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
- 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)
Select “Normal PDF/A-1b” from the Export dialog.
To increase accuracy, choose the language of the document in the “Language(s) in document” menu. Click Export.
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!