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Citation Software Inc.
 Specialists in variable-data publishing since 1986

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Case Studies

The case studies below constitute a partial synopsis of Citation Software's project history. Each case study describes how Citation Software was instrumental in creating a solution for a particular set of circumstances.

CASE STUDY: Web Portal for Channel Partner Direct Mail System

The Challenge

Aladdin Knowledge Systems ( is a leader in digital security, providing organizations with award-winning solutions for software commerce and Internet security. The company serves more than 30,000 customers worldwide and employs about 350 people.

Aladdin's international network of Channel Partners is made up of system integrators, Web developers, networking companies and consulting firms that sell and support Internet security products.

Aladdin wanted to make it easy for its Channel Partners to carry out direct-mail campaigns that make use of high-quality, full-color marketing literature that carries Aladdin's corporate branding and conforms to Aladdin's design standards but is also tailored for each particular Channel Partner.

The Solution

During the summer of 2002, Aladdin's Director of Channel Marketing, Michael Lange, began to explore this possibility with Citation Software. After a series of discussions with Citation, Lange made the decision to hire Citation Software to develop a Web-to-print portal that would allow Aladdin's Channel Partners to launch Aladdin-approved direct-mail campaigns quickly and easily, on demand.

The system was deployed in Q4 2002.

To launch a campaign, a Channel Partner uses a Web browser to enter data, make selections, and upload a logo file and a database file that are used to drive the document-customization process. A document proof is generated by the system's server-based, state-of-the-art document-composition engine. The system displays a proof on screen, and the Channel Partner is instructed to click a button to approve it.

Once this is done, the system automatically generates a print-ready PDF file and sends order details to the Channel Partner, to an Aladdin representative, and to Citation Software production personnel. The appropriate files are transmitted to a print-and-mail vendor, who prints the customized documents on a digital press and mails them to the recipients listed in the uploaded database.

The entire process takes five days or less.

Click here to get a PDF file that contains more details.

CASE STUDY: On-line mailpiece-design system

The Challenge

Business Reply envelopes & postcards are used heavily by direct-mail-marketing companies, by fund-raising organizations, and by many other kinds of organizations.

(A Business Reply envelope/postcard is a pre-addressed, specially formatted, bar-coded envelope or postcard that enables a business to pay the postage for mail received from its customers. Click here to see a picture of a Business Reply envelope/postcard.)

The U.S. Postal Service has strict regulations regarding the format of Business Reply envelopes & postcards. Companies that need to create these envelopes & postcards must understand the U.S. Postal Service's requirements and must utilize graphic-design software or mechanical graphic-design tools to create them. This can be a painstaking and time-consuming process.

The Solution

During the last few years, Internet technology has become increasingly powerful and widely available. It is obvious that Internet technology should be exploited to facilitate the process of designing Business Reply envelopes & postcards.

With this in mind, Citation Software undertakes a project that focuses on the creation and implementation of an on-line "mailpiece-design" application. This application is based on Adobe Acrobat/PDF technology from Adobe Systems Incorporated and on proprietary mailpiece-design technology from Citation Software. The application can be used by anyone with a Web browser and a laser printer, inkjet printer, imagesetter, or digital press.

The application creates artwork for complete, ready-to-use Business Reply envelopes & postcards in just a few moments. The person using the application can download an Adobe Acrobat PDF file containing the artwork and print it right away.

This application has been deployed at You can try it out for free by pointing your Web browser to that location and clicking on the "Free tryout" link near the top of the window.

CASE STUDY: Software for printing 2-dimensional Datamatrix symbols on variable-data documents

The Challenge

A startup lettershop needs variable-data-printing software that's easy to use. They have identified the variable-data-printing solution that they want; it can do everything they need except for one thing: it doesn't have a feature that will allow them to print Datamatrix symbols (2-dimensional bar codes) on the documents that it generates.

The lettershop has considered purchasing a different variable-data-printing solution — one that can print the Datamatrix symbols but is more difficult to use.

They really need the Datamatrix symbols, because their inserting equipment requires Datamatrix symbols to match pre-printed envelopes with the documents to be inserted into the envelopes. However, the lettershop owner doesn't want to purchase a variable-data-printing system that's difficult to learn and understand.

The Solution

The lettershop owner consults with Citation Software. Citation Software analyzes the capabilities of the easy-to-use variable-data-printing solution that the lettershop wants to buy. After this analysis, Citation Software proposes the idea of developing software that will work in conjunction with the easy-to-use variable-data-printing software, enhancing its capabilities and allowing it to print the required Datamatrix symbols.

