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Imposition choices

Feb 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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Where does imposition software appear in your workflow? Is it integrated with a Web-enabled storefront? A digital press? Did it come with your CTP solution, or maybe as part of a shop-to-top computer integrated manufacturing system?

Whether you use a bundled solution, a standalone program or some combination of full-featured software and plug-ins, you have many choices when it comes to print file imposition. We've gathered a collection of popular applications.

Custom fit

Xanté Corp. (Mobile, AL), which acquired RIPit Imaging Systems Inc. in 2007, offers Symphony 3.0, a modular system designed to suit the needs of individual shops. The powerful Adobe PostScript 3 RIP drives a variety of output devices including imagesetters, platesetters, laser printers, inkjet printers and plotters. It offers scanning, trapping, screening, and imposition for these devices.

Standard features include Adobe PDF Print Engine, which interprets PDF files using live transparency without any flattening. The Pantone Matching System is integrated into the spot color database so custom colors can be defined in multiple color spaces. This includes Pantone's Goe System with 2,058 solid colors.

Optional StripRITE Raster Imposition generates spreads for books, step-and-repeat business cards, and other sophisticated imposition tasks. It can impose PDFs, PS (composite and separated), EPS files and scanned pages all in one document — imposition takes place after the file is interpreted. Raster imposition also lets users perform late binding, to start printing a large job before all of the pages are available. Users can create templates and impose documents in minutes. “Dutch cut” and multiple page size templates are possible.

Optional Freeform ganging can be used by itself or in conjunction with StripRITE Imposition. Users place pages or images of varying size and orientation onto one or more sheets on the fly. This minimizes media use and creation time.

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Built for printers

Quark (Denver) Print Collection is a feature-packed set of prepress tools supporting the most recent versions of QuarkXPress and Adobe Acrobat. The intuitive Quark Print Collection user interface allows you to impose native QuarkXPress layouts or PDF files. Pagination options and advanced control over settings such as bleed and creep provide flexibility and ensure quality. Preview impositions on screen before printing to verify accuracy and prevent waste. And save frequently used imposition settings to use again or share.

The collection includes XTensions software for creating custom printer marks such as registration targets, color bars, text slugs and logos. These can be applied to individual items or entire pages.

Quark Print Collection includes Quark Imposer for QuarkXPress, Quark Imposer for Adobe Acrobat, Quark MarkIt, and Quark Item Marks. Based on technology originally developed by A Lowly Apprentice Production (ALAP) Inc., which Quark acquired in 2005, these tools provide users with everything they need to create fully imposed press-ready files. See
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Quite versatile

Quite, the maker of Adobe Acrobag plug-ins Quite Imposing and Quite Imposing Plus, recently introduced Quite Hot Imposing, a standalone imposition application to automate workflows outside of Acrobat.

Available for Mac and Windows, it is built on the Quite Imposing Plus plug-in and the Adobe Acrobat PDF Library. It saves setups and can repeat functions by a method Quite calls, “Imposition by Example.”

Quite also has been working with Gradual Software ( to ensure its customers can integrate Quite Hot Imposing with Gradual's SWITCH workflow automation products.

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Dynamic options

Dynagram (Quebec, Canada) just released its INposition 8.0 QuarkXPress XTension for the professional commercial printing market.

Users can impose documents created with QuarkXPress 8.0, Adobe InDesign CS4, Acrobat 9.0 and any PDF 1.7 document. With this new support, users of INposition 8.0 can impose supported file formats within QuarkXPress 8.0 using all the features of INposition. It also is compatible with the new MacOSX 10.5 (Leopard). An intuitive interface guides users through the imposition process within the QuarkXPress environment.

Upgrades are available for all INposition 7.X and 6.X users.

Dynagram offers a range of imposition software options, including DynaStrip, which processes a variety of input file formats including Postscript, EPS, PDF and others.

In 2008, Dynagram expanded its inpO2 imposition product for Adobe Acrobat with the addition of advanced modules for automated ganging, planning and web press layouts. In this first quarter of 2009, Dynagram will announce a major restructuring and expansion of the inpO2 line with new modules that will enhance scalability and provide more workflow options for printers of all sizes. inpO2 is now offered internationally through a network of dealers and through partners such as Xitron, Mitsubishi, Presstek, Highwater, Lucid Dreams, Jetplate and more.

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MPM offers inpO2

Mitsubishi Imaging (MPM), Inc. (Rye, NY) is offering Dynagram's inpO2 imposition suite for Adobe Acrobat, as an option for MPM's Smart Tools workflow software.

