PDF Association logo.

About the contributor
Shawna McAlearney

Shawna McAlearney is the Marketing Specialist for Appligent Document Solutions.
More contributions
Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.

Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Members supporting PDF features!

The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.

Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

PDF/A Competence Center Newsletter: Issue 4

Table of Contents

  • Current News:
    • E-Mail Archiving with PDF/A
    • MS Office 2007 SP2 supports PDF/A
    • PDF/A in Switzerland
  • PDF/A Competence Center Members Introduce Themselves:
    • PDF Tools AG
  • New Members





Dr. Hans Bärfuss

Dear PDF/A Community,

December 6, 2005 was the first time I spoke with Thomas Zellmann about founding a Competence Center for PDF/A. It’s unbelievable that we – only 2 ½ years later – already have about 80 members. Among these are new members such as Global Graphics and Levi, Ray & Shoup (LRS), two leading companies in the industry. With LRS we welcome a company from the USA that employs over 600 persons worldwide.

“The PDF/A train is starting to roll and will quickly pick up speed once it has left the station.” This statement – made by a very valued initiator of the PDF/A Standard – perfectly describes the PDF/A situation in the USA.

In Europe – that’s for sure – the PDF/A train has definitely reached an impressive speed. Along with many other indices this was also demonstrated at the DMS Expo 2007 where the PDF Tools AG, founded by me, won the Innovation Award elected by the audience for the “3-Heights PDF to PDF/A Converter”. We look forward to introducing our company to you in this issue.

As Swiss representatives in the ISO-Committee for PDF/A we will also demonstrate where PDF/A stands in our country. And we will report about some new approaches for the use of PDF/A – in e-mail archiving and in the Microsoft Office environment.

We also hope you have a wonderful summer vacation – and that you thoroughly recuperate from the “Soccer-Stress” of the European Championship 2008!

Dr. Hans Bärfuss
Executive Vice Chairman
PDF/A Competence Center


E-Mail Archiving with PDF/A

Companies today already have to cope with a tremendous number of e-mails. This generates not only organizational and technical questions of how to process the electronic mail. Management is being more and more confronted with questions concerning compliance and legal security since the perception of the E-Mail System has finally achieved acceptance as central “Postal-Service”. Of course it is now clear that e-mails have to be archived by every trick in the book. The result is that e-mail archiving is now among the fastest growing applications.

“PDF/A is expressly suitable for archiving e-mails”, says Dr. Hans-Rudolf Aschmann, developer of the product “Document Converter Service” at PDF Tools AG, which also makes it possible to archive e-mails in PDF/A. He goes on to say “E-mails are typical representatives of digital-born documents with a large variety of document types in their attachments that can be converted to a multipage PDF/A document”. But PDF/A has more to offer than just the combining of e-mail message and attachment in one single document. Metadata from the e-mail header and the structure of the message can be gained and also integrated in the file.

Even if companies nowadays decide to store the original e-mail as primary format it is still most definitely worthwhile to also store the e-mail in PDF/A as secondary, long-term reproducible file format.

More information: www.pdf-tools.com

MS Office 2007 SP2 supports PDF/A

Announced for release in the first half of 2009, Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Microsoft Office 2007 will support PDF/A. This was reported recently by the Redmond software house in its press statement. Users of the Office suite will be able to create PDF/A files directly from the applications. In this way the files will remain readable for years to come, without requiring that obsolete versions of applications remain available.

A survey by the PDF/A Competence Center conducted in the fall of 2007 showed that companies planning the introduction of a uniform format for long-term archiving predominantly chose PDF/A. With the announcement from Microsoft that their Office suite will support PDF/A in the future, it can be assumed that the use of PDF/A will further increase. Microsoft Office users will have the advantage that they can generate PDF/A files for longterm archiving directly from their documents. Thomas Zellmann, chairman of the PDF/A Competence Center remarked: “Current versions of Microsoft Office already support PDF/A, but require the extra installation of a plugin. At the PDF/A Competence Center we welcome the announcement by Microsoft to provide even better support for the ISO standard PDF/A in the future. This is a clear indication that PDF/A is finding ever wider acceptance.”