Within a few weeks, Citation Software designs and develops the software. The lettershop begins using it right away. Their production rollout goes smoothly.

CASE STUDY: Text-formatting software to generate EPS files from text with embedded HTML commands

The Challenge

A printing company with experience in variable-data printing takes on a client that is building a Web portal to support direct-marketing campaigns for automobile dealerships. Information collected from users via the portal's Web interface is to be used to generate customized hard-copy documents.

Users will drive the system by entering free-form text and making selections on HTML forms. Users' input is to be captured in a database, along with embedded HTML text-formatting commands.

The printing company plans to generate the customized paper documents by using commercial variable-data-printing software to populate a template with information derived from users' selections and entries on the HTML forms.

At issue is how to translate the HTML text-formatting commands into a format that can be used to render the typography on paper in an appropriate format.

The Solution

Citation Software designs and develops software that analyzes template files generated by the commercial variable-data-printing software that's used by the printing company. This software uses the information in the template files to extract the text and embedded HTML text-formatting commands from the database and create Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) files containing text that is formatted accordingly. The commercial variable-data-printing software is programmed to incorporate the EPS files automatically into the documents that are created.

CASE STUDY: Variable-data-printing system for direct-mail marketing

The Challenge

A software-publishing company uses an outdated, proprietary variable-data-printing system to print documents for its direct-mail-marketing campaigns.

The system is very inflexible: it supports only one database format, it supports only one type of printer, it imposes severe constraints on document dimensions, and it cannot generate color documents.

In addition, launching new direct-mail-marketing campaigns requires programming expertise, because the system doesn't have a graphical user interface (GUI) for laying out documents.

The company has outgrown this system because:
  • the IT department maintains databases in several different formats; it is time-consuming to convert data to the format required by the proprietary variable-data-printing system

  • new printing equipment has been purchased, and it doesn't work with the proprietary system

  • the company wants to be able to print documents of many different sizes, in color as well as in black-and-white

  • the company can no longer afford to dedicate programming personnel to document-design tasks.

The Solution

The company acquires a state-of-the-art, "off-the-shelf" variable-data-publishing application. The new application accepts data in many different formats, supports almost any printer, can generate color documents as well as black-and-white ones, and imposes no limits on document dimensions.

In addition, the new application makes it very easy to lay out new documents.

CASE STUDY: Customized bar charts and pie charts

The Challenge

A printing company takes on a new variable-data-publishing project (i.e., personalized-publishing project). The company has been engaged in the business of variable-data printing for more than a decade.

Although the new project is similar in many ways to the company's other undertakings — most of which involve the use of Xerox DocuTech printers to print direct-mail-marketing documents — there are some differences. One difference is that the new project demands a much higher level of personalization than any of the company's other endeavors. Another difference is that the requirements for the new project stipulate that customized documents must be generated in two formats:
  1. Paper format (to be distributed via U.S. Mail)
  2. PDF format (to be viewed on line)
To meet the project's requirements, company officers decide to invest in commercially available, state-of-the-art variable-data-printing software for generating the paper version of the documents; and they hire a Web-development firm to create the on-line documents and to create a browser-based interface that allows users to access the on-line documents.


After the printing company and the Web-development firm have completed a substantial amount of work on the project, the client realizes that it would be a good idea to incorporate a pie chart and a bar chart into each document. The client wants the pie chart and bar chart in each document to represent data that is unique to that particular document.

Unfortunately, the printing company discovers that their new variable-data-printing software won't allow them to generate customized charts. Undaunted, company management researches the problem and discovers that they can buy another variable-data-printing software application that will allow them to create customized charts. The purchase is made, and the company abandons the variable-data-printing software that they purchased a few weeks earlier and starts the project again from square one.

Meanwhile, the Web-development firm that was hired to create the on-line document-creation system searches for a way to create customized charts and incorporate them into the on-line documents. This proves to be a difficult task, because the document-creation technology that the Web-development firm is using does not support customized graphics.


The printing-company's employees are hard at work learning how to use the new variable-data-printing software. After working with the new software for a few weeks, the employees realize that their problems aren't yet solved! Although the new variable-data-printing software is capable of generating customized charts, it imposes limitations on the formatting of the charts. It becomes apparent that this software can't accommodate the client's formatting requirements.

