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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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“PDF can do THAT?!”

PDF files deliver a complete package of information that defines a document; everything that’s needed to represent the text, graphics and layout that the recipient receives. To most people, PDF is “electronic paper” – the digital expression of a cellul …

The only digital document format

What is a “document”? A document is a record of some (typically written) content – a publication, a contract, a statement, a painting – at a moment in time. Until the advent of computers (and scanners), the media typically considered useable for such r …

Save the Date: PDF Days Europe 2018, May 14-16, in Berlin

PDF Days Europe is the most popular PDF event of the year. It’s where the PDF industry meets, and where institutional and corporate users come to learn what else PDF could do for them. The first two PDF Days will offer a broad range of educational sessions focussed on current and perennial topics in the world of PDF technology implementation.

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 …

What is a “Competence Center”?


Competence CentersThe PDF Association started in 2006 as the “PDF/A Competence Center”. The mission was to identify – and thereby establish – a common interpretation of the PDF/A-1 specification. With that accomplished through meetings open to all members, the secondary objective was to help drive that understanding to the people who would be most interested in the results: PDF software developers around the world.

It worked. A common perspective on PDF/A-1b was quickly adopted by industry leaders, and then implemented worldwide, with few exceptions.

The PDF Association has moved on since the days in which it focussed on PDF/A. There are now Competence Centers for PDF itself and each of the major PDF subsets. Today, most of the work is concentrated in so-called “Technical Working Groups (TWG)”. So, what’s a “TWG” versus a “Competence Center” anyhow?

TWGs and Competence Centers

Each Competence Center consists of one or more subgroups. Typically, the Technical Working Group addresses the specification itself, or interpretations and applications thereof. When present, a Marketing Working Group (MWG) tends to focus on how the PDF subset is presented to the world at large, especially end-users.

There may also be one or more Special Interest Groups (SIG) within any given Competence Center; these organizations are dedicated to specific functional, technical, marketplace or other areas of interest.

Access to these groups is for PDF Association members only, and is one of the principle benefits of membership.

We encourage all PDF developers to consider joining the PDF Association and participating in these activities! PDF is only worthwhile when it’s fully interoperable, and the Competence Centers are here to help maximize that outcome.


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