Created Date: 27 Apr, 2022 16:04
Last Modifed Date: 13 Oct, 2023 14:28


The Harlequin® Core has very rich and flexible controls for use in a wide variety of use cases. That richness, however, can make it difficult to find the right information to allow you to make it do what you need it to do. This document is intended to provide pointers to help you find the right resources.

The entries in this document point to a variety of resources of various kinds, including:

Formal documentation provided alongside the SDK

These documents can be found under Harlequin Core Home.

Documentation provided in the doc folder of the SDK itself

Example PostScript code and jobs, in the SDK

  • Configurations in SW/TestConfig
  • Page Features in SW/Page Features
  • Sample PDF and Postscript files in Samples

Public documents available from

  • Product brochures and data sheets
  • White papers

Where to find resources

Each section below groups common areas of development into a general category. Neither the categories themselves, nor the order of items within each category, is intended to be significant, other than in making it easier to find a specific subject.

The bullets under each issue indicate where more detail on each subject can be found in the sources listed above.

Working with the SDK

Submitting jobs to the RIP

Handling PDF files

Outputting from Harlequin Core

Specifying the output colorants

Specifying the raster format


Color management

Processing spot separations from the input

Font handling

Optimizing performance

Miscellaneous features

Security and copy protection

  • LE security
    • Technical Note Hqn085: Harlequin Core security interface (available on request)

Requesting assistance

Samples supplied with the Harlequin Core SDK

The Harlequin Core SDK includes sample configurations, Page Features, and sample jobs to illustrate some of the more commonly used functionality in the RIP.

Configurations are selected with the -c option on the command line for the clrip test application; Page features are selected with the -F option. For information see Using the clrip application.

The example configurations and Page Features include comments explaining each configuration item and noting any prerequisites. They are intended as learning resources to enable you to develop your own configurations rather than to be used as-is in a production system.

Example configurations

Configuration files provide the foundation for the RIP configuration in preparation for processing a job. A number of PostScript configuration files, suitable for various common types of output, are supplied with the Harlequin Core SDK. These are easily modified using a simple text editor. The configuration files are within SW/TestConfig.

Many of the example configurations configure the RIP to deliver rasters at 300 dpi. That resolution was chosen because it's high enough to see all the page content clearly (at least most of the time), but low enough to render and display quickly while learning how to use the RIP. It's easy to produce output at other resolutions; take a copy of a supplied configuration and rename it, then edit the values for the X and Y resolutions on the HWResolution line.

Basic configurations

Monochrome72dpi  Generates a monochrome, halftoned raster at 72 dpi


Generates a CMYK, contone raster at 300 dpi, with the colorants pixel-interleaved
CMYKCompositeFrame300dpi  Interleaves the data for each colorant as frames instead of per pixel
CMYKCompositeBand300dpi  Interleaves the data for each colorant as bands instead of per pixel
CMYKCompositeBand300dpi16bit  A variant on CMYKCompositeBand300dpi producing 16-bit contone raster instead of eight-bit
CMYKSeparations300dpi  Generates separated, CMYK, contone rasters at 300 dpi. Outputting to separations means that the raster for each colorant is delivered in a separate file.
CMYKSepsSpot72dpiA variant on CMYKSeparations300dpi, adding a spot color called "PANTONE DS 225-4 C" (and also changing the resolution to 72 dpi)
CMYKHalftoned600dpi Generates a CMYK, raster at 600 dpi, halftoned with a Euclidean screen, with the colorants frame-interleaved
CMYKHDSComposite300dpiA variant on CMYKHalftoned600dpi, it overrides all screening in the job to use HDS fine (and also changing the resolution to 300 dpi)

Applies simple color management demonstrating use of an alternate CMM

A ColorPro license is required.

CMYKCompositeBand300dpiObjectTypeMap A variant on CMYKCompositeBand300dpi, adding an object type map as a pseudo-colorant alongside CMYK.
CMYKRle300dpi  Outputs the raster image as 10-bit contone in RLE rather than as a raw 8-bit raster.


Sets up composite output to CMYK plus White. This may also be used as a template for other spot inks on press.

CMYKOGVCompBand300dpi  A variant on CMYKCompositeBand300dpi, but outputting to an extended gamut colorant set (CMYKOGV). This configuration does not apply color management; it is designed for use with one of the CMYKOGV page features.
PhotoinkBand300dpi  Produces raster for a printer with light Cyan, Magenta, and Black, as well as the normal CMYK colorants

Generates an RGB, contone raster at 300 dpi, with the colorants pixel-interleaved 

Color management examples for CMYK and RGB are provided as page features; see Example Page features (below).

RGBCompositeBand300dpi16bitA variant on the RGBComposite300dpi test config to output 16-bit contone instead of 8-bit
RGBAComposite300dpiOutputs to RGB with a hard mask in an alpha channel. The output may be useful for a user interface (for example, to assist in manually imposing pages or graphics). By conceptually rendering to CMYK and then transforming to RGB it ensures that CMYK overprints are processed in a way that matches a final print.

configurations provided in JSON

From Harlequin Core 13.1 onwards configurations may be provided in JSON as an alternative to PostScript. Sample JSON configurations mirroring all those listed above may be found in SW/TestConfig/JSON, under the same names but with the extension .json.

