The PDF format is one of the most widely used formats in the world. The numerous functions it has to offer indeed makes the format complex. Many companies use it to exchange information between business partners or in-house. It therefore makes sense to use quality specifications to ensure interoperability within and outside a company. Standard formats defined for PDF can be used to define such quality requirements and simplify their compliance. They also relieve the burden of technical details and help clarify responsibilities within the process chain. ISO defined these standards to guarantee reliable PDF processing in view of the many PDF creation programs and the central importance of PDF. Let’s have a look.
Already in 2009, the German state Brandenburg started to publish all laws digitally and used – no surprise - PDF for that. It still is (at least) a nationwide pioneer. In this blog, callas software wants to explain the requirements which are sometimes completely different from e.g. publishing magazine articles online, but sometimes also surprisingly close to print publishing.
One can see a lot clearer in the rearview mirror. Having been in Prepress for 30 years and 17 at callas, here I will have a quick look to the rear - and to the front...
With Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, companies can better distribute information, collaboratively edit documents, digitally archive or simply retrieve information faster. This is particularly successful if files are stored in a suitable format that reflects the typical requirements for processing documents. So, what is the first choice of document format here?
For people with physical disabilities, such as severely impaired vision, reading on a computer with technical aids is much easier than reading on paper. It therefore makes sense to make technical documentation available electronically, and thus make it accessible to as many people as possible. Guess which is the preferred format for achieving this and how does it add value for everyone?
What the flattened curbside or stepless access is for wheelchair users, the barrier-free PDF in accordance with the PDF/UA standard is for reading and editing documents and forms. Without limiting the diversity of PDF technology, it determines how unrestricted accessibility of content in PDF files is ensured.
Numerous directives and laws state that employee records must be maintained for many years after an employee leaves the company. How can companies ensure that the documents are still accessible? Do companies want to keep this data online for 5 years? One possibility is to store the documents in PDF/A format, the ISO standard for long-term archiving.
Everybody whose occupation is related to a business process that relies on a subset standard will know it: somebody working in prepress will know PDF/X as an archivist knows PDF/A. But for PDF professionals, it also makes senses to know something about other subset standards. One reason could be that it is technically not complicated to create PDF files that comply with more than one standard (major portions of their text are exactly the same). Therefore, we wrote this article with a short description of all PDF based ISO standard!