PDF/A in Switzerland

A Swiss comedian once mimicked a German waiting in line at a Swiss ski-lift: “In Germany everything is done lickety-split”. For PDF/A this is beyond a doubt true: Germany was and is the PDF/A motor in Europe. But how was the new ISO-Standard accepted in Switzerland?

Already at the first PDF/A conference in Stuttgart in spring 2007 almost 10 % of the participants were from Switzerland. Among these there were important representatives from banks, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies who traditionally have large amounts of documents needing to be processed. It is not surprising that PDF/A quickly became an issue in these sectors.” Already now the first companies have switched to PDF/A for archiving”, confirms Robert Reichmuth, CEO at Docucom (www.docu.com), a Swiss specialist for archive migrations and member of the PDF/A Competence Center.

Even the Swiss Federal Administration has occupied itself in detail with PDF/A. In the draft concerning the “Regulation of electronic transmission within administrative procedures” PDF/A is recommended medium-term as the document format for submitting electronic files. (http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/gg/pc/documents/1541/Bericht.pdf).

For archiving Office Documents the Swiss Federal Archive already today only accepts PDF/A (http://www.bar.admin.ch/themen/00532/00533/index.html?lang=de).

Also of great importance is the recommendation by the “Coordinating Center for long-term archiving of electronic documents” (KOST). This cooperative venture of Swiss archives published the “Catalogue of archivable file formats” (KaD) (http://www.kost-ceco.ch/wiki/whelp/KaD/) not too long ago, in which PDF/A is listed as “recommended format”. The great interest in PDF/A was demonstrated at an information event at the end of April: The hall in the Federal Archive in Bern was bursting at the seams with 80 representatives from public and company archives.

The PDF/A train has reached Switzerland too. And being a country with a good public transportation network PDF/A will soon have reached all corners of the country!


PDF Tools AG

By Dr. Hans Bärfuss, CEO, PDF Tools AG

The Swiss PDF Tools AG team with its headquarters in Winkel near Zurich and subsidiary in Canada has been occupying itself with PDF Technology since 1993. Founded from a spin-off in the year 2002, PDF Tools AG is today a worldwide leading manufacturer of PDF Programming Technology for customers in all market segments.

PDF Tools AG supplies client and server based software products specifically designed for developers, integrators, specialists for customization and IT departments in companies. Worldwide tens of thousands of companies use the products either directly or via a global network of OEM partners. Among the customers in over 60 countries are ABB, Bayer, BMW, Boeing, Canon, Credit Suisse, Fortis Bank, Garmin, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, UBS, the US Navy, VW and Xerox.

In the PDF/A sector PDF Tools AG has a comprehensive product range among other things for the fully automatic conversion of images, Office documents, e-mails and PDF to PDF/A. Products for the PDF/A compliant display and print are also in the range of goods. In the sector PDF/A and digital signatures PDF Tools AG cooperates closely with Open Limit (www.openlimit.com). Other cooperations exist with the companies JoinApps (www.joinapps.ch) for PDF/A in SAP environments, Docucom (www.docu.com) for archive migrations and PDFcenter.ch (www.pdfcenter.ch) in the resale of the products. These companies are also Swiss members in the PDF/A Competence Center.

“PDF/A will undoubtedly establish itself as the standard for long-term archiving”, says Dr. Hans Bärfuss confidently. As a worldwide renowned PDF expert he strongly supports a unified interpretation of the standard. This also ensures the legendary Swiss quality of PDF Tools AG products for the range of the PDF/A compliant products. PDF Tools AG played an important role in the development of the PDF/A Testsuite.

All PDF Tools AG products can be purchased directly via internet, evaluation versions are also available online.

Further information concerning PDF Tools AG: www.pdf-tools.com


We welcome two more leading companies as member in the PDF/A Competence Center:

  • Global Graphics, UK-Cambridge
    approx. 100 employees, with offices in the USA, Japan and India.
  • Levi, Ray & Shoup, USA-Springfield, Il
    over 600 employees, headquarters in the USA and subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and Australia

Tags: MS Office 2007, e-mail archive
Categories: PDF/A