Schemas for validating Harlequin Core JSON configurations may be found in SW/TestConfig/JSON/schemas.

Additional screening-related example configurations

The HTM folder includes additional example configurations for use while evaluating and developing the modular screening API.

configurations for Advanced Inkjet Screens (AIS), including examples for multi-level screening, are provided in the AIS package rather than in the Harlequin Core SDK itself.

Example Page Features

These example Page Features can be used to add features on top of a configuration. In a production system, you might choose to add code similar to these Page Features into your configurations or stream it to the RIP with your jobs.


Smooths contone raster output by applying anti-aliasing.

This Page Feature is compatible only with contone configurations.

CMYKBasicColorManagement Configures simple input color intercepts and an output profile for the device. Use with any CMYK test config other than CMYKCMMComp300dpi.
CMYKEmulatingAndLimiting Extends CMYKInkLimiting by adding a third transform for color emulation and illustrates how to control the merging of emulated spot colors.
CMYKInkLimiting Extends CMYKBasicColorManagement by adding a second color transform for ink limiting.
CMYKOGVDirectColor Simple color management configuration for an extended gamut colorant set, rendering directly into the full space. Use with the CMYKOGVCompBand300dpi test config.
CMYKOGVviaCMYK Color management for an extended gamut colorant set, conceptually rendering first to CMYK and then transforming to CMYKOGV. Use with the CMYKOGVCompBand300dpi test config.
EPS Configures the RIP to process EPS files as expected, ensuring that rendering is triggered, reading page size and offset from bounding box comments, and overriding behavior that prevents best handling of spot colors in EPS files from Adobe Illustrator.
Error Handler - Short
Error Handler - Long
Provide expanded (and significantly expanded) reports in response to RIPping errors. Most useful for PostScript jobs.
ExampleIgnoreSpots Configures the processing of spot colors (usually technical spots such as die lines) so they're completely ignored when rendering a job.

Configures the processing of spot colors (usually technical spots such as die lines) so they're exported in vector format instead of rendered.

This Page Feature requires a license for Harlequin Contour Processor.


Configures the RIP to process the Ghent Working Group's Output Suite 5 (and 4) correctly.

Turns on Harlequin VariData in external mode, with a configuration that delivers one copy of every sub-page raster that it generates to demonstrate how pages are deconstructed.

This Page Feature requires a license for eHVD and is compatible only with contone configurations.


Turns on Harlequin VariData in external mode but discards all rasters generated. A useful mode for evaluating the speed of HVD. This Page Feature sets the output device to HVDNone which must not be overridden.

This Page Feature requires a license for eHVD and is compatible only with contone configurations.


Turns on Harlequin VariData in external mode and saves all rasters generated to disk as raw raster files. This Page Feature sets the output device to HVDRaw which must not be overridden.

This Page Feature requires a license for eHVD and is compatible only with contone configurations.


Turns on Harlequin VariData in internal mode with auto switching. This means that iHVD is applied to files that are tagged as PDF/VT or created by known VDP composition tools.

This Page Feature requires a license for iHVD.

Image Replacement Turns on in-RIP OPI replacement and enables configuration of search paths for PDF Reference XObjects (for example, for PDF/VT-2). See comments in the Page Feature for details of which locations are searched for high resolution data.

List Spot Colors 

Lists all spot colors used in a job to the monitor and log file; mainly useful for debugging.

Print info on error
Print page on error 

Prints information when an error is encountered. Mainly useful for debugging PostScript jobs.


Color management that can be used with any supplied example RGB test config to conceptually render first to CMYK and then transform to RGB. This retains overprints correctly for thumbnail and preview generation.
Confidential (in the Examples sub-directory)Adds a "Confidential" watermark across the page. This example uses basic RIP functionality.

Disable Trapping (in the Examples sub-directory)

Prevents a PostScript job from turning on in-RIP trapping.
Draft (in the Examples sub-directory) Adds a "DRAFT" watermark across the page. This example makes use of the framework provided by the HqnImpose2 procset.

Sample jobs

Sample jobs are supplied in the Harlequin Core SDK for use in introductory exercises in the Getting Started Guide and to demonstrate specific RIP functionality.

CambridgeGold.pdf A folding carton sample, suitable for use with the CMYKSepsSpot72dpi example configuration.
GGS_100pp_1_3x3_Mixed.pdf and GGS_100pp_1_3x3_Uniform.pdf Two variable data examples (based on direct-mail use cases); suitable for use with the HVD* example Page Features. The Uniform file works very well with HVD in both internal and external modes, while the Mixed mode performs better with external HVD.


A label example, including a simple cut line; suitable for use with the ExampleIgnoreSpots and ExportContours example Page Features.

INSECURE-Mag-54.pdf An example file representative of books, technical publications, and magazine use cases.
Labels.psAn example control file for dynamic overlays. The variable data is derived from automated counters. An example control file for dynamic overlays, reading the variable data from a CSV file.

All files in the Content directory are for use with the Labels and Tickets dynamic overlay samples.

The dynamic overlay samples require a license for Harlequin Barcode Generator.