[Desktop_printing] PDF/X + PDF/A (was: "Common statements from the summit - list review")

Kurt Pfeifle k1pfeifle at gmx.net
Fri Apr 14 12:39:25 PDT 2006

On Thursday 13 April 2006 04:40, Bastian, Waldo wrote:
> >John Cherry wrote:
> ><snipped>
> >> Print Job Data Format
> >> ---------------------
> >> We want to move to PDF (ISO xxx) as the core format for print job
> >> handling (while maintaining backwards compatibility with PostScript).

Not sure if we want to specify a detail like a certain ISO standard at
this point....

> >I am not aware of the full pdf spec itself being an iso standard, but a
> >subset called PDF/X is ISO 15930 .
> Is there also a subset called PDF/A ? That's the one that is intended.

Uhmmm... not sure if it should be the "A" extension at all.

PDF/A specs are defined in ISO 19005-1:2005. The "A" stands for 
"archiving" and the standard is meant to create a format for long-term 
archival of documentation. It is likely to go internationally into 
widespread use in enterprise, legal and government document exchange 
over the coming years. So supporting it is desirable of course. PDF/A 
was defined *after* PDF/X and is still relatively new.

PDF/X3:2002 specs are defined in ISO 15930-3:2002. PDF/X3 is meant to 
specify all settings which make it likely that it is printed correctly 
under most conditions, and by whomever the file is sent to. 

PDF/X3 surely is *the* standard the printing industry is going for 
right now. If we do not want to rule out Linux desktops from adoption 
in the enterprise environments, we should not rule out PDF/X3.

Short newbie summary of the main characteristics:
PDF/X3 prohibits a lot of things in newer versions of PDF that are not 
appropriate for graphic arts and that can cause problems when printing 
the files (no embedded movies and sounds, no encryption to name a few 
striking examples).

PDF/A requires *all* resources used in a document to be truly and fully
embedded (f.e. no usage of an external font server) so that there is a
good chance of a document's long term viability.

Both are derived from PDF-1.3 (AFAIK no PDF-1.4 elements are allowed).

Reading material (*not* official references):
 PDF/A:  http://www.pdf-tools.com/public/downloads/whitepapers/whitepaper-pdfa.pdf
 PDF/X3: http://www.pdfxreport.com/downloads/pdfx-faq.pdf

> Cheers,
> Waldo


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