PDF/E Gives Engineers an Archiving Format All Their Own

Not surprisingly, engineering and construction communities need to ensure that they can publish and exchange engineering and mapping data in a format that everyone can open, read and rely upon, regardless of the software used to create it.

After all, if the map that shows your public works team where the water mains are is unreadable, or off by enough of a margin that they hit one during construction, costly problems arise. Not to mention the high cost of managing distribution of and changes to engineering and map data during project and product development.

All of which prompted a group of motivated PDF users and partners to band together to form a committee dedicated to creating PDF/E. The result of their work, the PDF/E standard is the foundation for creating documents used in PDF software for geospatial, construction, engineering and manufacturing workflows.

What is PDF/E?

PDF/E is a subset of PDF, designed to be an open and neutral exchange format for engineering and technical documentation.

Like PDF/A, which is primarily concerned with long-term archiving, and PDF/X, which is the standard for printing and publishing, PDF/E is an ISO-standardized version of the Portable Document Format (PDF). In this way, it ensures compliance in order to produce consistent results and quality. This helps eliminate issues that had existed in the engineering realm previously, such as inconsistent results, sharing issues due to inaccessible external links, and proprietary formats of pdf software that each required a separate and sometimes expensive viewer.

As such, PDF/E files must be 100% self-contained to ensure view ability, so they require that all components necessary to make them readable are embedded within them. That means necessary text, raster images, vector graphics, fonts, and color information are always accessible to the engineering and manufacturing teams that rely upon these documents.

PDF/E also offers a format that enables secure distribution and supports digital signatures and authentication—both of which are instrumental to industries that frequently create documents containing sensitive data.  

It’s key to note that, because engineering and manufacturing rely upon interactive media, including animation, PDF/E allows them, unlike PDF/A and PDF/X.

When should you use PDF/E?

If you’re in the engineering, manufacturing or construction industries, chances are, you’re already very familiar with PDF/E and its usage. The standard is readily available to use in many industry applications, such as AutoCAD and Microsoft Visio, and various PDF software products.

To learn more about PDF/E, visit the Foxit PhantomPDF product page.


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