With ShapeBlocks simple graphical elements (lines and shapes) can be imported for use in the editor even without the link to a vector file. To do this, they must also be tagged with PFBlock, just like text and image blocks.

Create ShapeBlocks

In InDesign, the elements can be created using the following tools:

  • Line

  • Pen

  • Pencil

  • Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon

Additionally, shapes created in Illustrator can be pasted into the InDesign document (> copy+paste) if they have been converted to paths.


  • Object without content (> Right-click > Content > Unassigned)

  • Open path (> Object > Paths > Open Path)

  • Stroke:

    • Cap: Butt cap

    • Join: Miter join

    • Align Stroke: centre

    • Type: Solid

    • Start/End: None

  • Colors: no gradients


  • Shape Blocks cannot be scaled in the editor (for this function, the shape must be placed as SVG in the InDesign template and the linked file must be uploaded to the printformer).

  • no effects (e.g. shadow, soft edge, rounded corners etc.) are possible

  • to be able to change the fill color (and stroke) in the printformer editor afterwards, a color must already be assigned to it in InDesign.

    a stroke cannot be deleted afterwards and also the strength cannot be changed in the editor.

    in general there can be problems with shapes with contours (open path)

  • Block effects are not possible for shapes.

Vector graphics in SVG or PDF format

To use vector graphics in printformer, PDF or SVG files can be placed in the IDML template. (Other file formats e.g. EPS, Illustrator, Corel, etc. are not possible).

Specific features:

  • SVGs are always in the RGB color space, so when creating print data (conversion to CMYK) there will be slight color deviations.

  • Color-Mapping: for SVG files included in the template or inserted in the editor, the individual color swatches can be selected and recolored.

  • The opacity of SVG files cannot be changed in the editor.

  • The use of PDFs as media type is not allowed by default and must be enabled in advance if desired. (For individual templates: Edit Template > Editor > Media types; in general: Settings > Media > Media restriction).

  • If SVGs are placed as assets in the template, at least PDF 1.4 (X4) compatibility must be used to generate the print data.

  • If PDFs are used as default assets, the PDFs placed in the IDML file must have at least the same standard (and PDF 1.4 or higher compatibility) as the template background PDF.

  • By using PDF files including bleed, the bleed is always cut off in the editor (the import options for PDFs in InDesign are not implemented in printformer). To work around this, the attribute use-box can be added to the image block. (A combination of crop marks, page info and bleed may cause errors in cropping; the info area can generally not be included).

  • When saving SVG files, the following settings should be made: Decimal: 3 (minimum), Deactivate Responsive, CSS Properties: Style Attributes.

Vector graphics in EPS format

EPS files can generally only be placed as assets in templates with a background PDF without or an X3 standard and a compatibility of max. PDF 1.3. 
(Since the EPS file format has largely been displaced by the PDF format, EPS files are converted in printformer to a PDF without standard). 
We generally recommend not to use EPS files, as the format is considered obsolete and is no longer supported by other applications (e.g. Microsoft Office).

Add forms in the editor

Simple forms can also be inserted in the editor via Add Shape. These are scalable and their color values can be freely defined.

Sample IDML file