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ISO 32000-2

Portable document format – Part 2: PDF 2.0

This document specifies a digital form for representing electronic documents to enable users to exchange and view electronic documents independent of the environment in which they were created or the environment in which they are viewed or printed. It is intended for developers of software that creates PDF files (PDF writers), software that reads existing PDF files and (usually) interprets their contents for display (PDF readers), software that reads and displays PDF content and interacts with the computer users to possibly modify and save the PDF file (interactive PDF processors) and PDF products that read and/or write PDF files for a variety of other purposes (PDF processors). (PDF writers and PDF readers are more specialised classifications of interactive PDF processors and all are PDF processors).

PDF 2.0 was originally published in July 2017. ISO 32000-2:2020 is the so-called “dated revision”, including numerous improvements, corrections and clarifications identified during early implementation and adoption of PDF 2.0.

The initial edition of PDF 2.0 was the culmination of nine years of work by a dedicated group of approximately 30 subject-matter experts from around the world. The 2020 edition replaces the 2017 edition. Although PDF 2.0 is an open standard, one major difference compared with prior versions of PDF is that ISO holds the copyright to the PDF specification. Prior to April 5, 2023, therefore, PDF 2.0 was not freely downloadable.

In addition to defining new features and capabilities in PDF, PDF 2.0 includes many critical corrections and clarifications in clauses common to both PDF 2.0 and PDF 1.7. Where the older specification can be ambiguous or difficult to understand, the improved clauses in PDF 2.0 can assist all PDF developers in supporting earlier versions of PDF.

Additional information about ISO 32000 can be found in the PDF Association’s Technical Resources.

Participating in PDF’s standardization

Participating in PDF standardization activities is open to all PDF Association members, via its Category A Liaison with ISO TC 171 SC 2. Subject matter experts and stakeholders may also join their national standards body to represent their country in ISO TC 171 SC 2‘s working groups.


The copy of ISO 32000-2:2020 made available by the PDF Association includes errata. PDF Association hosts a public GitHub repository to provide all developers a means of openly reporting errata against many published ISO standards for PDF for review and resolution by industry. All errata in PDF specifications are important, from minor typos and formatting issues, to larger ambiguous, unclear or apparently contradictory statements. By reaching a consensus on resolutions together, PDF interoperability and implementation reliability will be improved. You can review the full list of all industry ratified corrections to PDF 2.0 specifications.

Normative references

The PDF Association maintains an archive of documents, many originally published by Adobe Systems, used as normative references (and thus necessary to complete implementation) in ISO 32000-2. Many of these documents are freely downloadable.

Sample PDF 2.0 files

A small selection of sample PDF 2.0 documents is available from GitHub, with each document demonstrating a specific PDF 2.0 feature.

Covers of sponsored ISO standards with Adobe, Apryse and Foxit logos.ISO 32000-2 now available at no cost

Thanks to sponsorship support provided by Adobe, Apryse and Foxit, PDF’s latest and most up-to-date core specification, PDF 2.0, is available from the PDF Association at at no cost, including industry-formalized errata.

Read the press-release and download the bundle of ISO 32000-2 + ISO TS 32001 +  ISO TS 32002 + ISO TS 32003 + ISO TS 32004, all at no cost!

Application Notes

The PDF Association’s PDF TWG authorized publication of the following Application Notes for PDF 2.0.

PDF 2.0 Application Note Publication Date
PDF 2.0 Application Note 001: Black Point Compensation September 17, 2018
PDF 2.0 Application Note 002: Associated Files October 26, 2018
PDF 2.0 Application Note 003: Use of object metadata streams March 16, 2021


Technical questions about ISO 16684 are most effectively addressed in the PDF Association’s official pdf-issues GitHub repo.


Download ISO 32000-2:2020 (no charge)

ISO 32000 is the family of ISO standards that defines the core PDF specification for both PDF 1.7 and PDF 2.0.

Subscribe here for the PDF Association’s periodic updates regarding new, updated, or corrected industry and ISO specifications for PDF technology.

PDF 2.0 iconPDF icon

Community: PDF TWG

ISO Group Responsible: ISO TC171 SC2 WG8

ISO Status: status of all PDF-related ISO work

Errata: PDF 2.0 (ISO 32000-2) Other core PDF specifications and related errata, starting with PDF 1.0.

PDF 2.0

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