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A PDF file is an unalterable version of a document that ensures that the recipient receives it formatted in the exact same way as you created it. The PDF format was developed in 1993 and has since been extended to include various special formats, such as PDF/A. In doing so, the special requirements of different industries are met. With the PDF/A format, documents are stored for a long time, in their original and unmodifiable form. The "A" stands for archiving. The format was introduced in 2005 and it is certified by ISO for long-term digital archiving. It is an open, platform-independent standard that has been widely used since 2005. The PDF/A standard is under constant development, with the release of the second part in 2011 and the release of the third part in 2012.

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What Are Its Advantages?

With the PDF/A format, you benefit from numerous advantages. For example, it requires less storage space than ordinary PDF documents. In addition, all color profiles are precisely defined and stored.

The information that describes a document is known as metadata. This information is embedded directly in the PDF/A document using the XMP format. However, metadata from other formats such as PNG or TIFF can also be embedded in the PDF/A document. This means that the metadata does not have to be stored separately.

Another advantage of PDF/A documents is that a full-text search can be performed. Even scans that have been imported using optical character recognition can be searched using a full-text search, since the recognized text is stored as Unicode.

In addition, PDF/A documents are independent and self-contained documents, with all information contained within the document itself. The only external references it allows are links to web pages.

The special color separation and compression methods ensure that little storage space is required.

The integrated digital signature also ensures that the original content is not tampered with.

Thanks to the ISO standard, documents always remain valid; they do not need to be converted. In addition, the ISO standard cannot be revoked. In Europe and Asia, PDF/A is the standard format for archiving, but it is also becoming more widespread in North America.

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What Are the Differences Between PDF and PDF/A?

All in all, the PDF/A format is a PDF document with all the functions that are not needed for archiving removed. No data is lost in the process, it is just a different format.

What Are the PDF/a-1a and PDF/a-1b Formats?

With the PDF/A-1 format, you have the choice between levels 1a and 1b. 1b is the basic version that meets the minimum requirements of the ISO standard. It ensures that documents remain readable within the legally specified time.

In version 1a, the "a" stands for "accessible". This means that the format is readable on all mobile devices and is also accessibility friendly. This means that the text can be displayed as Unicode, allowing computer-generated speech synthesis to be used.

Check PDF Files with Software From EyeC

With EyeC's Artwork & Pre-Press Inspection software, PDF files of all formats, including PDF/A, can be reviewed. With EyeC Proofiler Graphic you can quickly and easily compare two PDF files with each other. In this way, the prepress inspection system ensures that only error-free files go to print.

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Ashley Madden

EyeC America

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