PDF 1.6 w/ XML content -> PDF 1.5

Looking for some help with a problem we have been trying to resolve for over a week.

We have a number of PDF 1.6 documents which contain embedded XML content. These display correctly in Adobe Reader 8.1 and the interactive form fields in the documents work as expected. At the tail end of the workflow we need to to FAX the documents. We’re using an Exchange based FAX service to do this. Unfortunately, this FAX service is not able to parse PDF 1.6 documents and strips out the embedded XML content in our documents prior to sending the FAX. This means that the recipients receive documents with large chunks of content missing.

We have no control over the FAX service, the provider is not willing to upgrade to support PDF 1.6 documents and we are not able to use another provider.

So, we have to modify the documents that we are sending to the FAX service. In order to fit into the workflow, this modification has to be done programmatically and it has to run on a Solaris platform. We have tried a number of different approaches to downgrade the documents from PDF 1.6 to PDF 1.5 but none of them preserve the XML content in the document. We have also explored a different tack where we convert the PDF 1.6 documents to TIFF or PS and forward these to the FAX service instead but, again, none of the tests we have run render the XML content to the image files properly.

The only package we have come across which is able to properly render the XML content is Adobe Reader/Acrobat 8.1. It is possible to write scripts for these to, for example, print the PDF content to a PostScript file but this approach would be difficult to fit into the workflow on our target Solaris platform.

Any suggestions as to other avenues to explore would be much appreciated, especially from those who have run into similar problems.

Instead of PostScript, would printing it to PDF again via something like CutePDF be good enough? There’s no explicit version control in the settings that I can see, but since it repackages the printer output, I assume that the 1.6-specific stuff would get ‘flattened’ to raw printer output before that point.

Thanks for the response. After talking with Adobe, it does look as though printing to a PS file via a virtual print driver is the way we’re going to have to do this. Bugger.

Well, if you don’t want to go to PS, you could try the equally unattractive option of converting to TIF files or something similar.

At least there’s the potential of a solution out there somewhere – it’s not elegant, but at least it’ll probably work!