SDP Smart Tools allows customers to automate prepress tasks, improve file handling, reduce errors and save time with increased throughput. Key features include client-server control, drag-and-drop workflow creation, PDF generation with integrated preflight, printable job tickets and automated file handling. The inpO2 module adds imposition functionality.

inpO2 ATOM, the entry level edition of inpO2, provides an easy-to-use, scalable workflow and PDF imposition solution. Because inpO2 is a scalable solution and each module or edition is based on the same inpO2 foundation within Acrobat, users can add more advanced functionality to their inpO2 ATOM. Features such as advanced optimization (automated ganging), complex imposition assembly or imposition planning are available as upgrades.

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In-RIP imposition

Adobe (San Jose, CA) PDF Print Engine 2 provides JDF control for device-dependent processes such as color management, trapping, and imposition. These tasks can be deferred until jobs are ready to be rendered, allowing in-RIP ICC color management, trapping, and imposition to accommodate last-minute changes. Users also can configure PDF jobs easily for various types of devices and presses, including hybrid offset and digital print workflows. See

Adobe InDesign CS4, released in 2008, combines InDesign page layout with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional interactive authoring.

To solve specific workflow challenges, Adobe has introduced IDML (InDesign Markup Language), an open, extensible XML representation of InDesign documents. It allows third-party developers and systems integrators — using standard XML editing tools — to create, modify and deconstruct InDesign documents outside InDesign or InDesign Server. Check out the complete list of InDesign CS4 plug-ins at
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Robust multi-job automation

Fujifilm Graphic Systems U.S.A., Inc. (Valhalla, NY) is now distributing Metrix 3.5, manufactured by LithoTechnics (Phoenix). Specifically designed to eliminate the complexities of planning multiple jobs — especially those that include custom-sized work — Metrix 3.5 boasts a number of new features, including auto bleeds, support for jog to foot (low folio lap) books, and right-hand spines. Additionally, JDF connectivity has been enhanced, enabling binding instructions for saddlestitchers and perfect binders. It takes into account different sizes, quantities, mixtures of flat and folded work, bleeds and grain direction requirements.

Metrix also features robust workflow connectivity. JDF imposition data is exported directly into the prepress workflow, where pages are automatically linked and flats readied for proofing and plating. With the latest version, LithoTechnics has taken JDF compatibility a notch higher by introducing JDF export to stitchers and perfect binders.

With Metrix, users are able to reduce the number of press makereadies and plate consumption, account for product bleeds, grain direction and quantities, and export layout data in CIP3, JDF or Preps template formats. Additionally, Metrix produces comprehensive reports for each job.

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Solutions for a range of markets

LithoTechnics' (Phoenix) Metrix family includes Metrix Commercial, Metrix Max, Metrix X-8 and Metrix X-80, targeted at different segments of the commercial print market. All editions are available on Mac OS X and Windows, and all automatically plan and impose flat, folded and bound work. All editions can import JDF and export imposed PDF. Select editions include Auto Plan, and export various forms of JDF for prepress and finishing. See
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Prepared for anything

Kodak (Rochester, NY) Preps Software is used in workflow solutions from Kodak and third parties, as well as standalone PostScript and PDF environments. The workflow accepts incoming PDF files automatically without converting them to PS, providing fast and accurate native previewing. PDFs can be archived, sent to an output device or exported. Preps can now import JDF files from management information systems (MIS). It attempts to match the MIS-specified imposition details or dynamically creates a signature including placement of all marks. Preps can then export a file that includes the original JDF plus the JDF imposition layout and mark flats.

With the SmartMarks feature, users can define where marks or groups of marks should be placed on a press sheet in relation to the sheet size, gutter or page, rather than as static marks, and save templates. When the template is applied to new jobs, these marks will automatically reposition and resize themselves to the new press sheet sizes in a single action.

Kodak Preps Pro Imposition Software includes a feature to efficiently create ganged flatwork impositions.

Kodak Preps Software 5.3, available as a free upgrade for all Preps 5.x users, introduces the job ganging feature, as well as the ability to run multiple jobs together on the same press sheet.

Packaging powerhouse

Kodak Pandora Step-and-Repeat software automates the creation of step-and-repeat layouts. It snaps artwork to selected die stations, creates bleed paths based on information from CAD die files and resolves bleed overlaps, automatically.

Pandora software also offers SmartMarks and JDF capability. Adoption of JDF, combined with the existing support for PDF, PJTF, and CIP4, makes it easier to integrate Pandora into existing workflows.

The Pandora software user interface features intuitive drag-and-drop capabilities to integrate press sheets, film, plates, output devices, presses and workflows.

Pandora enables the user to remap spot color to spot color, remap spot color to process color, change the process color build values of spot colors, and use nesting and forms caching for artwork. Version 2.9.5 features an improved dynamic display of die files, licensing integration with the Kodak Prinergy workflow, and automatic press sheet sizing. It runs on Mac or PC and is a free upgrade for all registered users.

