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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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Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity as compared with all other searches.

Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Members supporting PDF features!

The typical adoption curve for PDF technologies until approximately 2007 tended to track with that of the original PDF developer. Since then the marketplace has shifted; it’s no longer clear that Adobe drivesPDF feature support worldwide. Accordingly, we are happy to report that adoption of PDF 2.0 continues apace, with new vendors announcing their support every month.

Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

Who owns PDF?

Most people closely identify PDF with Adobe Systems. We can’t fault the typical end-user for this perception – Adobe did invent PDF back in 1993, and has developed, maintained and distributed the ubiquitous free Adobe Reader and commercial Adobe Acrobat software ever since.

But Adobe no longer owns PDF. The company gave the format to the ISO in 2008 – the PDF specification is now formally known as ISO 32000. While the company still makes the most commonly-recognized PDF software, Adobe is now just one of many companies sending representatives to ISO 32000 meetings to discuss the next-generation PDF specification and the various subset standards for PDF.

Does it matter?

I’m often speaking with IT executives, CIOs, directors and other technical policy managers in large corporations and government agencies. The subject is generally a critical business-process or set of project requirements. All such managers want to avoid “vendor lock-in”. And with PDF, it seems, it’s still commonly believed that using a PDF technology solution implies some sort of commitment to Adobe Systems. It’s not so.

PDF is everywhere – in every country and almost every organization across the globe. It’s impossible to ignore, and for IT professionals, it makes a lot of sense to understand a little bit about it.

Here are some facts about PDF that every information management professional should know.

1o facts about PDF every IT professional should know

  1. PDF stands for Portable Document Format
  2. Unlike TIFF or JPEG, which are simply image formats, PDF is a type of electronic document
  3. PDF isn’t the only final-form electronic document technology, but it’s far-and-away the most dominant
  4. Adobe Systems invented but no longer owns PDF. On July 1, 2008, Adobe’s PDF Reference 1.7 became ISO 32000, an International Standard
  5. ISO 32000 is managed by representatives of industry and government in open meetings under parliamentary rules. Anyone can observe and participate
  6. ISO standards for PDF technology now include specifications for archival, accessibility, engineering, prepress and more
  7. Anyone may create applications that read and write PDF files without paying royalties to Adobe Systems or to anyone else
  8. Adobe is not the only provider of PDF creation, manipulation or viewing software, there are hundreds of other PDF technology vendors
  9. Tens of billions of PDF files exist today, with billions more created each year
  10. The very first PDF file was a tax form, specifically, an IRS form 1040

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Categories: PDF