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ISO 19005 (PDF/A)

The primary purpose of ISO 19005 is to define a file format based on PDF, known as PDF/A, which provides a mechanism for representing electronic documents in a manner that preserves their static visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for creating, storing or rendering the files.

PDF/A defines a framework for representing the logical structure and other semantic information of electronic documents within conforming files. PDF/A also provides a framework for recording the context and history of electronic documents in metadata within conforming files. These goals are accomplished by identifying the set of PDF features that can be used, and restrictions on the form of their use, within conforming PDF/A files. In addition, PDF/A defines a set of requirements that PDF/A compliant processors (viewers) must implement.

ISO 19005-1 (PDF/A-1)

Based on PDF 1.4, PDF/A-1 is the original PDF/A specification published in 2005 and defined two conformance levels:

  • PDF/A-1b – Level B (basic) conformance defines a minimal set of requirements for the reliable reproduction of a document's visual appearance;
  • PDF/A-1a – Level A (accessible) conformance extends Level B to include additional features to improve a document's accessibility and reliable text extraction.

PDF/A-1 does not support transparency.

Purchase PDF/A-1 from ISO's website. The two corrigenda documents for PDF/A-1 may also be downloaded via the same page.

PDF Association PDF/A-1 Technical Notes Publication Date
Technical Note 0001: PDF/A-1 and Namespaces March 14, 2008
Technical Note 0002: Color in PDF/A-1 March 14, 2008
Technical Note 0003: Metadata in PDF/A-1 March 18, 2008
Technical Note 0006: Digital Signatures in PDF/A-1 March 14, 2008
Technical Note 0008: Predefined XMP Properties in PDF/A-1 March 20, 2008
Technical Note 0009: XMP Extension Schemas in PDF/A-1 March 20, 2008

ISO 19005-2 (PDF/A-2)

Based on PDF 1.7 (ISO 32000-1:2008), PDF/A-2 extends the PDF/A concept to encompass the new features added to PDF between versions 1.4 and 1.7. PDF/A-2 requires that any attached file be either itself a PDF/A file or plain text.

Purchase PDF/A-2 from ISO's website.

ISO 19005-3 (PDF/A-3)

PDF/A-3 is identical to PDF/A-2, but permits arbitrary attachments to PDF/A-3 files.

Purchase PDF/A-3 from ISO's website.

PDF Association PDF/A, parts 1-3 Technical Notes Publication Date
Technical Note 0010: Clarifications of ISO 19005, parts 1-3 for developers of PDF/A creators and validators July 15, 2017

ISO 19005-4 (PDF/A-4)

PDF/A-4 is based upon ISO 32000-2:2020 (PDF 2.0). It also introduces the new PDF/A-4e conformance level that supports interactive 3D models for engineering workflows. The PDF Association also maintains a list of industry-approved resolutions to identified issues in PDF/A-4.

Purchase PDF/A-4 from ISO's website.

Additional PDF/A Resources

Description Direct Download Publication Date
PDF/A Flyer (PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3) English June 18, 2015
PDF/A in a Nutshell 2.0 (PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3) English May 23, 2013
PDF/A kompakt 2.0 (PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3) Deutsch May 26, 2009
PDF/A l'essentiell 2.0 (PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3) French Dec 1, 2014
Introducción al PDF/A (PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3) Español September 12, 2010
4th International PDF/A Conference Proceedings English October 1, 2010

For more technical resources, refer to the PDF Association's Technical Resources.

RESOURCE INFO

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INFO

ISO 19005 is a series of standards known as PDF/A which defines a subset of PDF for representing electronic documents in a manner that preserves their static visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for creating, storing or rendering the files.

PDF/A iconPDF 2.0 icon

Community: PDF/A TWG

ISO Group Responsible: ISO TC171 SC2 WG5

ISO Status: status of all PDF-related ISO work

Errata: PDF/A-4 (ISO 19005-4)

Publications: PDF/A in a Nutshell 2.0, PDF/A Flyer

Test Suites: Isartor, veraPDF

August 25, 2005


PDF 2.0 PDF/A



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