The Web-development firm continues to search for software that can generate customized charts that meet the client's formatting criteria. Concurrent with this effort, the Web-development firm begins the difficult task of re-engineering the boilerplate PDF document that is used in the on-line production environment so that customized charts can be incorporated into each on-line document that is generated.


The client's deadline for the initial production run is only a week away, and neither the hard-copy production system nor the on-line production system is up and running!

A representative from the printing company contacts Citation Software, describes the difficulties that have arisen in connection with the project, and asks for advice.

The Solution

After detailed discussions with a printing-company representative and detailed discussions with a representative from the Web-development firm, Citation Software proposes the development of proprietary software that will generate customized charts that meet the client's formatting specifications.

The proposed design of the proprietary charting software will allow for deployment of the proprietary charting software in the printing company's Windows-based print-production environment and also in the Web-development company's Linux-based on-line-production environment. Using the proprietary charting software in both production environments will obviate the need to find chart-creation software than can be integrated with the on-line production system that has been developed. Using the same software in the print-production environment and the on-line production environment has another benefit, too: it will free both companies from the burden of ensuring that the formatting of the charts in the on-line documents matches the formatting of the charts in the paper documents. (Since the same code will be used to generate both sets of charts, fidelity will be assured.)


Barely one week before the first scheduled production run, Citation Software begins the task of designing, developing, and testing the proprietary charting software. Concurrent with these efforts, Citation Software collaborates with technical personnel at the printing company, the Web-development firm, and the client company to facilitate integration and testing of the proprietary charting software.


The first production run happens one week later, as scheduled. The printing company looks forward to a profitable, long-term relationship with the client.

CASE STUDY: PDF-based print-on-demand system

The Challenge

A manufacturing/distribution organization uses Xerox DocuTech printers to print software manuals on demand. The company's print-on-demand workflow system is based on proprietary technology. This proprietary system is outdated and expensive to maintain. Management personnel want to move away from proprietary technology and design a new system based on Adobe Acrobat/PDF technology.

The Solution

Requirements-gathering sessions are held. Based on discussions that take place during these sessions, Citation Software creates functional and architectural specifications for a new, PDF-based print-on-demand system. The specifications are based on a combination of commercially available software and custom-software-development efforts.

The company can look forward to having a more-efficient, faster print-on-demand system that is easier to use and less costly to maintain than the old system.

CASE STUDY: On-line documentation for print-on-demand system

The Challenge

A software-manufacturing/distribution facility employs unskilled and semi-skilled workers to man its Xerox DocuTech-based print-on-demand production line. The software that operates the print-on-demand system is outdated. In addition, the system is largely undocumented, and it has suffered from lack of maintenance because of the company's down-sizing efforts over the past decade.

When something unexpected occurs on the production line, production personnel depend on the company's software engineers to diagnose the problem and fix it. The software-engineering team finds it necessary to devote quite a lot of time and effort to tasks that are related to keeping the production line up and running. This is detrimental to the team's productivity. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that some of the team's experienced software engineers have left the company; other software engineers must dedicate many hours to gaining an understanding of the infrastructure of the print-on-demand system.

The Solution

Citation Software analyzes the infrastructure of the company's print-on-demand system and then creates Web-based documentation for the system. This documentation describes the components of the system and their interaction with each other, explains how information flows through the system, and outlines troubleshooting strategies. The documentation is geared for use by both non-technical personnel (such as the production folks) and by technical personnel (such as the software engineers).

By taking advantage of the Web-based documentation system, production personnel can diagnose and repair many production problems without pulling in the software-engineering team. Also, the Web-based documentation system makes it easy for the software-engineering team to find technical information pertaining to the print-on-demand system.

CASE STUDY: Page-orientation filter

The Challenge

A manufacturer of injection-molding machinery needs to convert its library of CAD drawings to Adobe Acrobat PDF format so that they can be viewed on line. To accomplish this, the company develops a system that renders the drawings to PostScript format and then converts them to PDF format.

The process of converting from PostScript format to PDF format proves to be problematic: the drawings are oriented sideways on the screen when the PDF files are opened in the Adobe Acrobat application.

The Solution

Representative PostScript files and and PDF files are analyzed by Citation Software.

Based on the results of the analysis, Citation Software creates a software filter that normalizes the viewing orientation of the CAD drawings.

