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About the contributor
PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
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What is a “Competence Center”?

The PDF Association started in 2006 as the “PDF/A Competence Center”. The mission was to identify – and thereby establish – a common interpretation of the PDF/A-1 specification. With that accomplished through meetings open to all members, the secondary …

“PDF can do THAT?!”

PDF files deliver a complete package of information that defines a document; everything that’s needed to represent the text, graphics and layout that the recipient receives. To most people, PDF is “electronic paper” – the digital expression of a cellul …

The only digital document format

What is a “document”? A document is a record of some (typically written) content – a publication, a contract, a statement, a painting – at a moment in time. Until the advent of computers (and scanners), the media typically considered useable for such r …

Save the Date: PDF Days Europe 2018, May 14-16, in Berlin

PDF Days Europe is the most popular PDF event of the year. It’s where the PDF industry meets, and where institutional and corporate users come to learn what else PDF could do for them. The first two PDF Days will offer a broad range of educational sessions focussed on current and perennial topics in the world of PDF technology implementation.

The Power of the Page

It’s a question that vexes vendors of web-based solutions everywhere: why do people still insist on PDF files? And why does PDF’s mindshare keep going up? “PDF is such antediluvian technology!” they say. “It’s pre-web, are you kidding me? It’s so old-f …

PDF in legal: now and the future


Binary code with a question-mark.As with the financial services industry, it’s hard to imagine the modern attorney without a hard-drive full of PDF files. Some things, however, haven’t changed too much. Lawyers are still swamped with stacks of OPD (Other People’s Documents). They are, of course, also prolific document generators themselves.

The legal industry uses PDF because it’s both flexible and permanent. How did PDF fit in so neatly? It’s because PDF has a unique mix of capabilities.

  • Any scanner, or any software that can print can make a PDF
  • PDF pages are self-contained; any PDF page may be collated with any other PDF page
  • PDF documents are searchable
  • PDF documents look the same way across town or after years
  • PDF files are smaller than source-files
  • Viewing PDF files is free

Portable Document Format technology has been around for 21 years; attorneys all over the world depend on it everyday. As a fixed-format electronic record it has no equal, but few law-firms systematically leverage the power of PDF to help everyone work as a team.

Where will PDF go from here?

The US Courts, the US Library of Congress and the National Archives were among the first organizations to call for development of a standardized quality-control model for PDF. Nonetheless, it was in Europe, following the 2005 publication of PDF/A, that the revolution in electronic archiving first took off.

Today, PDF/A is an accepted best-practice for long-term document retention; failure to use PDF/A is increasingly understood as a failure to follow due care in ensuring high-value documents are readable. The US Courts are slowly transitioning to require submissions be in PDF/A form.  This trend should be expected to continue to include state courts and regulators. Due to the potential of PDF/A for reducing risk, it may be implemented to manage documents transacted between businesses as well.

PDF technology is much more than a reliable printable page. How else will PDF affect the legal industry?

Progressive elimination of paper: PDF serves uniquely well as electronic paper, in part because PDFs can reliably become paper documents, and vice-versa. Over time, expect more PDF files and less paper.

Identity and authentication: With digital signature technology, attorneys and their clients can enjoy increased security in electronic communications, including tamper-proofing, proof of authorship and a mechanism for revocation, time-stamping, version-control and more.

Discovery: From email to CAD files and more, PDF documents are the natural “format of record”, but the original often remains important. The 3rd part of PDF/A provides a hybrid solution in which an archival-quality rendering serves as the container for files of non-archival types.

Achieving Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance: Tagged PDF technology contributes towards ADA compliance obligations for accessible electronic documents.

To learn more about what PDF technology can do, attend PDF Day, December 10 in Washington DC and December 11 in New York City


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Categories: Legal