A document icon with a PDF label following a curly cue path to a document icon with a PDF/A checkmark approved document

Optimize PDF Documents for Long-Term Preservation

Use Convert to PDF/A to ensure PDFs are compliant with the PDF/A archiving format for long-term storage and guarantee PDF viewer compatibility.
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The PDF file format was designed to support a wide array of use cases, ensuring a consistent and reliable experience for users when viewing documents online, printing to paper, or protecting and preserving information. The ISO 32000 specification is robust, but some supported features can actually get in the way and cause problems when the file is not optimized for its intended use case.

If your goal is to preserve documents over a long period of time - years, or even decades - the plain PDF format is not the best fit. It allows for resources, such as fonts, to be sourced externally - these dependencies can be lost over time, breaking the appearance of the documents. Other embdedded content, such as JavaScript, can fall out of alignment with external technologies over time. Fortunately, the PDF/A format was created to address these and other concerns and establish a universally agreed-upon set of supported features in PDFs that can stand the test of time.

PDF/A (ISO 19005) was specifically designed for the long term preservation of files. The "A" stands for "Archival." This file format prohibits the use of all PDF practices that are not compatible with long-term archiving, such as font-linking, embedded JavaScript, and device-dependent colorspaces. On the flip side, PDF Viewers are required to meet specific ISO standards to ensure and maintain backwards compatibility with PDF/A files.

There are several versions of PDF/A that offer different sets of supported features, but PDF viewers are designed to support each of these PDF/A versions.

pdfRest supports a workflow for converting PDF files to any of the most commonly used PDF/A versions. With this simple, automated workflow you can guarantee that your PDF files will be optimally preserved in the best possible state for decades to come as PDF/A files.

Code Example: Convert to PDF/A-3b   |   Load this into API Lab↗

    curl -X POST "https://api.pdfrest.com/pdfa" \ 
        -H "Accept: application/json" \ 
        -H "Content-Type: multipart/form-data" \
        -H "Api-Key: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx" \
        -F "file=@PATH_TO_FILE/Getting_Started.pdf" \ 
        -F "output_type=PDF/A-3b" \ 
        -F "rasterize_if_errors_encountered=on" \

Convert to PDF/A

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