Difference between revisions of "Creating and Validating PDF/A-1 Documents"

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** [http://docs.verapdf.org/validation/pdfa-part1/ PDF/A-1 validation rules]
** [http://docs.verapdf.org/validation/pdfa-part1/ PDF/A-1 validation rules]
* [https://www.pdflib.com/fileadmin/pdflib/pdf/pdfa/2009-05-04-Bavaria-report-on-PDFA-validation-accuracy.pdf Bavaria Report on PDF/A Validation Accuracy]
* [https://www.pdflib.com/fileadmin/pdflib/pdf/pdfa/2009-05-04-Bavaria-report-on-PDFA-validation-accuracy.pdf Bavaria Report on PDF/A Validation Accuracy]
* [https://www.pdfa.org/isartor-test-suite/ Isartor Test Suite] and [http://www.pdfa.org/isartor-test-suite-terms-of-use-download/ Isartor Test Suite Download]
* [https://github.com/bfosupport/pdfa-testsuite Bavaria Test Suite] on GitHub
* [http://www.npes.org/programs/standardsworkroom/toolsbestpractices/pdfa.aspx NPES resources on PDF/A]
* [http://www.npes.org/programs/standardsworkroom/toolsbestpractices/pdfa.aspx NPES resources on PDF/A]
* [http://www.pdfa.org/publication/pdfa-1-technical-notes/ PDF/A-1 Technical Notes]
* [http://www.pdfa.org/publication/pdfa-1-technical-notes/ PDF/A-1 Technical Notes]

Revision as of 15:35, 7 July 2017


Adobe PDFMaker settings in Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office "Save As" options for PDF
"PDF Options" menu in LibreOffice

Microsoft Office

With Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (not to be confused with Acrobat Reader DC, which can't create or edit documents), a PDF creation tool is integrated into Microsoft Office. Creating a document compliant with PDF/A (potentially PDF/A-1a) this way can be done as follows:

  1. Create or open your document in Microsoft Office.
  2. Go to "Acrobat" → "Preferences."
  3. In the "Acrobat PDFMaker" window that opens, click on the "PDF/A Compliance" drop-down list and select "PDF/A-1a."
  4. Click "OK."
  5. Go to "Acrobat" → "Create PDF."

Without Acrobat Pro, PDF/A-1 compliance can be achieved using the "Save As" function:

  1. Create or open your document in Microsoft Office.
  2. Go to "File" → "Save As" and choose a destination folder.
  3. In the "Save As" window that opens, click on the "Save as type" drop-down list and select "PDF."
  4. Click on the "Options..." button
  5. In the "Options" window that opens, check the "ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)" box. Ensure that the "Document structure tags for accessibility" box is also checked.
  6. Click "OK" → "Save."

LibreOffice and OpenOffice

PDF creation is virtually identical in LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

  1. Create or open your document in LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
  2. Go to "File" → "Export in PDF format."
  3. In the "PDF Options" window that opens, check the "Archive PDF/A-1a" box.
  4. Click "Export."


PDF/A-1b files can be created using the "pdfx" package:

However, creating an accessible PDF (namely, PDF/A-1a in this context) file in LaTeX is currently very difficult. Achieving the necessary structure seems to be highly impractical at best and virtually impossible at worst. If you'd like to delve into this problem, explore the following links:


Preflight in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat Pro

The Portable Document Format (PDF) was developed by Adobe Systems, so Adobe is naturally a reliable go-to for PDF tools. The drawback, of course, is that their more useful tools are proprietary. Acrobat Reader is free but cannot validate PDF compliance. Like Acrobat Pro, Acrobat Reader will display a blue banner stating that the file "claims compliance with the PDF/A standard." While a compliant file should always yield the banner, the banner is by no means a form of sufficient validation. If you don't have Acrobat Pro, you'll have to explore other validation options, some of which are mentioned below.

If you do have the luxury of Acrobat Pro, then take advantage of its "Preflight" function to check compliance:

  1. In the toolbar, go to "PDF Standards" → "Preflight"
  2. In the "Preflight" window that opens, click on the "Libraries" drop-down list at the top (it likely is set to "Essentials" by default) and select "PDF Standards."
  3. Expand the "PDF/A compliance" heading and select "Verify compliance with PDF/A-1a." You can also attempt to convert the document to this compliance level by selecting "Convert to PDF/A-1a" instead. If this fails, select "Verify compliance with PDF/A-1b" to ensure that the document has at least reached the minimum compliance required by PDS4.


VeraPDF is an open-source, industry-supported PDF validator. Unlike Adobe Acrobat, it's available to Linux-based operating systems in addition to Windows and MacOS. The mission of the veraPDF consortium is to "develop an industry-supported, open-source validator for PDF/A, and to build a community to maintain the project in the long term."[1] Led in part by the PDF Association, veraPDF has emerged as a widely preferred validator. Indeed, it's both more available (free, open-source, and supports Linux as well as Windows and MacOS) and more powerful than Adobe's Preflight tool. VeraPDF's criteria are more stringent than Preflight's, so files that pass the Preflight compliance check may fail veraPDF's check.

Notable features include:

  • both desktop graphical user interface (GUI) and command line interface (CLI)
  • batch function - can check multiple files at once
  • detailed reports in both XML (more information) and HTML (more readable)

See Also

External Links



  1. About veraPDF. (2016, July 28). Retrieved July 05, 2017, from http://verapdf.org/home/#about