Including images in your PDFs: If you need help with any of the techniques described below, feel free to contact our support team.

My document prints on a pre-printed form and I need to see that inside the PDF. Can CoolSpools do that?

I’d like to display a company logo (watermark, other graphic etc.) in my PDF. Can I do that?

Yes, and much more easily than you probably think. There’s no need to buy additional software or mess around creating page overlay objects. All you need is a JPEG or a GIF.

INCLFILE parameter

When you create a PDF file from your spooled file using CVTSPLPDF, you can use the INCLFILE (Include File) parameter to specify a number (anything between 1 and 32) of image files (either JPEGs or GIFs) that can be included in the file. These can be either mono or colour.

You might use this feature just to include a company logo, a watermark or some other small graphic, or it can be used to present the entire report or document on a background form.

Using INCLFILE to create a form/background for your document

This feature is often used to reproduce the appearance of a preprinted form and can be extremely effective at doing that, creating attractive, readable PDFs.

Here are a few tips that might help you if you want to try this:

  • Remember that every PDF you create will include a copy of the image file(s) you use. This will inevitably increase the size of the PDF files you create.
  • At the same time, you need to ensure that the image quality is good enough so it does not look blocky on screen and any text is not fuzzy.
  • This means you will need to achieve some kind of trade-off or balance between file size and image quality
  • Although the most obvious and simple way of obtaining a graphic to reproduce the appearance of your preprinted stationery might be to scan it, this will probably not give the best quality results.
  • You will almost certainly find that you will obtain better quality results if you can access the original artwork graphics that were sent to your print shop to create the preprinted stationery. If necessary, convert/export those artwork graphic files to a format that CoolSpools supports, e.g. from PhotoShop to JPEG or GIF.
  • If your form has a lot of white space, for example if it consists of a page header and a footer with nothing in between, you might well find that you can reduce file sizes by including several small graphic files (e.g. one at the top of the page for the heading and another at the bottom of the page for the footer) rather than one large graphic file for the whole page (which could include a lot of unnecessary data for the white space in the middle).

Other options for Including images in your PDFs

The INCLFILE parameter has a number of other options you might find helpful, including the ability to:

  • specify the page coordinates where the graphic should appear. Note that if he page is rotated, the coordinates need to relate to the page prior to rotation. If you have difficulty specifying the coordinates correctly, please contact our support team for help.
  • scale the graphic so it appears larger or smaller than its “natural” size. Note that if no scaling is defined (i.e. scaling factor = 1), the size that the image will appear can be calculated using its resolution (pixels per inch or per centimeter) and its dimensions in pixels. For example, an image with a resolution of 300 dots per inch and dimensions 600 pixels x 450 pixels will be 2 inches by 1.5 inch when viewed on screen in the PDF and the zoom factor is 100%.
  • determine which page or pages an image should appear on, such as:
    • Odd or even pages only
    • First or last pages only
    • Pages after the first or before the last only
    • Only pages where a certain “key string” appears
    • Only specific page numbers.
    • etc.

    See below for information about writing an exit program to determine the appearance of images if these options do not give sufficient control.

Using an exit program to include images in your PDFs

If the options available from the INCLFILE command parameter don’t satisfy your requirements, consider using an exit program to control the inclusion of images in your output.

Using an exit program, you can:

  • include far more than 32 images (no practical limit).
  • exercise programmatic control over which image(s) is/are included on which page

See this FAQ answer for further details of how to write an exit program.

Refer to the CoolSpools Spool Converter Programmer’s Guide for a full specification of the APIs you call from your exit program to tell CoolSpools to include an image file. The relevant data structure is CS_INC01. You can use the *PAGNBR option to specify which page an image should appear on.