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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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The only digital document format

Margaret Hamilton led a team credited with developing the software for NASA’s Apollo and Skylab. Her  team was responsible for developing in-flight software, which included algorithms designed by various senior scientists for the Apollo command module …

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 …

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 …

Why CIOs should care about PDF/A


Stopwatch and dollar bills.

As a means of distributing electronic documents, PDF was an established technology back when Netscape Navigator was the world’s most popular web browser.

Think about that.

While PDF has changed considerably since those days, most user’s perceptions of PDF have not. PDF was the best way to share page-based content back in 1994, and that’s the way most people think of PDF today. Few ask themselves: “what else can PDF do?”. And in particular, how can PDF/A compliant workflows reduce risks and enhance handling of electronic documents?

There are several good reasons why CIOs should care about PDF/A.

PDF/A reduces risks

The PDF format is commonly used to retain important documents. Unfortunately, while the format itself is generally extremely reliable, not all PDF software does a good job when creating or editing PDF files. Older software may damage PDF/A files, and even with the best software, other mistakes can be made, such as failing to embed fonts.

Anyone who has opened a PDF file only to see rows of little boxes instead of text knows the sinking feeling that comes from a “bad PDF”.

Integrated into an electronic document workflow, PDF/A eliminates these uncertainties, ensuring that vital business and government records include all necessary resources to be “future-proof” – viewable into the indefinite future.

PDF/A helps satisfy regulatory requirements

Use of PDF/A for documentation and records in regulated industries demonstrates a commitment to preserving tax, HR, contractual and other records consistent with HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC and other legal retention requirements.

PDF/A is ideally suited for digital signatures

The archival subset of PDF allows embedded electronic signatures, specifying only their minimum requirements. As such, PDF/A documents can be signed using the most current digital signature technology, ideal for process automation.

PDF/A provides comprehensive support for all sorts of writing systems

Text in PDF/A files is always displayed correctly on any device irrespective of language, text direction or font. For documents including Japanese, Cyrillic or other writing systems PDF/A provides assurance of legibility. When allied with PDF/UA (for universal accessibility), PDF/A files are what the Library of Congress considers a “…preferred format for page-oriented content”.

PDF/A is cross-platform technology

Cloud computing and mobile devices offer new challenges and opportunities for document authoring, delivery and display. PDF/A, however, is 100% reliable regardless of operating system or device, now or in the future.

Download the PDF Association’s PDF/A in a Nutshell, a free publication, to lean more about the archival subset of PDF.


Tags: CIOs
Categories: PDF/A