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 …
Current file formats used by popular applications are simply not suitable for public authorities, businesses and individual users needing to store unalterable digital documents for long periods of time. Word processors such as Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer create files which can look very different depending on the platform used to view them. Text and images may appear different than intended or they may not appear at all. Nowadays, there are also the questions of how these programs will develop in the future, and whether or not it will still be possible to open and view older files an unacceptable risk when considering the timescales involved in long-term archiving.
PDF/A is an industry-recognised ISO standard. Future software development must reflect the need to work reliably with these documents.
When using email or the internet to distribute carefully designed documents containing text and images, users are increasingly choosing PDF. After all, the Portable Document Format can embed all elements of a document within itself. This can include fonts and images, but also 3D objects, audio and video. Embedded fonts are optional; it is also possible (in order to save on file size, for example) to link to one instead. This, however, carries the risk that not all machines will correctly display the PDF.
PDF has also gained such broad worldwide acceptance because free programs exist for all devices and operating systems to view PDF documents. Whether viewed on a tablet, a smartphone or a desktop computer, a PDF file will usually look the same.
Document archives, however, require an exceptionally high standard: the content must always appear exactly the same under all circumstances. Particularly because of its universal availability and worldwide acceptance, it makes sense to build on PDF to create an archiving standard for digital documents.
Put in the simplest possible terms, PDF/A is a PDF which forbids certain functions which could hinder long-term archiving. PDF/A also demands that the file meet certain requirements which guarantee reliable reproduction.
PDF/A also places higher demands on the information it contains. All required fonts (or at least all glyphs for the specific characters used) must be embedded within the PDF. To ensure a uniform colour appearance on a variety of platforms and devices, colour information must be given in a platform-independent format using ICC colour profiles. The software must also use the XMP format for metadata (which is used to store the data identifying the file as a PDF/A, for example).
PDF/A also sets technical limits: for example, the page size is limited to an edge length of either 5.08 metres (PDF/A-1) or up to 381 kilometres (PDF/A-2 and PDF/A-3).