Posts in Category "PDF/A: PDF for Archiving"

Creating a "Near to PDF/A" PDF Setting

Since the Federal Courts have announced their intent to require PDF/A for court submissions, I’ve received a number of inquiries along these lines:

Would it be a good idea to always create PDF/A documents?

I do not advise law firms to use PDF/A all of the time. PDF/A view mode in Acrobat will not allow you to do many of the day to day edits you need. For example, if you want insert pages in a PDF/A document, PDF/A View mode will prevent the change.

Instead, I advise creating PDF documents using a PDF Setting which is easy to conform later to PDF/A.

Creating an “Near PDF/A” Setting

Using the steps below, you will modify the existing PDF/A setting provided by Acrobat to create a new one.

  1. In Acrobat, choose Edit> Preferences.
  2. Click on the Convert To PDF category item in the list at left
  3. Select Microsoft Word from the middle list
  4. Click the Edit Settings button
    Edit Settings veiw
  5. In the Adobe PDF Settings window, make sure that PDF/A-1b:2005 is selected, then click the Edit button:

  6. Choose the Standards section in the Edit Settings window:
  7. At the top right, under Standard Reporting and Compliance, set the Compliance Standard to None.
  8. Click the Save As . . . button:
    Saving a new setting
  9. Name the file. I named mine Near PDFa.joboptions

    The PDF Setting file will be saved in the users default Acrobat PDF Settings folder:

  10. Click Save, then OK twice.
Download the Near PDFa Setting File
I’ve already created the Near PDFa setting. You can download the setting and save it in the location below instead of making your own.

Near PDFa Job Setting

Where do copy the settings file to?
WinXP C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Adobe\Adobe PDF\Settings
Win7 C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe PDF\Settings


Multiple Ways to Create PDF

Acrobat offers a multitude of methods for creating PDFs from Office documents:

  • Via the AdobePDF Print driver
  • Via the PDFmaker buttons installed into popular office applications
  • By combining native documents using the Combine function in Acrobat

Each approach will require some set-up to ensure that all documents created have fonts embedded.

Setting the Near PDF/A Setting for the Adobe PDF Print Driver

Follow these steps to set the Adobe PDF Print Driver to always use the "Near PDFa" setting:

  1. From any application, choose File> Print
    A) Select the Adobe PDF from the Name list.
    B) Click the Properties button
    Changing Adboe PDF print driver setting
    Your Print Window might look Different . . .
    : The print window may look quite a bit different depending on the application you use and whether you are on XP or Windows 7. Look for a button or link labeled Properties, Print Options, Print Properties or Printer Properties

  2. A) Choose the Near PDFa setting from the Default Settings list
    B) Click OK.

Setting Embed All for the PDFmaker Buttons installed in Office Applications

Acrobat Standard installs 1-button PDF conversion buttons into popular Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Acrobat Pro additionally offers support for Visio, Project, Access, Publisher and Internet Explorer.

Follow these steps to set an Office PDFmaker button to always use the Near PDFa setting. The example below is from Microsoft Word.

  1. Launch the application of your choice, but do not open a document.
  2. For Office 2007 and 2010 apps such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint, choose the Acrobat ribbon then click Preferences

    For Office 2003 apps such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint, Choose AdobePDF> Change Conversion Settings
  3. Choose Near PDFa from the Conversion Settings list
  4. Click OK

Setting Embed All for Combine or Create from Desktop in Acrobat

Acrobat allows users to convert several different kinds of native files using the Combine function or via the desktop.

When conversion takes place using these direct methods, you need to specify the desired conversion setting in Acrobat Preferences for each application supported.

  1. In Acrobat, choose Edit> Preferences
    A) Click on the Convert to PDF category from the list at left
    B) Choose an application such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint from the list
    C) Click the Edit Settings button
    Acrobat conversion Prefs
  2. In the Edit Settings window, change the Conversion Setting to “Near PDFa”
  3. Click OK
  4. Repeat for all applications

Related Font Embedding Issues

The main reason to use this setting is that it embeds all fonts and sets the color space correctly for PDF/A conformance later on.

