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Tools & Best Practices

The Tools, References and Best Practices page is an area offering a large amount of information that is broken down into several different areas where NPES administers standards including:


ISO 17972 defines methods for the use of CxF3 to exchange measurement data and associated metadata within the graphic arts industry and for the exchange of files between graphic arts users. It is a multi-part document where each part is intended to respond to different workflow requirements. The goal throughout the various parts of ISO 17972 has been to maintain the degree of flexibility required while minimizing the uncertainty of the data exchanged. (more)

The current parts of ISO 17972 are:

  • ISO 17972-1 Graphic technology — Colour data exchange format (CxF/X) — Part 1: Relationship to CxF3 (CxF/X-1)
  • ISO 17972-2 Graphic technology — Colour data exchange format (CxF/X) — Part 2: Scanner target data (CxF/X-2)
  • ISO 17972-3 Graphic technology — Colour data exchange format (CxF/X) — Part 3: Output target data (CxF/X-3)
  • ISO 17972-4 Graphic technology — Colour data exchange format (CxF/X) — Part 4: Spot colour characterisation data (CxF/X-4)


An electronic file format for long-term file preservation/archiving (more)


An application standard as well as a file format standard providing a focused subset of PDF designed specifically for reliable prepress data exchange. This page provides application notes, Adobe PDF references, Errata for PDF reference, the Adobe PDF reference manual, XMP-Extensible Metadata Platforms 2001 - 2005, technical notes, and a FAQ document. (more)


This part of ISO 20616 specifies a simple extensible format for the exchange of print quality data and metadata between quality control applications including but not limited to colour measurement, process control and quality management systems. (more)

GTS Registry

The most up-to-date GTS_ Name Prefix Registry (more)


Tagged Image File Format for Information Technology. A tag-based file format for storing and interchanging both raster and vector elements which is well-suited to scanned graphics. This page contains the TIFF 6.0 revision and a draft Technical Note that discusses problems found in TIFF's design for embedding JPEG data. (more)


Personalized Print Markup Language/Variable Data Exchange. A standard that specifies a way to use information in PDF format and PPML format for the exchange or identification of the elements needed to render a variable-data-printing job as intended by the person or entity that created it. This page contains the Application Notes for the standard. (more)


ISO 16612-2 defines the PDF/VT document format and methods to enable reliable document exchange for variable data and transactional printing. Transactional documents include invoices, statements, and documents that integrate billing information with marketing information (TransPromo). It is intended to enable those involved in variable data printing to take advantage of tools, conventions and technologies already in use. PDF/VT will simplify and streamline production workflows for Direct Mail, Transactional and TransPromo print jobs. It will simplify VDP printing in a range of environments from desktop printers to digital production presses. (more)


ISO 16684-1 offers content creators an easy way to embed information about their projects. It is useful for those who wish to use XMP metadata, including developers and end-users of applications that handle metadata for any type of resource. It is based on Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) which is a labeling technology that allows the user to embed data about a file, known as metadata, into the file itself.

Characterization Data Sets

Computational Tools

Click here to download a spreadsheet that will assist users in working with characterization data to:

  • Adjust for changes in substrate color
  • Extract process control data such as TVI, colorimetry of solids, etc.
  • Reorder to default IT8.7/4 ID number order

Technical Reports

A listing of technical reports that provide guidance in the following areas:

  • Colorimetric characterization data
  • Tone reproduction and near-neutral gray-scale aims
  • Evaluation of conformance
  • Characterization data for printing on newsprint, and proofing on web offset  on various coated papers

Follow this link to download CGATS technical reports and related data files.

Recommended Industry Practices

Recommended Industry Practices -- several articles regarding characterization data set development and spectrocolorimeters along with a Sample Documentation form for Offset Lithography.

Demonstration Suites

Files that can be used by developers as part of the testing and development process.

CGATS.17-2005  (Zip file)

ISO 28178  (Zip file)

IT8.7/3-2005 Files (Zip file) 

IT8.7/4-2005 files (Zip file)