Computer disconnected after saving documents in PDF Archive (PDF/ A) format

PDF/A Format: What It Is and How to Make a File PDF/A Compliant

With so much focus on ephemeral content these days, it’s easy to forget that some content is meant to last a long time—forever, even. When your goal is to save a document for posterity, or at least for the recommended minimum of seven years, the PDF Archive (PDF/A) format is what you need.

PDF/A format: what it is

So what is the PDF/A format, exactly? Essentially, it’s the recommended format for electronic files you want to archive and preserve.

The reason, as Ben Joan notes in Difference Between PDF and PDF/A, is that the PDF/A format has certain requirements that promote long-term accessibility. For example, it does not support:

  • Font linking
  • Encryption
  • Embedding audio, video, and executable files
  • External references

This is all to ensure that a file you create today can be reproduced the same way ten, twenty, and even a hundred years from now — either on software you know or one that does not exist yet.

How to save to PDF/A (PDFpenPro only)

The ability to export PDF to other formats, including PDF/A, is a PDFpenPro feature. You can access the export options from the File menu.

Choose File>Export from the PDFpenPro menu to convert to PDF/A format.

Select “Normal PDF/A-1b” from the Export dialog.

Choose Normal PDF/A-1b from the Export dialog to export to make files PDF/A-1b compliant.

To increase accuracy, choose the language of the document in the “Language(s) in document” menu. Click Export.

Choose the language before exporting to PDF/A.

Depending on how big your PDF is, this may take a couple of minutes. The dialog changes to show a progress bar, so you’ll be able to see the amount of time elapsed and the estimated amount of time the conversion will take.

When the conversion is complete, a Save dialog will appear. When that happens, choose a location on your hard drive to save your document. Click Save and you’re all done!

Note: You currently need an internet connection to export to PDF/A format. Also, due to licensing limitations, PDF/A format export is only available to registered users of PDFpenPro.

PDF/A compliance levels

There are different levels and versions of the PDF/A format. PDFpenPro enables you to make documents PDF/A-1b compliant, which means it enforces only the standards necessary for the reliable reproduction of a document’s visual appearance. To learn more about PDF/A conformance levels and versions, check out the Wikipedia article on the topic.

Need to save your documents in PDF/A format? Purchase PDFpenPro and try our PDF/A conversion export feature!