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About the contributor
PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
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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 …

PDF Association technical resources: an overview

PDF is PDF because files produced with one vendor’s software can be read using a different vendor’s software with no loss of fidelity. Interoperability is key to our industry. The PDF Association is a international membership organization dedicated to …

2022: The last year of paper for records-keeping

NARA (The National Archives and Records Administration) is the final depository for the long-term records generated by all other agencies of the U.S. Federal Government. The agency has a key role in preserving the cultural history of the republic as we …

PDF 2.0 examples now available

The PDF Association is proud to present the first PDF 2.0 example files made available to the public. Created and donated to the PDF Association by Datalogics, this initial set of PDF 2.0 examples were crafted by hand and intentionally made simple in construction to serve as teaching tools for learning PDF file structure and syntax.

PDF 2.0 interops help vendors

The PDF 2.0 interop workshops included many vendors with products for creating, editing and processing PDF files. They came together in Boston, Massachusetts for a couple of days to test their own software against 3rd party files.

The carthorse method of automating transaction processing


Page from webpdf blogIt’s been possible to attach (almost) any file to a PDF since 2000. From .DOC and .PPT files to XML and more, file attachments allow PDF documents to serve as a combination zip archive and cover-note.

Like many other powerful features of our favorite file format, however, attachments have not garnered a lot of notice until recently. That’s changing rapidly, because there’s money to be saved.

As reliable, cross-platform electronic documents, PDF files have long provided a popular choice for invoices and other documents transacted between organizations during routine business. Few users to-date have leveraged PDF’s attachments feature to include a machine-readable version of the same invoice.

It’s a simple, powerful idea, and it’s time has come.

ZUGFeRD, a new electronic invoicing standard has arrived and it’s going to revolutionize transaction processing.  The German word for “cart horse”, ZUGFeRD is aptly named. This new standard leverages the reliability of PDF/A-3, the archival subset of PDF, to “carry” matching XML as an attachment to the printable representation. Both the structured XML file and the PDF’s pages represent the complete invoice. The receiver can choose which to process; XML, PDF or both.

In principle, this means that it is possible to exchange structured invoices without any prior consultation or agreement between the involved parties and without any agreement on the transmission itself. Users can phase in support for machine-readable invoices when they are ready to do so, and it’s not difficult to do.

Designed for an international context, ZUGFeRD 1.0 is based on the Cross Industry Invoice (CII) standard developed by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and the European Committee for Standardization’s (CEN) Message User Guides, for which the CII served as a basis.

Originally published in German in June, 2014, ZUGFERD 1.0 can now be downloaded in English at no cost: www.zugferd.de.

Electronic invoices… and beyond

The ZUGFeRD standard has the potential to revolutionize accounting procedures, reducing costs worldwide while delivering the assurance of a “hardcopy” representation. The idea of transacting other types of machine-readable data such as JSON as attachments to fixed, human-readable records is appealing across a wide spectrum of applications. We expect to see rapid expansion in this area.


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Categories: ZUGFeRD