Occasionally, you may run into issues where certain fonts cannot be embedded.

Corrupt Fonts
Fonts can be complex beasts and occasionally become corrupted. Try replacing the fonts on your system with known, good versions of fonts.

Non-Embeddable Fonts
Some fonts contain a “Do Not Embed” flag placed in the font by the font manufacturer as a license restriction.

OpenType fonts from Adobe do not have embedding restrictions, but some other manufacturers may not allow their fonts to be embedded. The only workaround is to replace the typeface with one without any restrictions.

On Windows 7, you can see if a TrueType font may be embedded by following these steps:

  1. Click the Start button and open the Control Panel
  2. Double-click the Fonts category
  3. Right-click on a font and choose Properties
  4. Click the Details tab. If Editable is listed, then the font may be embedded:

Continue reading…

How to Remove PDF/A Information from a file

NOTE: This older article only pertains to Acrobat X (10).

In Acrobat XI, it is simple to remove PDF/A information by simply clicking:


#### Original Article Below ####

As I mentioned in earlier articles, a PDF/A document is considered an archive that should not be changed.

Normally, Acrobat’s PDF/A View mode appears when you open a PDF/A document and making edits to the document is not possible:

PDF/A View mode screen shot

Sometimes, however, you may need to revise a document before filing. For example, you might create a PDF/A document from Microsoft Word then insert some scanned pages.

In this case, it makes sense to remove the PDF/A information, make your edits, then conform the file using Save As.

In this article you’ll learn how to:

  • Remove PDF/A using Preflight
  • Use my free Remove PDFa Information Action

Removing PDF/A Information

The best way to remove PDF/A information is to use Preflight in Acrobat Pro. Here’s how:

  1. Open a PDF document
  2. In Acrobat 9 Pro:
    Choose Advanced> Print Production> PreflightIn Acrobat X Pro:
    A) Click the Options button to show the Print Production panel if it is not already open
    B) Open the Print Production panel and click PreflightFinding Preflight in Acrobat's Print Production panel
  3. The Preflight window appears.
    A) Twirl open the PDF/A compliance section
    B) Select Remove PDF/A Information from the list
    C) Click Analyze and Fix
    Seting the options in the Preflight panel to remove PDF/A information

Using an an Acrobat X Action to Remove PDF/A Information

Acrobat X Actions can automate many tasks such as removing PDF/A information from a document.

Just about all of the Preflight functions are available via Actions including the profiles associates with PDF/A.

I’ve created the “Remove PDFa Informaiton” Action for you. Dowload it below . . .

Remove PDFa Information Action (106K PDF)

The PDF contains the Action itself along with installation instructions.

Running the Remove PDFa Information Action

Once you install the Action, it will appear at the top of your Action Wizard panel. Just click on the action name to run it.
Actions Wizard panel showing the newly imported Action

If you have a document open, the Action will prompt you for a file location and to name the file.

If you do not have a file open, the Action will allow you to select files or a folder of files and run the Action on all of the files.

Continue reading…

Using Save As to to Conform to PDF/A

PDF/A BadgeIn my earlier articles on PDF/A, I skipped over one of the easier ways to conform an existing PDF document to PDF/A.

Using Save As is perhaps the easiest way to apply the transformations necessary to existing PDFs such as embedding fonts, setting color spaces and the other twenty or so checks that Acrobat can undertake to conform to the PDF/A specification.

In this article, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use Save As in Acrobat X Pro to conform a non-PDF/A file to PDF/A-1b
  • Use Save As in Acrobat 9 Pro to conform a non-PDF/A file to PDF/A-1b

As you might guess, the processes are very similar, but it’s a little easier in Acrobat X. My experience has been that Acrobat X is a bit faster and more reliable for conforming operations.

