Microsoft Work, Powerpoint, and XLS icons corkscrew towards a PDF/A labelled document icon.

Optimize Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Files for Long-Term Preservation

Transform Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Other Document Types with pdfRest Convert to PDF and PDF/A API Tools for Archival and Preservation
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Microsoft Office files are designed to capture and record information in a variety of file formats optimized for near-term use and continuous editing. What happens when the information contained in these files must be preserved over longer periods? Can Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files serve as reliable records for years, or even decades?

These file formats were not designed for long-term preservation of information. Content is too easily modifiable, making for unreliable records of the past. Resources may be sourced externally, including images, fonts, and other content not embedded in the file itself - these dependencies can be lost over time, breaking the appearance of the documents. Even the tools used to open these documents are prone to change over time, and backwards compatibility is not guaranteed over periods of decades. After all, these are proprietary file formats that are subject to change as Microsoft evolves its ecosystem of digital document technology.

PDF, on the other hand, is an open standard with commonly agreed upon ISO (International Organization for Standardization) specifications. While the PDF format will continue to evolve, the PDF/A format was 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 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to PDF and chaining together a second process to convert those PDFs to any of the most commonly used PDF/A versions. With this simple, automated, 2-step workflow, you can guarantee that your Microsoft Office files will be optimally preserved in the best possible state for decades to come as PDF/A files.

Convert Word to PDF Code Example   |   Load this into API Lab↗

    curl -X POST "" \ 
        -H "Accept: application/json" \ 
        -H "Content-Type: multipart/form-data" \
        -H "Api-Key: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx" \
        -F "file=@PATH_TO_FILE/pdfRest.docx" \
        -F "output=pdfRest_pdf" \ 
        -F "compression=lossless" \ 
        -F "downsample=150" \ 
        -F "tagged_pdf=on" \

Convert to PDF/A Code Example   |   Load this into API Lab↗

    curl -X POST "" \ 
        -H "Accept: application/json" \ 
        -H "Content-Type: multipart/form-data" \
        -H "Api-Key: xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx" \
        -F "file=@PATH_TO_FILE/pdfRest_pdf.pdf" \ 
        -F "output=pdfRest_pdfa" \ 
        -F "output_type=PDF/A-2b" \ 
        -F "rasterize_if_errors_encountered=on" \

Convert to PDF

Convert to PDF/A

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