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PDF Standards (PDF/A/X)

BCL ALLPDF Converter supports PDF creation of PDF/A-1b, PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 file formats. PDF/A, PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 are subsets or types of PDF. PDF/A is obtained by retaining the PDF features that are suited to long-term archiving, while PDF/X (PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3) is created to facilitate graphics exchange. BCL ALLPDF Converter enables users to easily create 100% PDF/A/X compliant documents.

PDF/A Conformance

PDF/A-1b has the goal of reproducing the visual appearance of the original document accurately. PDF/A-1b falls under ISO 19005-1 Level B conformance which ensures that the rendered visual appearance of the file is reproducible over a long-term.

BCL ALLPDF Converter supports the following standards:

  1. ISO 19005-1:2005(E) Level B conformance (Compatible with Acrobat 7)
  2. TC1:2007 or PDF/A-1:2005/TC1:2007 Level B conformance (Compatible with Acrobat 8, but it's not backward compatible. Therefore it does not validate in Acrobat 7’s Preflight)

PDF/X Conformance

PDF/X file formats are a group of ISO standards for digital document exchange in PDF. The objective of PDF/X file format standards is to confirm that the content prints predictably, irrespective of the document type and the printing service provider. The standards are a subset of the Adobe PDF Specification 1.3.

We support the two most widely used PDF/X standards:

  1. PDF/X-1a:2001 (ISO 15930-1:2001) and
  2. PDF/X-3:2002 (ISO 15930-3:2002)

PDF/X-1a is a CMYK-based document format compatible with PDF-1.3. It requires that all font files used be embedded, and the document shall not be encrypted.

PDF/X-3 adds color management features to the PDF/X-1a standard.

If you are unsure about which PDF/X standard to use, you should ask your printing service provider. Generally speaking, currently PDF/X-1a is the most common format in North America. In Europe PDF/X-3 is the preferred choice on digital presses, but PDF/X-1a is commonly accepted as well.

Note that once you convert a PDF document to PDF/A/X, PDF/A/X will lose elements such as hyperlinks, bookmarks, metadata, etc.

CMYK Color Space

How this property behaves depends on whether PDF/A, PDF/X, or dual standard (both PDF/A and PDF/X) output is specified.

For PDF/A, the color space can be either RGB or CMYK. If no CMYK profile is specified, then "sRGB", the standard color space of the Internet, will be used. A CMYK profile must be explicitly specified in order to generate CMYK based PDF/A output.

For PDF/X, the color space is always CMYK. If no CMYK profile is specified, then a default will be chosen. For PDF/X-1a:2001, the default is "USWebCoatedSWOP" and for PDF/X-3:2002 it is "CoatedFOGRA27".

For dual standard output, the same rules as for PDF/X apply.

If the output is neither PDF/A nor PDF/X, then the color space will always be DeviceRGB and any CMYK profile specified here will be ignored.

Below is a list of the CMYK files:

  1. Coated FOGRA27 (ISO 12647-2:2004)
  2. Coated FOGRA39 (ISO 12647-2:2004)
  3. Japan Color 2001 Coated
  4. Japan Color 2001 Uncoated
  5. Japan Color 2002 Newspaper
  6. Japan Web Coated (Ad)
  7. Uncoated FOGRA29 (ISO 12647-2:2004)
  8. U.S. Sheetfed Coated v2
  9. U.S. Sheetfed Uncoated v2
  10. U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2
  11. U.S. Web Uncoated v2
  12. Web Coated FOGRA28 (ISO 12647-2:2004)