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PDF/A-3 vs. PDF

At PDF Day in Washington DC and New York City, CIOs will get the information they need about PDF/A-3, the powerful subset of PDF with the potential to shorten payment cycles, reduce administrative costs and enable new means of collaboration.
About the author: The PDF Association staff delivers a vendor-neutral platform for PDF’s stakeholders, facilitating the development of open specifications and ISO standards for PDF technology to drive the world’s digital document format … Read more
PDF Association staff

PDF Association staff
October 24, 2014


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PDF/A-3 iconEveryone uses PDF more or less every day. Few businesses leverage the real power of open, ISO-standardized PDF technology to open up new workflows, improve communications, protect sensitive information, reduce litigation risks, and more.

December’s PDF Day events in New York City and Washington DC are intended give CIOs the information they need about PDF features like PDF/A-3, and their potential to shorten payment cycles, reduce administrative costs and create new venues for communication and collaboration.

PDF/A-3 is a potent example of how just a single feature of PDF technology provides a capability so powerful that it’s spawning a revolution in business process management (BPM).

The newest members of the PDF/A family lets you embed an original source file, machine-readable version, or other associated content in an archivable PDF/A PDF document.

PDF/A-3 offers reduced risk, paperless document handling, shorter payment cycles, and much more. Best of all it’s all based on an open ISO specification which any vendor who understands PDF technology can meet.

What is PDF/A-3?

A PDF/A-3 file is first and foremost little more than any other PDF/A file – a totally reliable, archive-quality electronic document. When quality PDF software creates a PDF/A-3 conforming file, you may rest assured of its reliability across town or across a century. Even so, that was also true of earlier parts of PDF/A. What’s the difference?

It’s simple: PDF/A-3 makes it possible to use the PDF as a delivery vehicle for one or more other files, of any type. Effectively, the PDF becomes a zip archive that may also include an integrated cover-document.

Ok, a PDF becomes a container for other files – why do I care?

PDF/A-3 enables dramatic cost-reductions in invoice processing and accounting by providing both a human-readable (PDF) and machine-readable (XML) versions of the same information in a single file. Applied systematically – as with Germany’s emerging ZUGFeRD standard for automated invoicing, PDF/A-3 will help revolutionize invoice processing, reducing payment times.

PDFA-3 facilitates collation of content in various formats for communications and reference purposes. For example, some organizations use PDF/A-3 to render and preserve legacy content such as the contents of email as digital PDF ‘printouts’, while retaining the original email message files as attachments.

PDF/A-3 was designed by the ISO committee to enable advanced digital signature technology to provide tamper-proofing, establish authorship, apply certifications, and more.

Learn more about PDF/A-3 at PDF Day

Join a score of PDF technology experts as they discuss PDF/A and other aspects of PDF technology at the PDF Association’s “PDF Day” educational events in Washington DC on December 10 2014 and New York City on December 11, 2014.

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