What is PDF/VT?

27 / 2 / 2021

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There’s a PDF format that can help businesses and organizations become much more efficient and it can be done from a desktop. This standard is called PDF/VT. This file format is another type of PDF document standard that can help people personalize files like invoices, billings, direct mailing, and more. PDF/VT literally means PDF for variable and transactional printing, where contents change for personalization and variable data. It is an international standard that was released in August 2010 as ISO 16612-2.

invoices using pdfvt

What is variable data printing?

When you think of variable data printing, you think about the content that may vary per receiver. This simply means that every recipient may get different content and should be printed. This method is used mostly in personalized mails or direct mailings.

What is transactional printing?

Transactional printing isn’t far from variable printing. It also has content that varies per receiving customer and may depend on the transaction that happens between the giver and the receiver. In business, transactional printing means the use of invoices, statements, and billings, and marketing materials such as transpromotional communications.

Getting deep with PDF/VT files

To clarify, PDF/VT is still a PDF file. Like any other PDF file, it still has the same file extension and can still be opened by the same reader like Adobe Acrobat. But just like any other PDF standard, it has special features that allow efficient workflow or easier access. PDF/VT is based on PDF/X-4 and PDF/X-5, two existing PDF standards for printing jobs.

With PDF/VT, you can still use transparency, color, or grayscale, you can still add 8-bit and 16-bit images, and you can still add layers in your project. The only downside with this standard is the fact that you cannot encrypt the file.  

What’s so special about PDF/VT is the fact that it can take a simple PDF and make it exceptionally astounding as it can have additional objects like visuals, text, and images without having to compromise its printed quality. It can also include OCCDs or Optional content configuration dictionaries which allows better image quality.

pdf vt with a workflow

Different types of PDF/VT

It’s not hard to remember and like an iPhone, it is simply labeled in increasing number as it increases features. There’s PDF/VT-1, PDF/VT-2, and PDF/VT-2S. What’s the difference? Let’s elaborate.

PDF/VT-1 is in a single file. All the data that can be found in this file is embedded inside. It’s basic but it’s simplified and usually preferred by those who like information to be provided straight out.

PDF/VT-2 offers a PDF that can link to other PDF objects. This PDF is perfect for documents that contain large data and makes it easier for authors to put up a reference.

PDF/VT-2s can be the most complicated. It supports live streaming and allows processing for some parts of the data.  

Processing PDF/VT files

Adobe is certainly the vendor of such software to run and create PDF/VT files but such software cannot be purchased directly for individual buyers. To get a processing engine for printing, you need to get software that has this incorporated in the workflow product. This software is called Adobe PDF Printing Engine or otherwise called APPE. If you’re an organization that already has some workflow up and running in their office computers, then our provider can help you with PDF/VT.

Who usually uses PDF/VT?

Businesses and organizations that often transact with other businesses will often find themselves using this standard to operate smoothly and efficiently. If the business uses and transacts with a lot of names, addresses, and a variety of data per recipient, then this transactional document can fit them just right. Most of the time, marketing and finance departments make use of such a format. As mentioned in the introduction, it can often be used in billings, invoices, personalized marketing materials, and even proposals. In effect, the personalization of the document helps build relationships between businesses and also helps the organization appear professional.




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