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PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
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Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

Slides and video recordings of PDF Days Europe 2018

You missed the PDF Days Europe 2018? Never mind! Here you can find the slides and video recordings of all 32 stunning sessions!

Using PDF/UA in accessibility checklists

PDF/UA, like PDF itself, is internally complex, but used correctly, actually makes things easier.

PDF Association Newsletter: Issue 32


  • 20 Years of PDF
  • New Assistant to the Board


2013: 20 Years of PDF

Duff Johnson
By Duff Johnson
Vice Chairman, PDF Association

Happy Holidays from the PDF Association!

The 20th anniversary of the release of the PDF file-format was a busy year for the PDF Association!

While PDF standards development itself took several steps forward, demand for information about ISO standards for PDF technology is also clearly on the rise. Governments are clearly increasingly interested in standards-based technologies; we’re also seeing increased interest in finance and other sectors as well.

To help meet the need the PDF Association in 2013 conducted a number of activities to enhance understanding of PDF technology among customers and implementers alike.

PDF/A and PDF/UA in a Nutshell

Building on the first book’s success with PDF/A-1, PDF/A in a Nutshell 2.0 now covers the whole PDF/A family including PDF/A-2 and PDF/A-3. The book provides numerous examples and perspective from eight years of experience implementing PDF/A-1.

A new publication, PDF/UA in a Nutshell provides an authoritative background, technical introduction and practical overview of the new ISO standard for accessible PDF technology.

Both Nutshell books are available in English and German.

Technical Conferences in Königswinter and Seattle

To celebrate 20 years of PDF technology, the PDF Association hosted two Technical Conferences in 2013; the first in Germany’s Rhineland and the second in Seattle, in the USA.

These popular events provided an excellent opportunity for PDF developers to learn about the latest developments in PDF standards development, discuss technical questions and concerns and exchange ideas with experts from all over the world.

While many PDF Association members either presented or attended the conferences, the presentations and videos were made available to PDF Association members who could not attend.

PDF 2.0 and the PDF Association’s new TWG

ISO’s TC 171 SC2 WG8, the Committee for ISO 32000, is hard at work on ISO 32000-2. Earlier this month the ISO Committee spent two days in New York City processing hundreds of comments and numerous ad hoc committee reports. Publication of PDF 2.0 is expected sometime in 2015.

In addition to progress on ISO 32000 itself, new ISO standards for PDF JavaScript, XFDF and more are also moving ahead.

Responding to these developments the PDF Association has started the PDF Technical Working Group, chaired by Levigo’s François Fernandès. This Group is actively discussing technical questions and approaches to ISO 32000, member’s comments about the PDF 2.0 Committee Draft, the increasingly popular subject of file-format validation, and more.

PDF/A-3 Gains Early Traction

As one of the first use cases, PDF/A-3 was implemented in Germany’s ZUGFeRD electronic invoicing standard. This data model for electronic invoice exchange between suppliers and customers uses PDF/A-3 as the transmission format to deliver an archive-ready image of an invoice together with corresponding machine-readable data.

As government and business increase the depth of their commitment to electronic records-management systems we expect to see many more such applications in which the power and flexibility of self-contained content is leveraged to deliver solutions for enterprise content applications.

The PDF Association continues to support education about PDF/A via seminars, webinars, publications and by other means.

Promoting PDF/UA: The Matterhorn Protocol and More

First published in 2012, this new PDF Standard is attracting interest because it provides definitive specifications for creating accessible electronic documents, including conformance with WCAG 2.0. Several PDF Association members already support PDF/UA; many others are working on it.

To promote adoption of PDF/UA, in 2013 the PDF Association’s PDF/UA Competence Center published the Matterhorn Protocol, a comprehensive algorithm to aide developers considering or implementing PDF/UA conformance options in their software.

The PDF Association has continued to support and promote diverse projects furthering uptake of PDF/UA including the NVDA goes PDF/UA project and Access for All’s PDF Accessibility Checker “PAC 2.0”. With new, and ambiguous, government regulations coming into effect over the next few years, many members are utilizing PDF Association publications and education to help their customers understand that PDF can be just as accessible as HTML.

New Brochures

The PDF Association now boasts a wide range of informational leaflets about PDF, PDF/A, PDF/UA, the PDF Association and more in both English and German. These are available (in reasonable quantity) to PDF Association members at no charge for distribution to customers, at trade-shows and in other venues.

Activities of the Board

The PDF Association’s leadership is frequently solicited for input by government agencies around the world on the development of new regulations and best practices for information management and document archiving. We’ve been working hard to promote understanding of PDF’s value, awareness of PDF’s features and implementation of PDF-based electronic document applications throughout industry and government worldwide.

In some cases we help ensure technical accuracy in documents we’re asked to review. In others we’ve supplied impartial advice to help agencies or their vendors understand various aspects of PDF and ISO standards for PDF. We’ve lead seminars and participated in webinars and other educational events hosted by PDF Association members. Get in touch with any of the Board members to learn more.

Looking Forward to 2014

We expect 2014 to be just as busy as 2013, and probably, busier! The PDF Association has welcomed a new Assistant to the Board, Matthias Wagner, who will be working to help members get the most from the PDF Association. We’re working on an events schedule now, with some exciting possibilities under discussion in both the United States and Europe. Stay tuned!


New Assistant to the Board

Matthias WagnerMatthias Wagner has assumed the position of assistant to the board of the PDF Association effective immediately. In this function he will primarily be responsible for providing support to the members of the internationally active organization. Matthias obtained his degree in computer science in 1985 and possess comprehensive IT knowledge and experience dealing with the use of PDF format. Following his studies he was employed as a software developer, moving in 1990 to marketing for the company Software Ltd. From 2000 to 2005 he led an international sales project for T-Systems International GmbH. Afterwards until 2008 he was head of marketing and sales in a Hamburg software company as well as for a manufacturer of environmentally friendly motors. Matthias later worked as an IT consultant, collecting valuable knowledge of PDF tools from a user’s standpoint. This in addition to his experience in customer support makes him an ideal candidate for the member services.
In his new position, Matthias will assist the board of the PDF Association with special emphasis on providing member support. Over 100 corporations and countless experts from more than 20 countries are currently engaged in the international association.
Matthias Wagner: “I’m looking forward to the new and diverse tasks. PDF is one of the most widely used file formats in the world and it is exciting to experience the further development of the PDF standards and support the members of the PDF Association.”


We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

About the PDF Association

The PDF Association is geared towards developers of PDF solutions; companies that work with PDF in document management systems (DMS) and electronic content management (ECM), interested individuals, and users who want to implement PDF technology in their organizations. Although the Association’s original members were predominantly from German-speaking countries, the PDF Association now boasts members from over 20 countries worldwide.


Association for Digital Document Standards e.V.
PDF Association

Thomas Zellmann
Neue Kantstr. 14
D-14057 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 39 40 50-0
Fax: +49 30 39 40 50-99



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Tags: PDF/A in a nutshell, PDF/UA in a Nutshell, member service
Categories: PDF, PDF/A, PDF/E, PDF/UA, PDF/VT, PDF/X