Batch imposing

Started by GinsTonic, September 04, 2016, 06:49:19 PM

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Hi all,

I work at a mail house and we're starting to dip our toes into variable booklet making. I'm looking for some kind of batch imposition software where I can drop say, 20,000x pdfs and have them individually imposed based on a template that I create.

Let's say we had to produce 20,000x 16pp A4 booklets. I'd like to dump 20,000x 16pp A4 PDFs into an imposition application/hot folder and receive 20,000x 4pp SRA3 PDFs ready for printing and saddle stitching (in-line).

Any ideas? I've seen tools that combine and impose single page PDFs into one output file, but nothing that can do a large volume of multi page PDFs.

I have a feeling that the high end tools out there might do it, but I don't think the up front cost and additional features provided would be of any real benefit to us. To give you some perspective, we use Command Workstation for imposition (I know, I know) as ganging up artwork isn't much of a requirement with the nature of the work we do.

Thanks in advance...



It sounds doable with Quite Hot Imposing server.
It's not huge investment and is very fast, easily handling multi-page PDF's.


Well if you are printing digitally and have imposition software in your digital RIP you should be able to make a hot folder with all the settings you want. I have this setup for some repeat manuals that come on a regular basis, I just drop the file in and it does everything.


I agree with the Squatch. That is how I have my digital set up... hotfolders.

If you are going into the world of hotfolders and such, it's good to be using direct file paths, on a static network... floating IPs and mapped drives/folders are for noobs. 
"... profile says he's a seven-foot tall ex-basketball pro, Hindu guru drag queen alien." ~Jet Black


Cheers - thanks for the input!


... re-reading your original post... 20k PDFs, for a single job? Sounds like a composite variable data file. That would be bloated. My mail dept tried that too and I told them what I'm about to tell you, buy XMPie.

You could work off a single, master PDF and it would pull the variable data from the list and resource folders, making it true variable data. It will even allow you to have pictures and objects change with the names, once properly set up.
"... profile says he's a seven-foot tall ex-basketball pro, Hindu guru drag queen alien." ~Jet Black


Hi Ear,

We're a mailhouse so pretty much everything we do here is variable. We have XMPie (uCreate) but from what I can see I can only get a single PDF file as the final output, and it's imposition functionality is rubbish at best (for cut and stack jobs). My current plan was to output the one PDF file, split it using our custom splitting tool, then dump PDFs into a hot folder/application for batch imposing. As a result there's a fair bit of network traffic, but we can manage that using our custom batch print tools.

I'm not if there are addons for XMPie that add this functionality (uProduce server perhaps).

The problem with a master PDF is that it doesn't cater for as much variability within the artwork itself, is basically overlays data/ graphics in a fixed position and doesn't allow for re-flowing artwork, dynamic page counts etc. We could go really granular with the PDF base variants and set up various print streams around the base permutations, (base type A/B/C/D/E/F) etc but I don't know how much time we are saving and whether the integrity of the job would be more easily compromised using that approach as there are more touch points. We use the master PDF technique a lot for the basic jobs but we like to streamline things as much as possible to ensure the room for the human error is as small as possible and make things smoother for the letter shop.

Variable jobs that require some sort of binding (ie saddle stitch) is something we want to get into but have not really pushed here yet. We want to start heading in that direction but the workflow side of things requires a fair bit of research :)


You are correct. XMPie is merging the art and data but not imposing, etc... The ones I know who use it have it running PDF/JDF to a workflow. Usually a baby workflow, like an EFI Fiery, where it spools from InDesign/XMPie into the RIP. JDF (job definition format) is supposed to take care of things like versioning and even as far as CIP4 data and digital cutter programs, from the impo.

I use a couple of EFIs... a Fiery XF (digital press) and a ColorProof XF (Epson Sepctroproof). They aren't nearly as robust as a big workflow, like Prinergy, XMF, Sierra, etc... but they work pretty well for digital and are very easy to use.

EFI is a good place to start, for an entry-level workflow, especially for digital.
"... profile says he's a seven-foot tall ex-basketball pro, Hindu guru drag queen alien." ~Jet Black


Again, thanks for the input!

Will look more into JDF and see where that leads me...