What’s the difference between creating a PDF/A file and conforming to PDF/A?
Creating a PDF/A File = Converting directly from an electronic source like Word or Excel to PDF/A Conforming to PDF/A = Converting an existing PDF document so it meets all the requirements of PDF/A


What "Flavor" of PDF/A should I use for Court Filings?
In my exchanges with US Federal Court officials, they indicated that either PDF/A-1A or PDF/A-1B would be acceptable for eFiling. However, itcan be very challenging to conform files to the much stricter PDF/A-1A specification, so you should conform to PDF/A-1B if you have existing PDFs to submit.

That said, if you are creating PDF from Word or Excel, it is simple matter to create PDF/A-1A files. These "tagged" files are accessible to the visually impaired, so it is a good practice to create PDF/A-1A files if possible. It’s a cinch to do using the PDF Makers installed by Acrobat into Office applications.


Using Save As to Conform a PDF to PDF/A-1b in Acrobat X

Follow these steps in Acrobat X . . .

  1. Open a PDF file that you wish to conform to PDF/A
  2. Choose File> Save As> More Options> PDF/A

    Note: You can also choose File>Save As>PDF, then choose PDF/A from the Save As Type menu

  3. The Save As Window appears.
    – Click the Settings button
  4. The Preflight window appears.
    (A) Choose PDF/A-1b for Federal Court Filings
    (B) Check to create according to a PDF/A-1b profile
    (C) Check "Apply Corrections"
    (D) Click the OK button
  5. Click OK again to save and conform the file

Using Save As to Conform a PDF to PDF/A-1b in Acrobat 9 Pro

Follow these steps in Acrobat X . . .

  1. Open a PDF file that you wish to conform to PDF/A
  2. Choose File> Save As> More Options> PDF/A
  3. The Save As Window appears.
    – Click the Settings button
  4. The Preflight window appears.
    (A) Choose PDF/A-1b for Federal Court Filings
    (B) Check to create according to a PDF/A-1b profile
    (C) Check "Apply Corrections"
    (D) Click the OK button
  5. Click OK again to save and conform the file


Using Save As to Conform a PDF to PDF/A in Acrobat 9 Pro

Follow these steps in Acrobat X . . .

  1. Open a PDF file that you wish to conform to PDF/A
  2. Choose File> Save As
  3. The Save As Window appears.
    – Choose PDF/A from the Save As type list at the bottom of the window.
  4. Click the Settings button in the Save As window
  5. The Preflight window appears.
    (A) Choose PDF/A-1b for Federal Court Filings
    (B) Check to create according to a PDF/A-1b profile
    (C) Check "Apply Corrections"
    Click the OK button
  6. Click OK again to save and conform the file

What if the file cannot be conformed to PDF/A?

Save As may not be able to conform a file to PDF/A in which case you will see a message similar to this:

There are several issues which could prevent conforming a file to PDF/A-1B:

  1. The document requires fonts that you do not have on your system
  2. The document uses fonts which have a "Do Not Embed" flag
  3. The document has transparent objects
  4. The document is damaged
  5. The document is a XFA Form created with Adobe LiveCycle Designer

I wil be covering fix-ups and workarounds for difficult to conform files in future blog posts..

Continue reading…

Watch the recording of my PDF/A eSeminar

Missed my “Acrobat X and PDF/A Standards” eSeminar last week?

No worries!

You can watch the recording by clicking the link below.

RECORDING (Opens in new window)


I found an error in the slide deck used in the recorded version, so I’ve included the updated set of slides below.

Download the PDF/A Slides (1MB. Opens in a new window)

Continue reading…

Ready for CM/ECF Changes: Conforming Existing PDF files to PDF/A

The Federal Courts recently posted notice of the CM/ECF Transition to PDF/A on the PACER website.PDF/A Badge Logo

The PACER announcement offers minimal information. Many questions are left unanswered.

As I mentioned in my recent post Federal Courts Moving to Require PDF/A, creating and conforming PDF/A files may require substantial changes in your workflow.

While traveling in Washington, DC last week, I met with some court employees. It looks like the court is going to require PDF/A-1b, the less restrictive flavor of PDF/A. That’s good news, but is still unofficial.

PACER already accepts PDF/A files. I recommend testing your document processes now before the court mandates the change.

