I wan't to create a pdf ready for print with an external logo file so that we can easily print many versions of the same pdf with different logos.

Is anyone aware of any way you can keep an image separate to a pdf file for easy updating, then please let me know.

  • Not possible, tough swapping the graphic automatically is in a outside editor is not that hard. You could use layers tough. PS on the otherhand can do this (pending your print engines safety settings). Point is that the PDF has to be selfcontained, You can append stuff to it later tough.
    – joojaa
    Jul 7, 2014 at 11:51
  • Ammendum: appending in PDF context does not need to mean separate pages it can mean overriding a existing asset in a page. But why not just update linked graphics from your original indesign file?
    – joojaa
    Jul 7, 2014 at 12:00
  • essentially we may need to do it 500 times for different study centres to print out some course materials and it would be better if they could change a file and print it themselves. I may need to look into alternative ways to do it then.
    – firefields
    Jul 7, 2014 at 12:29
  • Use postrcipt, your printer can handle this for you. Alternatively use ghostscript as a print server and do the same thing. The print a facilities of postscript has a /BeginPage and a /EndPage setup routine that can modify pages on fly, you can even inject this to your printer semi permanently if you wish. For example shchool logo printjob is possible. but this is over the scope of this forum.
    – joojaa
    Jul 7, 2014 at 13:04
  • similar usecase with change injection graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/35417/…
    – joojaa
    Jul 7, 2014 at 13:11

3 Answers 3


Late answer...


You can easily designate any image as a watermark and position that watermark within an existing PDF.

enter image description here

enter image description here

If the area for the logo is left blank, it's a simple matter of positioning the watermark to fall within that area.

  • Scott could the logos be in layers and then save layer setting?
    – joojaa
    Aug 6, 2014 at 19:56
  • Not that I'm aware of. PDF layers are not the same as traditional application layers. You'd know far more about and scripting or on-the-fly solution that I would joojaa. I merely offer watermarking as an easy, less technical solution. But it's still manual.
    – Scott
    Sep 6, 2014 at 6:20

The industrial strength solution for such an application would be preparing a Button form field with just icon, no interactivity, no action etc. Then you would use a product like FDFMerge by Appligent to merge the base document with the logo image, and set the flattening option.

There are also libraries providing server-side filling of images, such as iText or pdflib. In this case, there would be more programming effort, but maybe less investment in software.


This is a bit technical answer based of my understanding PDF format [1], and experience with hand crafting my own PDF files.

PDF as a format is designed to be self contained. That is PDF lives under that assumption that you can craft a PDF file with your existing processes. The Predecessor of PDF, PostScript, however has these functions. PDF is in many ways just a programming facilities removed version of PostScript with a few additions on top. It is often much more conductive to do stuff in PostScript than in PDf if you need custom pipelines.

Technically however you can do this. Each PDF page is made out of streams, and each page could have multiple streams. So all you would need to do is override the logo stream and append this to the PDF file, then just override all the references to the next stream version and update the table of contents. IN practice you dont want to do this manually, unless your really into programming.

In practice you may still want to do this at the printer or with some external software. One such tool that could do this is GhostScript. But you could want to use some other pipelines too such as Apache FOP or even indesign on a server.


  1. Adobe. Document Management - Protable document format - part 1: PDF 1.7

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