15 Jun in  Working with PDF, Business trends

PDF/A Converter: Why You Should Use it and How


PDF/A converter

What is a PDF/A converter?

The PDF/A conversion feature is an archiving tool that allows you to preserve your electronic documents. A good PDF converter such as Soda PDF allows you to easily convert your PDFs to PDF/A. This functionality is mostly used in libraries, banks, law firms, and insurance firms, as these types of institutions require long-term document preservation.


Difference between PDF and PDF/A

The main difference between PDF and PDF/A is that the latter has specific requirements that the regular PDF format does not. The reason why PDF/A enforces these requirements is to make sure that whatever software is used in the distant future will be able to support the file and display all its contents properly.


Types of PDF/A conversion

The two main levels of conformance you can choose from are:

  • PDF/A-1a (accessible): This conformance level has strict requirements; your document must contain tagging, document structure (hierarchy), language specification, and Unicode mappings. This level is accessible for visually impaired users.


  • PDF/A-1b (basic): This conformance level has minimum requirements. It does not require tagging, hierarchy, etc. It can be created from a scanned document instead of an existing digital file.


You can find more information about all available PDF/A conformance levels here.


PDF/A restrictions

Unfortunately, you will not be able to include any audio/video content when you are using a PDF/A converter, nor will you be able to include encryption and JavaScript. The reason why is simple – that type of content is too heavy for long-term digital file preservation, and, as mentioned earlier, future software might not be able to support it.

When archiving a PDF file, you want to ensure the file is lightweight and follows all the PDF/A conformance rules, otherwise it may not be accessible to future users due to the compliance being broken.

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