While creating PDF/A files from an electronic source isn’t too hard, conforming existing files can be a challenge.

PDF/A requires all fonts to be embedded in the document. If you have an existing PDF with an original electronic source, it is very possible, perhaps even likely that the fonts are not embedded.

Both Acrobat 9 Pro and Acrobat X Pro can embed fonts and conform existing files to PDF/A, assuming you have the source fonts on your computer.

I’ve found Acrobat X to do a more reliable job re-embedding fonts compared to Acrobat 9. In this article, I cover the method to conform an existing PDF for both Acrobat X Pro and Acrobat 9 Pro.

Continue reading…

Federal Courts Moving to Requiring PDF/A for Filings

PDF/A LogoAt the ILTA show recently, there was a steady stream of customers who had received some panicked emails from the attorneys they support. "What’s PDF/A?", they asked, " . . .  and why are Federal Courts requiring us to file in this format?"

I was forwarded an email from the Northern District of New York Bar which explains their concern:

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has advised us of a prospective change to the technical filing standard associated with our Case Management / Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system. Since its inception, the system has required that electronic documents be filed in portable document format (PDF). Now, a move to the new more-controlled PDF/A standard is necessary to enhance CM/ECF security and to improve the archiving and preservation of case-related documents.

PDF/A— PDF for Archiving— is an ISO standard for the long term archiving of documents.

If you or your firm does any federal work, this new requirement for filing in PDF/A will significantly affect how you create and work with PDF documents.

In this article I will discuss the following:

  • Links to Background Information on PDF/A
  • Understanding PDF/A View Mode in Acrobat
  • Using Acrobat 9’s Standards Panel
  • Converting an Existing PDF to PDF/A
  • Authoring changes needed for filing in PDF/A
  • Steps you should take now in anticipation of the new requirement
  • Deploying PDF Settings for large law firms

I urge firms to act now to understand the impact the PDF/a will have on their workflows.

Continue reading…

Batch Conversion to PDF/A

In my two previous articles (see the archives ) on PDF for Archiving—PDF/A—I discussed the benefits of this archival format and how to create and validate PDF/A.

One challenge facing government agencies, law firms and their clients is the conversion of large numbers of legend files to PDF/A.

In this article, I’ll cover how to use the Batch Processing facility in Acrobat 8 Professional to transform common file formats found in the legal market to PDF/A-1b.

Read on to learn more…

Continue reading…

PDF/A in Action: Creating and Conforming

PDF/A—PDF for Archiving—is a special “flavor” of PDF designed for the long term preservation of documents. PDF/A is an ISO standard.

For an introduction to PDF/A, please read my article PDF/A: PDF for Archiving.

Since the PDF/a format offers law firms the confidence that the file they create today can be opened many years from now, the legal community is interested.

Some regulatory bodies are pushing strongly for PDF/A submissions, too.

From a practical standpoint, there are four  areas to consider:

  1. Creating PDF/A Files
  2. Validating files for PDF/A Conformance
  3. Bringing existing PDF files into conformance with PDF/A
  4. Create conformance reports

Read on to learn more about how to accomplish these operations in Adobe Acrobat Professional.

Continue reading…

PDF/A: PDF for Archving

It’s 2007. You just created an important document for a client— a complex regulatory filing for the client’s new power plant.

Fast forward to 2027—twenty years from today. Will the documents open?

In the legal industry, document conversion problems are legion. Many attorneys started with WordPerfect and may have migrated to Word. Opening all of those old documents can be troublesome.

Will everything convert? Will it look the same?

The PDF format, designed to capture the printed intent of a document, is a great solution. With over half a billion copies of Adobe Reader installed, PDF has been a de facto standard. Adobe publishes the specification for the PDF, and over 1000 third-party products create, consume or work with PDF in one way or another.

However, government and industry need more assurances—they require de jure standards. A de jure standard is endorsed by an independent standards body such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Fortunately, we have PDF/A, an ISO standard.

Read on to learn more about PDF/A. In my next article, I’ll discuss how you can use Acrobat to create and convert PDF/A compliant files.

Continue reading…