ISO 19005-1:2005 is an ISO Standard that was published on October 1, 2005:

* Document Management - Electronic document file format for long term preservation - Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4 (PDF/A-1)

This standard defines a format (PDF/A) for the long-term archiving of electronic documents and is based on the PDF Reference Version 1.4 from Adobe Systems Inc. (implemented in Adobe Acrobat 5).

PDF/A is in fact a subset of PDF, leaving out PDF features not suited to long-term archiving. This is similar to the definition of the PDF/X subset for the printing and graphic arts.

In addition, the standard places requirements on software products that read PDF/A files. A "conforming reader" must follow certain rules including following color management guidelines, using embedded fonts for rendering, and making annotation content available to users.


The Standard does not define an archiving strategy or the goals of an archiving system. It identifies a "profile" for electronic documents that ensures the documents can be reproduced the exact same way in years to come. A key element to this reproducibility is the requirement for PDF/A documents to be 100 % self-contained. All of the information necessary for displaying the document in the same manner every time is embedded in the file. This includes, but is not limited to, all content (text, raster images and vector graphics), fonts, and color information. A PDF/A document is not permitted to be reliant on information from external sources (e.g. font programs and hyperlinks).

Other key elements to PDF/A compatibility include:
* Audio and video content are forbidden.
* JavaScript and executable file launches are prohibited.
* All fonts must be embedded and also must be legally embeddable for unlimited, universal rendering. This also applies to the so-called PostScript standard fonts such as Times or Helvetica.
* Colorspaces specified in a device-independent manner.
* Encryption is disallowed.
* Use of standards-based metadata is mandated.

Conformance levels and versions

The standard specifies two levels of compliance for PDF files:
* PDF/A-1a - Level A compliance in Part 1
* PDF/A-1b - Level B compliance in Part 1

PDF/A-1b has the objective of ensuring reliable reproduction of the visual appearance of the document. PDF/A-1a includes all the requirements of PDF/A-1b and additionally requires that document structure be included (also known as being "tagged"), with the objective of ensuring that document content can be searched and repurposed.

A new version "PDF/A-2" is currently being worked on. It is expected to be based on the PDF Reference Version 1.6.


A PDF/A document can be identified as such through PDF/A-specific metadata located in the "http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/ns/id/" namespace. However, claiming to be PDF/A and being so are not necessarily the same

* A PDF document can be PDF/A-compliant, except for its lack of PDF/A metadata. This may happen for instance with documents that were generated before the definition of the PDF/A standard, by authors aware of features that present long-term preservation issues.

* A PDF document can be identified as PDF/A, but may incorrectly contain PDF features not allowed in PDF/A; hence, documents which claim to be PDF/A-compliant should be tested for PDF/A compliance.


As a PDF/A document must embed all fonts that it uses, a PDF/A file will often be bigger than an equivalent PDF file that does not have the fonts embedded. This may be undesirable when archiving large numbers of small files that all use the same fonts, since a separate copy of each font will be embedded in each file.

The majority of PDF generation tools that allow for PDF/A document compliance, such as the PDF export tool in Microsoft Office 2007 suites, will also make any transparent images in a given document non-transparent.


PDF/A was originally a new joint activity between NPES - The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies, and the Association for Information and Image Management, International (AIIM International) to develop an International standard that defines the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF) for archiving and preserving documents. The goal was to address the growing need to electronically archive documents in a way that will ensure preservation of their contents over an extended period of time, and will further ensure that those documents will be able to be retrieved and rendered with a consistent and predictable result in the future. This need exists in a growing number of international government and industry segments, including legal systems, libraries, newspapers, regulated industries, and others.

Software support

* Adobe Acrobat
* Microsoft Office 2007 supports creation of PDF/A via its [http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F1FC413C-6D89-4F15-991B-63B07BA5F2E5 Save as PDF Plugin] .
* OpenOffice.org supports PDF/A since its 2.4 release. [Cite web |title=New Features in OpenOffice.org 2.4 |url=http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/New_Features_2.4 |accessdate=2008-03-27]
* PCL2PDFA.com supports conversion of HP PCL to PDF/A format via its PCLReader freeware program [http://www.pclreader.com] .
* Print2PDF can create PDF/A output from any Windows application [http://www.software602.com/products/print2pdf/] .

See also

* Digital Dark Age
* Enterprise content management


External links

* [http://www.pdfa.org www.pdfa.org] - PDF/A Competence Center
* [http://www.pdfa.org/doku.php?id=events:pdfa_conference_amsterdam:en First International PDF/A Conference in Amsterdam]
* [http://www.aiim.org/standards/article.aspx?ID=25013 AIIM]
* [http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000125.shtml NDIIPP]
* [http://www.niso.org/news/newsline/NISONewsline-Jun2005.html#Story3 PDF/A approved]
* [http://www.pdf-tools.com/public/downloads/whitepapers/whitepaper-pdfa.pdf White Paper: PDF/A - The Basics] - from PDF Tools AG
* [http://www.planetpdf.com/enterprise/article.asp?ContentID=The_content_that_endures_-_What_to_know_about_PDF-A&page=0 The Content that Endures: What to know about PDF/A]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • PDF/X — is an umbrella term for several ISO standards that define a subset of the PDF standard. The purpose of PDF/X is to facilitate graphics exchange, and it therefore has a series of printing related requirements which do not apply to standard PDF… …   Wikipedia

  • A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq — is a 36 page plan created by a group of United States Democratic congressional candidates, retired military officers and national security professionals that outlines policy measures (consisting of bills currently before the United States… …   Wikipedia

  • PDF/UA — (PDF/Universal Accessibility) is a Standards Committee formed by AIIM.The mission of PDF/UA is to develop technical and other standards for the authoring, remediation and validation of PDF content to ensure accessibility for people that use… …   Wikipedia

  • A Doctor's Report on Dianetics —   Author(s) Joseph A. Winter Country …   Wikipedia

  • A Month in the Country (play) — A Month in the Country Konstantin Stanislavski (left) and Olga Knipper (right) as Rakitin and Natalya in the Moscow Art Theatre s production in 1909. Written by Ivan Turgenev …   Wikipedia

  • A Warning to the Hindus — is a 1939 booklet by the pro Nazi intellectual and mystic Savitri Devi. It was written in an attempt to ...make both those Hindus who are not nationalists and those Indian nationalists who do not care to call themselves Hindus into Hindu… …   Wikipedia

  • A-type asteroid — A type asteroids are relatively uncommon inner belt asteroids that have a strong, broad 1 µm olivine feature and a very reddish spectrum shortwards of 0.7 µm. They are thought to come from the completely differentiated mantle of an asteroid.A… …   Wikipedia

  • A Keen Soldier — A Keen Soldier: The Execution of Second World War Private Harold Pringle by Andrew Clark is a historical study of the only execution of a Canadian soldier for military crimes committed during the Second World War. Harold Pringle was executed for… …   Wikipedia

  • A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes — is a book written by Robert Goddard describing his theories of rocket flight. The book was published in 1919 by the Smithsonian Institution.The book [ [http://www.clarku.edu/research/archives/pdf/ext altitudes.pdf A Method of Reaching Extreme… …   Wikipedia

  • A Trip to Scarborough — is an eighteenth century play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751 1816), first performed on 24 February 1777. Sheridan based his work on John Vanbrugh s The Relapse (1696), removing much of the bawdy content.The play was reworked as one of three… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”