficient for a longer document. You can use an online program to convert everything to images but they usually downgrade the resolution in the process so that's not ideal either.

I might have to look at Affinity myself since it's so cheap.
 
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Ynot_UK

Member
We place all non-print ready content received into Indesign to make a print ready PDF, which is emailed to the customer for print approval. Dodgy scans we tidy up as best we can, sometimes just applying a corrective subtle rotation to de-skew and getting rid of unwanted marks in margins, redoing the page numbering in Id so the positioning is common.
 
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bcr

Well-known member
Important to note that often these files may be several hundred or even thousands of pages long - hence the need for the fix to be as quick and automated as possible
 

tngcas

Active member
Important to note that often these files may be several hundred or even thousands of pages long - hence the need for the fix to be as quick and automated as possible
Agreed. That's why we went the route we did, on multi-page documents we just couldn't find a solution that wasn't incredibly either time-consuming or expensive and on longer legal type documents the quality isn't as important (compared to say business cards) so it works for us without slowing down our turnaround-time.
 
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Ynot_UK

Member
I believe the earlier versions of Indesign did not by default include a multi page importer script, although there were many freely available or you could write your own.... which is why some old school printers still place manually, which would be rather soul destroying.
We still use the same free script downloaded years ago, as it is familiar and can handle PDFs of hundreds of pages in a couple of minutes.
 

Puch

Well-known member
Callas pdfToolbox Desktop can be a solution. It was around 500 EUR/USD last time I've checked.
 
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