ISO 32000 (PDF)

ISO 32000 is the family of ISO standards that defines the core PDF specification, as identified by the PDF version number. All other PDF subset specifications depend upon a specific core PDF version.

Additional information related to ISO 32000 can be found in the PDF Association's Technical Resources.

ISO 32000-2:2020 = PDF 2.0

ISO 32000-2 defines PDF 2.0 and is the first PDF specification entirely developed under the ISO open consensus-based process.

Originally published in July 2017, ISO 32000-2:2020 is the so-called "dated revision" of PDF 2.0 which makes numerous improvements, corrections and clarifications identified during early implementation and adoption of PDF 2.0.

In 2017 the initial edition of PDF 2.0 was published as the culmination of nine years of work by a dedicated group of approximately 30 subject-matter experts from around the world. The 2020 edition continues the refinement of the venerable PDF format and replaces the 2017 edition. Although it is an open standard, one major difference compared with prior versions of PDF is that ISO now holds the copyright to the PDF specification and thus PDF 2.0 is not freely downloadable. Any subject-matter expert who is a member of the PDF Association (an ISO Category A Liaison organization) or whose country is a member of ISO's TC 171 SC 2 can join other experts and help determine the nature and direction of the world’s de facto electronic document format.

The PDF Association hosts a public GitHub repository to provide all developers a means of openly reporting issues against any published PDF 2.0 related ISO standard for review and resolution by industry. All issues in PDF specifications are important, from minor typos and formatting issues, to larger ambiguous, unclear or apparently contradictory statements. By reaching a consensus on resolutions as an industry, PDF interoperability and implementation reliability will be improved. The full list of all industry ratified corrections to PDF 2.0 specifications is here.

The PDF Association also maintains an archive of documents, many originally published by Adobe Systems, used as normative references (and thus necessary to complete implementation) in ISO 32000-2. Many of these documents are freely downloadable. A small selection of sample PDF 2.0 documents is available from GitHub, with each document demonstrating a specific PDF 2.0 feature.

PDF 2.0 Application Note Publication Date
PDF 2.0 Application Note 001: Black Point Compensation September 17, 2018
PDF 2.0 Application Note 002: Associated Files October 26, 2018
PDF 2.0 Application Note 003: Use of object metadata streams March 16, 2021

ISO 32000-1:2008 = PDF 1.7

ISO 32000-1:2008 is the core specification for PDF 1.7 and remains available today. Adobe donated their PDF 1.7 specification in January 2007 to ISO and a "fast track" process was used to publish a refinement of this specification as ISO 32000-1:2008, with copyright jointly held between Adobe and ISO. Equivalent publications are available from both ISO and Adobe. See also the Adobe patent release regarding ISO 32000-1:2008 and the 2011 statement by Adobe's Dr Matthew Hardy.

Although ISO 32000-2 defines PDF 2.0 with new features and capabilities, a large number of key corrections and clarifications were identified by the ISO subject matter experts and applied to common clauses shared with PDF 1.7. These improved clauses in PDF 2.0 can assist all PDF developers working to support earlier versions of PDF where older specifications are ambiguous or difficult to understand.

PDF 1.7 Related Publication Publication Date
PDF 1.7 – ISO 32000-1 Summary of Changes August 1, 2008



Buy PDF 2.0 from ISO


ISO 32000 is the family of ISO standards that defines the core PDF specification for both PDF 1.7 and PDF 2.0.

July 15, 2021

PDF in general PDF 2.0