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PDF Declarations

ISO-standardized subsets of PDF such as PDF/A, PDF/UA and PDF/X already include identification mechanisms. However, in many cases users of PDF files would like to leverage 3rd party standards or other profiles of PDF to meet specific needs.

The PDF Declarations mechanism allows creation and editing software to declare, via a PDF Declaration, a PDF file to be in conformance with a 3rd party specification or profile that may not be related to PDF technology. The 3rd party specification or profile may describe or require properties specific to some or all content in the PDF document. Cases include, but are not limited to specifications or profiles that:

  • Mandate properties (e.g., accessibility specifications)
  • Mandate degree of accuracy (e.g., engineering specifications)
  • Set limits on content types (e.g., that all images use a specific encoding)
  • Make an accountable policy statement regarding document content (e.g., pertaining to privacy regulations)
  • Profile PDF for specific purposes (e.g., to archive email)

By itself, the presence of a PDF Declaration does not guarantee that the document conforms to the 3rd party specification or profile.

NOTE: Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of patent rights. The PDF Association shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not constitute an endorsement.

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Published by the PDF Association.
September 5, 2019


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