Technology is always ever-changing and evolving. What may seem cutting edge today could be obsolete and phased out tomorrow. With change being the only consistent thing, preserving some of your essential documents will save you from headaches in the future—enter PDF/A.
PDF/A is an ISO-standardized version of the portable document format (PDF) that is mostly used in the long-term archiving and preservation of electronic documents. Similar to PDF, it ensures that any document can be viewed and reproduced the same way, regardless of the software used. But, what separates PDF/A from PDF is that it doesn’t allow the use of features unsuitable for long-term archiving such as font linking and encryption. In summary, a PDF/A format displays all the information and elements in the same way it is embedded in the document, keeping it safe, secure, and accessible for the long term.
Why Should You Convert Your PDF to PDF/A?
There has been a growing dependence on PDF across various modern business operations. As we continue to rely on paperless transactions, it has become more necessary to protect our data and ensure that no information gets lost in translation.
Sure, PDF files can keep your documents secure and compact, but there are far more benefits in converting your PDF document to PDF/A. GogoPDF is a tool that lets you convert PDF to PDFA for free and below are some of the reasons you should use one.
• Convert a document into a file that maintains the original format
PDF/A can be used to store different types of documents, but it is most useful for storing digital documents for the long term. When you convert a file into a PDF/A, the result is a copy that maintains the format of the original document, down from the font to the color and layout. However, the pages of the original document will be consolidated into a single page in the PDF/A file.
• Convert different types of documents into PDF/A
Similar to PDF, you can convert various types of documents to PDF/A. These include regular PDFs, email, spreadsheets, Microsoft Word documents, digital images, etc. Any printable file can be converted to PDF/A and it’s a format recommended for static files or those that do not change in time. You can also convert paper documents to PDF/A during scanning. Keep in mind, however, that the converted text may be prone to errors.
• Convert files to PDF/A for long-term storage
While other formats offer similar benefits, it’s the accumulation of these that makes PDF/A a food format, and most of these advantages are geared towards long-term or permanent storage. For example, PDF/A is not platform-dependent like PDF, meaning you can access it in a Windows environment as much as you can when using a Mac. It is also extensible, ensuring that the file will remain readable regardless of any software changes in the future.
• Convert documents into an open format that supports different features
PDF/A has been a standard in terms of preservation since its initial release in 2005. Today, it’s being used by hundreds of millions of people every day and it’s unlikely to be phased out anytime soon. Because it’s a subset of PDF, any software that can read a PDF can read a PDF/A, too. It’s an open file format that supports various features including metadata, which is essential in providing context to the file.
Overall, PDF/A is a great way to save your documents for the long term without worrying about them being modified after conversion. It also means that it can maintain the authenticity of the document and the information it contains for additional security.
3 Types of PDF/A
Because PDF/A is extensible, there are already a few different versions of PDF/A, and most conversion tools available today allow you to save your document to these formats. Each differs in terms of conformance levels, specifying the degree to which each meets the goals of PDF/A.
This is the original PDF/A standard and is by far the most restrictive. This designation guarantees that a PDF is readable on a computer monitor. However, it doesn’t guarantee the legibility of the text. Plus, it also doesn’t support JPEG 2000, layers, or attachments.
This standard introduces several features unavailable in PDF/A-1b. These include layers, JPEG 2000, and attachments. But, keep in mind that those attachments have to be in PDF/A format. It is recommended for archiving your documents to ensure that they will render the same as when they are saved.
This format is almost identical to PDF/A-2b, the only difference is that it allows any type of file as an attachment. The “u” in its name stands for Unicode, indicating that the document text can be searched and copied like in any PDF file.
Convert Your PDF to PDF/A With GogoPDF
Now that you know the essential details, how do you use a PDF to PDF/A converter? GogoPDF is an easy-to-use tool that supports PDF to PDF/A conversion. All you have to do is to select the file you wish to turn into a PDF/A document and open it on its website. It quickly converts the file after which you can download and save your new PDF/A file on your computer. You can also copy the link and share it online.
What do you think of converting your files to PDF/A? Let us know by leaving a comment below!