A few iterations ago, Mac OS X had a "Save as PDF-X" option available via the print dialogue, with an associated file at /Library/PDF Services/Save As PDF-X.workflow that handled the magic suff I assume.

My understanding is that the PDF/X format embeds fonts and does other "preflight" stuff to make a document good for printshops to use. Outputting in this format is possible with Illustrator and other Adobe products, but I would produce a printshop-ready PDF/X file using software I already have (LibreOffice, Word, etc.)

In Mac OS X 10.9, this "Save as PDF-X" option is nowhere I can find.

Is there any simple way to create PDF/X format files?


Back in 2010, Philip Regan gave some info about doing it with the then present "Save as PDF-X" feature, but it is no longer part of the print dialogue. How can I print a PDF X-1A from a iWork Pages document?

Anyone have any ideas?

2 Answers 2


Create an Automator print plugin that prints as a PDF-X.

Open Automator.app

Select "Print Plugin" at the Choose a type for your document screen

Select "PDF" from the Actions menu

Drag "Apple Quartz Filter to the PDF Documents" to the workflow space on the right

When prompted choose if you want to create a copy of the original, add or don't add

In the Apply Quartz Filter to PDF Documents workflow, in the Filter dropdown, choose "Create Generic PDFX-3 Document".

Choose File-->Save

Name whatever you like (PDFX)

This will add a workflow back that allows for PDFX again. The workflow is saved in your user directory ~/Library/PDF Services/

  • To nitpick a bit, it might be a better choice to create a PDF/X1-a document; this is the only PDF/X format which does not leave anything to interpretation.
    – Max Wyss
    Dec 6, 2014 at 10:17
  • @max-wyss, Do you know how to cread a x-1a workflow? Automator seems to only have x-3.
    – j-beda
    Dec 6, 2014 at 19:40
  • Sounds like a lack among those Quartz filters. You might do better using Acrobat and the Preflight plug-in and create a Preflight Droplet.
    – Max Wyss
    Dec 7, 2014 at 8:13

The problem with using Automator is that is doesn't easily allow you to bring up a file dialog, so you have to save it to a preset location.

The other problem (worse) is that Apple's "Generic PDF/X-3 document" Filter is pretty hopeless, and does not always produce a compliant document. It also has terrible transparency settings.

A better PDF/X-3 Quartz Filter can be found here, and a PDF Service that applies the better filter to the outgoing PDF data, before bringing up a save dialog, can also be found here.

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