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Use of standard Print Product Metadata (PPM) with PDF

PPM is structured, machine-readable information embedded within a PDF file, describing the characteristics of a finished print product in relation to the PDF pages. This detailed metadata ensures that print product requirements are conveyed accurately across various stakeholders in the print ecosystem—from designers and buyers to prepress professionals and production teams.

The Print Product Metadata (PPM) ISO Standard (ISO 21812-1) leverages the capabilities of PDF features introduced in ISO PDF/VT and the native support in PDF 2.0.

Before PPM, the print industry relied on a mix of ad-hoc methods, including emails, customer service representatives, and online portals, to communicate finished product requirements. These methods often led to miscommunication and inefficiencies. PPM standardizes this process, embedding all necessary information within the PDF file itself. This standardization reduces the potential for errors, streamlines communication, and ultimately lowers costs.

This freely-downloadable guide to understanding ISO 21812-1 was developed under the auspices of the PDF Association’s Print Product Metadata Liaison Working Group (LWG).

Key contributors

  • Tim Donahue, Kyocera Document Solutions
  • Chris Heric, CIP4
  • Dov Isaacs, Independent
  • Paul Jones, SOFHA GmbH
  • Nathan Koganas, XMpie
  • Pat McGrew, McGrewGroup Inc.
  • Dr. Rainer Prosi, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG
  • Dietrich von Seggern, callas software, GmbH


Download the Application Note.

This Application Note provides an overview and technical introduction to the Print Product Metadata (PPM) ISO Standard (ISO 21812-1).

Comments are welcome! Please email info@pdfa.org with your suggestion.

Community: Print Product Metadata LWG

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