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Faster, more automated imposition

Ultimate Technographics (Montreal) recently released version 8.5 of Impostrip. Features include:

  • Ganging of mixed binding.
  • Automated multipage positioning.
  • PDF compression.
  • New variables for marks.
  • Mac OS 10.5 compatibility.
  • Acrobat 8 and 9 PS and PDF, InDesign CS3.

Impostrip Unlimited includes JDF cutting and folding certified with Polar, Muller-Martini, Horizon and Duplo.

Recently, the company released several new solutions including a powerful imposition plug-in for Acrobat, Absolutely Imposing on MAC; the new Impostrip On-Demand Digital Automation 2009 and the new Impostrip Econo Edition. See
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Instant optimization

Heidelberg's (Kennesaw, GA) Prinect Signa Station software for impositioning and sheet assembly features easy-to-understand tools, visual control of all workflow stages, conceptual separation of fold sheets and print sheets, and special modules for packaging printing.

The program adopts data about customers, binding processes, formats and more from the job costing information. It also provides presetting data for printing and finishing in PPF and JDF format. Job Assistant guides the user through impositioning and assembly. It generates the product parts required for a job in just a few steps. Templates are available to reduce the amount of data that needs to be entered.

Prinect Signa Station distinguishes between print and fold sheets, responding flexibly to production requirements and changes. Multiple fold sheets can be positioned on one print sheet. In assembly mode, mixed forms can be created by freely positioning individual pages singly or with fold sheets on a print sheet. Imposition is performed on the basis of folding layouts, automatically.

The Sheet Optimizer option determines the ideal print sheet assignment for repeats of different formats and in different run sizes. The mark editor generates custom control marks and barcodes. The combi-marks facilitate processing, and the color bars adjust automatically to the colors of the print job.

The Packaging Pro option imports and processes CAD data in all standard formats. It can nest and number repeats and trimmings automatically, at any time. The trim can be determined directly on the sheet. See
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Popular plug-ins

callas software

Berlin-based callas software's updated pdfToolbox 4 plug-in and pdfToolbox Server 4 made their North American debut at Graph Expo 08. The plug-in has an extended feature set, enabling non-experts to go beyond preflighting and fixing PDFs. Users can prepare presentations, handle versioning and imposition, and perform advanced color management in less time. pdfToolbox 4 allows users to explore and export the XMP information that is embedded in a PDF file to a fully configurable report in XML or tab delimited format. The data associated with the document as well as with the individual images inside the PDF can be retrieved.

Following the introduction of the plug-in is the release of pdfToolbox Server 4. Based on one technology platform, it offers an easy way to automate the PDF workflow by allowing several actions to a PDF in one run. Processes are easily defined in the user interface of the pdfToolbox 4 plug-in. This keeps the server running, resulting in a simple setup while maintaining processing speed.

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CutePDF Professional (formerly CutePDF 3.2) for Windows enables advanced control over PDF document output. Easily add comments, security, stamps, headers and footers, create interactive form fields, create booklets or n-Up pages, combine files, rearrange pages, and more.

CutePDF Writer freeware creates professional quality PDF files from almost any printable document. It is available as a free download for personal, commercial, government or educational use. See
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Speedflow Impose is PDF-based imposition software for sheetfed, web and digital printing. Easily create job templates for single and multiform signatures with full control of sheet marks and color bars, and support for creep, bottling, etc. Advanced automation through JDF-compliant technology allows seamless integration with third-party production planning systems and output RIPs. See
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This simple imposition plug-in for Adobe InDesign features:

  • Advanced creep.
  • Step and repeat / Work and Turn / 2up and 4up printer spreads.
  • N-up calculation based on plate size.
  • N-up only limited by free memory.
  • Customizable crops/registration marks.
  • Choose your own predefined PDF presets.

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Working out workflow

Enfocus, a business unit of EskoArtwork (Gent, Belgium), offers PowerSwitch. The company's Switch workflow allows automating any third-party imposition tool, such as Ultimate ImpoStrip or Quite Hot Imposing, using scripting and metadata tools. PowerSwitch automatically downloads files from one or more FTP servers and receives them via e-mail or hot folder.

Crossroads, an Enfocus initiative, is a community bringing together partners, customers and consultants around the Enfocus Switch automation solutions. There are currently over 20 Switch applications. Crossroads allows Enfocus users to speed up the process of automating their workflows. The Crossroads community helps them to find a suitable solution for their problems.


While Dalim Software (Kehl, Germany) applications do not create templates for imposition, DALiM MiSTRAL and DALiM PRiNTEMPO are both used by printers to populate existing imposition templates with page content as it arrives from the print buyer. The Dalim Software production automation applications automatically import templates from any third-party imposition application, and build the imposed, printed sheets along with relevant crop marks and color bars, and any other necessary, customizable marks. Check it out at