CASE STUDY: Personalized reports

The Challenge

A consulting firm analyzes data collected from its clients' employees and generates statistical-analysis reports which are sold to the clients. The data analysis is handled by a mainframe computer, and the reports are printed on a dot-matrix printer.

The firm is dissatisfied with the appearance of the reports. It wants to develop an in-house system that can produce reports with pizzazz — i.e., typeset-quality text and 3-D graphics.

The Solution

Design and development of PC-based personalization software (i.e., variable-data-printing software) is undertaken by Citation Software. The system uses laser printers to print typeset-quality reports with integrated graphics that are unique to each report.

The new system requires very little human intervention, because the software composes text, draws graphs, and collates the reports.

The company's investment in mainframe hardware and software has been preserved, because the mainframe computer is still used for data collection, data administration and data analysis.

CASE STUDY: Automated imposition system

The Challenge

A software-manufacturing/distribution organization has an on-demand printing system that uses Xerox DocuTech printers to print software manuals from PostScript files provided by customers. For some of the software manuals, automated imposition is required as part of the workflow process.

Commercially available imposition software can't handle some of the PostScript files that the customers provide, because the commercially available software requires that PostScript files be structured according to Adobe Systems Inc.'s "Document Structuring Conventions" (DSC). Oftentimes the customer-supplied PostScript files — although printable — are not structured according to Adobe's DSC specifications.

Because of this problem, the organization must:

  • re-work many of the PostScript files so that they comply with Adobe's DSC specifications, or

  • provide training for customers so that the customers know how to create PostScript files that comply with Adobe's DSC specifications.
Both of these solutions are costly.

The Solution

Proprietary imposition software is created by Citation Software. This powerful software can re-position pages in virtually any PostScript file, regardless of DSC compliance.

Turnaround time for printing software manuals has been greatly reduced, as have costs associated with re-working the files.

CASE STUDY: Health-status reports

The Challenge

A health-management-consulting firm collects health-related data from its customers' employees and then analyzes the data. The firm needs a system that will print a professionally designed, highly customized data-analysis report for each employee from whom data was collected.

The Solution

Citation Software creates a PC-based personalization-software system. For each employee, the system prints a booklet that contains an attractive, employee-specific report.

Turnaround time for printing software manuals has been greatly reduced, as have costs associated with re-working the files.

CASE STUDY: Improved typesetting system

The Challenge

The Marketing Division for a company that prints customized business forms and stationery wants to improve the quality of its products, expand its product line, and reduce turnaround time for order fulfillment.

The company's Cost Accounting Division complains that the company's typesetting systems and processes are labor-intensive.

The company's Software Engineering Division realizes that their typesetting technology is obsolete.

Everybody knows that new and better technology is available, but they can't afford to throw away the entire system and start from scratch!

The Solution

The printing company purchases a PostScript imagesetting (typesetting) machine. Citation Software designs and develops new software that translates typesetting commands used by the company's old typesetting machinery into commands understood by the new PostScript machinery.

With the new system, color separation is handled by the software rather than by hand, and customers' logos are archived and rendered electronically instead of manually.

In addition, the new system allows the company to offer a more extensive selection of typefaces to its customers.

Furthermore, the company still uses its old order-entry system, so employees responsible for order entry need little or no retraining.

The company can continue to use its old typesetting equipment alongside the new equipment.

CASE STUDY: On-line software manual for PC-based application

The Challenge

A software-development firm is maintaining a software manual that was typeset with a nine-year-old typesetting system. The company wants to move away from the outdated typesetting system. In addition, the company would like to reduce packaging costs and distribution costs by phasing out the use of printed manuals and instead providing on-line manuals to its customers.

The Solution

Citation Software converts the electronic files for the manual into a format that is usable by a state-of-the-art typesetting system (QuarkXPress). Citation Software then uses QuarkXPress to typeset a new version of the manual and to generate an Adobe Acrobat PDF file containing the manual.

Customers now receive only the electronic version of the manual, so the firm no longer incurs printing costs for production of the manual - and packaging/distribution costs have been reduced. Also, the new, PDF version of the manual is less expensive to maintain than the old version.

For each of the projects described above, Citation Software provided some or all of the following services:
  • system analysis
  • software design
  • software development
  • quality assurance
  • content development and editing
  • graphic design
  • typesetting/page composition
  • production support.

Is your company struggling with some of the challenges described in these case studies? If so, Citation Software can help you to deal with them. Give us a call at 888-260-7316, or send email to


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