by Carsten Heiermann, CEO of Foxit Europe
PDF is available in various iterations that include, , , , and PDF/VT, all of which fall under ISO standards. Each type serves a different function to fulfill various industry-specific needs. The various formats, though, are not mutually exclusive. Some intersections exist among them. Here are some examples.
is the universal standard for PDF archiving. This ensures users can access PDF documents in their original layout many years down the road. To meet PDF/A standards, files have to be self-contained and cannot have insecure or active content. Level A, which is the conformance level of PDF/A, also meets these characteristics for accessibility:
- Language details
- Tagged PDF
- Structure tree (hierarchy)
Essentially, this means PDF/A Level A files can concurrently meet PDF/UA requirements for across-the-board access to PDF files.
Some people call PDF/A the format for “electronic paper.” You could also say that about a subset of PDF/X. PDF/X is the ISO standard for printing. This version can also meet PDF/A requirements. This is in part because both versions do not allow video, audio, or any embedded material that can affect the printout. Mandatory content under PDF/X, such as page size and trimming data, is acceptable under PDF/A.
PDF – PDF/X, PDF/A, PDF/VT or
Of course, PDF can conform to other PDF standards, such as PDF/X, PDF/A, or PDF/E. If you open a PDF that conforms to one of these standards, you can view the standards information with PhantomPDF. To do so, choose Convert > Industry Standard > Verify compliance > Analyze.
It’s a good thing that PDF ISO standards are not mutually exclusive. This eliminates the need for multiple and redundant versions of the same PDF files.