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ISO Liaison Update for July, 2020

Dietrich von Seggern // July 10, 2020

PDF 2.0 PDF/A PDF/VT PDF/X Extensions to PDF 2.0 PDF Association news

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This article provides information about virtual ISO meetings during which PDF proper, PDF/A, PDF/X and PDF/VT were discussed. ISO committees are TC 171 and TC 130, the meetings took place between June 15 and 18, 2020. A public status page for all ISO committees working on PDF specifications is maintained by the PDF Association.

Member Area logoMEMBERS: please note that the PDF Association has completely revamped its ISO documents portal to make it more convenient for you to identify standardization documents related to a topics that interest you. All ISO committee process and draft documents such as draft standards, comments and resolutions and meeting-minutes are accessed via the new members area on which replaces the separate intranet portal.

The virtual meetings in June were scheduled to (mostly) wrap up the work of the past years and to make advances on the next series of standards. This post summarizes the results. As above, PDF Association members and members of the US TAG for ISO TC 171 SC 2 will find links to minutes and other related documents in the PDF Association's ISO documents portal.

PDF 2.0 - ISO 32000-2

Over the last three years PDF itself (ISO 32000-2) has received an update to address all issues identified since PDF 2.0 was published; in June the document was advanced to Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) status. Members can review the last round of technical comments discussed and dispositioned in December, 2019; the comments handled in June will be posted shortly.

The work to incorporate all changes into the draft standard and perform necessary quality-control is straightforward, but substantial due to the size and complexity of the document. The ISO publication procedures (independent of the technical work in the committees) require several months, however at this point we believe that the dated revision will occur in 2020.

Here are the full meeting minutes from the June 2020 meeting.


All three standards received a few editorial comments and are now going into a 2 week committee internal review before they are sent to ISO for publication later in 2020. Members may access the current drafts for PDF/A-4, PDF/X-6, and PDF/VT-3.

Here are the full meeting minutes for PDF/A, PDF/X, and PDF/VT.

Future extensions to PDF 2.0

ISO TC 171 SC 2 WG8 discussed the formalized procedure required for future extensions to our standard. This document will now be published as a white-paper on the committee home page.

Stages in the creation of an ISO Standard

When an international standard is created it generally goes through the following stages:

  • NWI: New Work Item
  • WD: Working Draft
  • CD: Committee Draft
  • DIS: Draft International Standard
  • FDIS: Final Draft International Standard

The document is progressively refined in each stage. At least one ballot is required in order to move from one stage to the next. For most, but not for all stages, several rounds with ballots may take place, for example, to address certain strategic questions. Additional rules apply that are particular to their respective stages, e.g. some stages have a maximum duration.

This video from ISO provides an overview about the various types of publications ISO produces and the development process for each. Further information from ISO can be found here.


Dietrich von Seggern
Dietrich von Seggern

Dietrich von Seggern received his degree as a printing engineer, and in 1991 started his professional career as head of desktop prepress production in a reproduction house. He became involved in research projects for digital transmission of print files, and moved to the German Newspaper Marketing Organisation (ZMG). There Dietrich was responsible for a project to enable the digital transmission of …


Dietrich von Seggern

Dietrich von Seggern

Dietrich von Seggern received his degree as a printing engineer, and in 1991 started his professional career as head of desktop …