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Commercial Printing features?


Commercial Printing features?

Hello experts,

How do you handle CMYK pictures, CMYK and pantone colors table cell shading, bleed and crop marks?

Arbortext Editor supports only RGB colors. We bought also Isodraw, the styler and the publishing engine but it appears we will need Arbortext Advanced Print Publisher and a lot of scaring macros and coding.

Its a nightmare for a newbie to redact a shopping list of PTC products.

Hope you are more helpful than my PTC reseller 😞


There may be a variety of options with the software you presently
have, depending upon your exact needs and present configuration.

Which version of the Arbortext products are you currently using? What
sort of style sheet are you using (one supplied with a built-in
doctype, a custom Styler sheet, a FOSI, etc.)? Do you require Pantone
support, or would CMYK support do the job (some Pantone colors can be
achieved with CMYK, but not all)? Do you require support for a broad
range of colors, or just a limited number of specific colors that must
be reproduced precisely in print?

-Brandon 🙂

Hello Alessandro

If you already have all these products and are using 5.4 or 6.0 then you should already have access to APP through the publishing engine option in Styler. The PI/Macro print commands and controls for this area can be explained/reference or you could possibly even use Javascript FOM source edits direct from Styler.

We currently support a number of APP users in Italy, so if you do not find what you need with PE and decide to explore APP, please feel free to get in touch should you need some assistance.


Chris Western

Hi Alessandro,

What exactly are you trying to achieve? You don't mention. APP (Advanced
Print Publisher) is mainly used for very complex jobs and may not be exactly
what you need if you are simply trying to get some basic documentation

As Chris mentions, if you are an active PTC maintenance customer then you
will have access to the latest Styler and Publishing Engine software which
does include the APP technology. In fact, you will find that the Arbortext
6.0 series software uses the APP formatting engine as the default.

What is missing in Arbortext Styler/PE over the standalone APP Desktop
software is the interactive APP GUI. APP Desktop has a full GUI for
developing APP templates and working with APP documents (eg. moving/resizing
frames, changing text on the page). That is to say: APP Desktop can load
XML, automatically produces the pages via a template, then let you manually
edit the pages before printing to PDF.

It may be helpful if you described what sort of documentation you are
working with, the complexities you have encountered which brought you to
Arbortext, and so on. Those on the list may then be able to give better




thank you all for your help,

I am using DITA with Arbortext 6 to create a pricelist and a technical catalog of our products. I am customizing the default stylesheet of the Styler (

Since they are technical documentation I do not need a very advanced layout but my graphic designer requires CMYK colors plus Pantone 350.

We chose Arbortext to be able to pull technical data from a database and to reuse content and translations through DITA. Additionally, we wanted to retain the source documents and the Translation Memories.


Hi Alessandro,

The APP print engine should retain the CMYK colours in your images, but it
may lose embedded colour profiles (you don't specify if colour profiles are
required or not). APP also supports spot colour inks such as Pantone 350,
which I don't think are supported by the default FOSI print engine.

Considering you have relatively straightforward layout requirements you
might get good mileage from using Arbortext Styler to define your
stylesheet, and ensure the APP print engine is selected, instead of FOSI.
You could get your graphic designer to check that the resultant PDF meets

An alternative method, if you get stuck, may be to use PostScript and OPI,
plus Distiller.

1. Ensure Arbortext outputs PostScript files with OPI comments for each
graphic. (This way it doesn't matter what sort of stylesheet you want to
use: Styler, FOSI, APP, XSL-FO)

2. The PostScript processor (Distiller?) can then substitute the
graphics in the file according to the OPI comments (eg. inserting the
original version of the graphic).

3. The result would be that the PostScript file is distilled in order
to produce a PDF with original graphics (and colour profiles) intact.

4. During PostScript processing, or in the PDF itself, substitute a
certain RGB colour for the Pantone 350 spot ink. In your stylesheet you
would use a certain RGB colour such as 100% blue which the PostScript/PDF
tool can then substitute for the correct spot colour.

Hope that helps.



Thank you Gareth,

I do not need color profiles so I think the APP engine will suffice.

Could you tell me how to send "commands" or "PIs" to the APP engine? I have not found any reference documentation.


Alessandro Frulli

Hi Alessandro,

You shouldn't need to get into the APP commands with your work. Styler
should be sufficient, the Styler stylesheet format is capable of driving the
APP print engine directly.

If you do find you need to "hand tweak" the native APP code under the hood
then get ready to do some learning J You can use the "Edited Source" feature
of Styler to add custom APP commands.

BTW, after you select the APP print engine in Styler (File -> Stylesheet
Properties -> Print/PDF Options), you can also choose to associate an APP
"template" (.3F file) with the Styler stylesheet. This allows for some very
advanced functionality indeed, but to make the .3F file you would need to
also have the APP Desktop software.

The reference documentation for the APP commands ships with the APP Desktop
software, and you should also be able to download it from
(click the "Reference Documents" link and search for Arbortext Advanced
Print Publisher 10.0 documents).