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Files inside PDF

May 2024 by Peter Wyatt (PDF Association)

This article aims to explain the different ways by which PDF stores “files”.

What is meant by a “file” with PDF depends on your viewpoint, and may include notions and expectations derived from how HTML and other formats may do things, some of which differ from the metaphors used by PDF software.

Diverse interfaces foster various end-user understandings of what “files” exist inside any given PDF. This is especially true when we consider the many similar terms in use. Understandings differ or are ambiguous depending on the users’ background, and the terms themselves may have different technical meanings.

Accordingly, end users are sometimes perplexed as to why they cannot simply “download” the JPEG file of a photo in a PDF, or extract a font from PDF viewing software, yet they might be able to extract the embedded spreadsheet they’d attached.

If your role relates to digital preservation or file forensics then accurately understanding the kinds of data that can be in a PDF and how it is stored can be very important.

How to read ISO publications about PDF

April 2024 by Peter Wyatt (PDF Association)
Article


All ISO publications are written according to a set of rules known as the ISO Directives. In this article, the PDF Association’s CTO, Peter Wyatt explains how to understand the … Read more

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April 2024 by axes4 GmbH
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Accessibility is vital for ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully participate in society. This article delves into … Read more

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March 2024 by Peter Wyatt (PDF Association)
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How meaningful is PDF’s version number? SafeDocs’ research reveals that 20% of extant files contain features that exceed the stated … Read more

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March 2024 by Peter Wyatt (PDF Association)
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Peter Wyatt shares his custom metadata panels – very useful for discovering ISO standards and PDF Declarations metadata! (until vendors … Read more

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February 2024 by Duff Johnson (PDF Association)
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It’s time for AI integrators to help authors make semantically rich documents… and step up their game on PDF inputs.

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January 2024 by PDF Association staff (PDF Association)
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A major focus of the PDF Association’s work is to increase awareness and adoption of standards and best practices for … Read more

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January 2024 by PDF Association staff (PDF Association)
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The PDF, ICC, NITF and video datasets used in SafeDocs’ performer hackathons and evaluations are now available for download from … Read more

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December 2023 by PDF Association staff (PDF Association)
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In 2023, the volunteers and staff of the PDF Association were busier than ever, with new working groups, resources, and … Read more

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December 2023 by Duff Johnson (PDF Association)
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It’s difficult to find other search terms that share PDF’s continuous upwards trend. Few technologies show this resilience, especially over … Read more

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December 2023 by PDF Association staff (PDF Association)
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Join this webinar to learn why PDF/X-1a was a good idea 20 years ago, but no longer today and find … Read more

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December 2023 by PDF Association staff (PDF Association)
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The Imaging Model Technical Working Group (TWG) will now focus on the research, specification, and prototyping at the very core … Read more

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