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PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
More contributions
Using PDF/UA in accessibility checklists

PDF/UA, like PDF itself, is internally complex, but used correctly, actually makes things easier.

PDF Association expands its board of directors

Catherine Andersz of PDFTron Systems, Alaine Behler of iText Software and Peter Wyatt, ISO Project Leader for ISO 32000 enrich the newly elected board of the PDF Association.

PDF Days Europe 2018 concludes with record number of attendees

Richard Cohn, Principal Scientist at Adobe and the co-author of PDF 1.0, gave the opening keynote at the PDF Days Europe 2018.

Interview with René Treuber, Product Manager of axaio software, about PDF Days Europe 2018

René Treuber, Product Manager of axaio software, will be hosting a presentation titled “Introducing ISO standards for PDF “processing steps” and “print product metadata”” at the PDF Days Europe 2018. In this Interview he gives some background information about it.

Interview with Roman Toda, CTO of Normex, about PDF Days Europe 2018

Roman Toda, CTO of Normex, will be hosting a presentation titled “Encryption with PDF 2.0” at the PDF Days Europe 2018. In this interview he gives some background information about it.

PDF/A in finance and industry

Engineering drawing

Businesses benefit from the ISO standard for long-term archiving because it helps them to store digital documents in compliance with legal requirements. PDF/A-3 has further increased adoption rates within the financial sector, as this new part of the standard can also be used to keep source documents organised.

Industry documentation

The aeroplane manufacturer Airbus was a pioneer in the use of PDF/A. Aeroplane blueprints must be preserved for at least 99 years. Back in 2002, one of the manufacturer’s working groups recognised that PDF was in some respects well-suited to long-term archiving, but also that it contained a number of problematic functions. The team therefore first developed a “minimal PDF” which was used for digital archiving until PDF/A became available.

The construction industry has recognised the advantages of features like PDF/A-3’s “container” functionality. Mechanical engineering companies, for example, can preserve original 3D models in any format as part of the PDF/A-3 file.

NIRMA (the Nuclear Information and Records Management Association) also recommends PDF/A when working with nuclear technology in the United States. The US-based energy provider Southern Co. has been using PDF/A for years to ensure that all digital documents relating to nuclear installations will remain readable into the future.

Banking and insurance

PDF/A helps the German health insurance provider Techniker Krankenkasse with a bonus programme for its customers. It begins with the company scanning existing bonus booklets in colour. This file is used to create a PDF/A with compressed images and searchable text, which can then be archived and sent onwards.

Helaba, the state bank of Hesse and Thuringia, uses PDF/A to handle incoming post and to archive emails. It also stores digital credit documents in PDF/A format.

The banking and insurance sector often requires credit and insurance files to be retained for 50 or more years.


As a rule, documents such as doctors’ notes, statements, lab reports, and X-ray and tomographic images must be retained for 30 years or more.

The medical centre at Greifswald University Hospital, for example, uses PDF/A to archive its patient records – including digital signatures and timestamps. Due to requirements of legal certainty, digital signatures play a critical role in medical statements.

PDF/A is used in doctors’ practices as well as in clinics. The Lake Constance Radiation Oncology Centre uses PDF/A to process and archive digital patient records.


The standardised document and data format ZUGFeRD was created to make it easier to exchange digital invoices. It is the result of a joint initiative between BITKOM (Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft, Telekommunikation und neue Medien e.V.) and FeRD (Forum elektronische Rechnung Deutschland). The ZUGFeRD exchange format also uses PDF/A-3. It embeds invoice data in XML format to allow the recipient of an invoice to process it automatically.

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Categories: Finance, PDF/A