The most important reasons to use PDF/A

PDF/A in a Nutshell 2.0 – PDF for long-term archiving

The PDF/A standard offers practical solutions for a wide variety of tasks, bringing advantages to many areas of application.

  • Long-term archiving: PDF/A provides an ISO-standardised format to all those who need to store digital documents for long periods of time. This can include archives, libraries, banks, insurance firms and others.
  • Legally binding documents: PDF/A is an excellent option for digitally signed documents and records. The ISO standard allows embedded electronic signatures and specifies only their minimum requirements. This means that PDF/A documents can always be digitally signed using the very latest technology, even as it develops in the future.
  • Science and research: PDF/A reliably displays special characters for mathematical formulas or old languages, as all required symbols are embedded into the file itself. ICC profiles provide total colour control, supporting research work in fields such as medicine, archaeology or cultural history. As a result, people are always finding more uses for PDF/A in the academic sector: some universities now only accept assignments and dissertations in this ISO-standard format.
  • Global integration: storing information in different languages requires comprehensive support for all kinds of writing systems around the world. In Japanese, Arabic, or Cyrillic, PDF/A makes sure that texts can always be correctly displayed on any device, including the reading direction. It also allows fixed-layout printing.
  • Platform-independent: PDF, and so PDF/A too, are platform-independent. Thanks to PDF/A, documents such as invoices, brochures, manuals or research reports can be made reliably available through a wide range of channels.
  • Full text searching: PDF/A helps you to find and access specific information within a data set. This is even possible with scanned documents, as the standard permits searchable text created through optical character recognition (OCR). Even Conformance Level B (Basic) supports this feature.
  • Extra search options: XMP metadata can be used to add additional structured information to the document, such as the author, description of the content, or source and copyright information. As a result, the user can search for additional stored keywords, categories or values within the data set.
  • Use content again and again: PDF/A Conformance Level A makes it easier to reuse content. Such files are very easy to convert to Word, HTML or eBook formats.
  • Use PDF/A in combination with other standards: PDF/A is closely related to the ISO’s other PDF standards. As a result, a PDF/A file can often meet the requirements for universally accessible PDFs (for disabled users) as defined in the PDF/UA standard. Digital books in PDF/A format are well-suited for printing on demand if they also meet the PDF/X standard for digital print documents.

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About Alexandra Oettler

Alexandra Oettler ist (Co-) Autorin der Bücher PDF/A kompakt und PDF/A kompakt 2.0.

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