PDF/A documents can be created in a variety of ways:
- From scanned documents
- By direct conversion of the source data
- By exporting from the program used to create the source document
- Using an intermediate step which turns a PDF file into PDF/A
- Using print output formats or print data streams such as GDI, PCL, PostScript, AFP and XPS.
This section will sketch out just a few typical approaches. For a more extensive list, including specific products which allow you to create PDF/A files, visit the PDF Association’s website at www.pdfa.org.
On a standard workstation, office applications in particular will already offer inbuilt tools (or can easily be retrofitted) to export word-processed files, spreadsheets or presentations directly to PDF/A. If the “Tagged PDF” option is enabled, then Microsoft Office, OpenOffice and LibreOffice will even support PDF/A Conformance Level A for semantically structured data.
Some PDF/A conversion solutions use print data creation tools to generate PDF or PDF/A files. Another approach is to use programming libraries to convert data or directly write to PDF.
Adobe Acrobat is used for PDFs in many industries, and it provides comprehensive support for PDF/A. This software can be used to examine PDF/A files to ensure they actually meet the PDF/A standard.
Individual-workstation products also exist which allow users to scan to PDF/A, including OCR. This software is sometimes supplied with the scanner itself.
Server-based solutions exist for mass PDF/A creation. This allows business-wide standardisation of your working processes and lets you manage large volumes of data. Some desktop PC products also have server-based versions for high-volume processing.
Programming libraries allow developers to add PDF/A functionality to their own applications without having to develop the needed technology from scratch. Some desktop or server-based products are also available as programming libraries. Suppliers can thus integrate extra functionality into their solutions with minimal development work on their part. These extra functions may include PDF/A creation, validation and management. A business’ IT department can also add PDF/A features to the company’s own software environment for internal projects.
Integrated PDF/A functions
Many document and output management solutions providers offer modules which can be used to perform PDF/A functions. Many systems are already available for high-volume management of a wide variety of input and output channels in PDF and PDF/A format.