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1- Q: What is PDF/A?

A: That depends on a few things.

What format is needed by the court?
Are there any links, references to other files, webpages, etc.?
Are the fonts and graphics embedded?
Is all security removed?
Has the PDF already been converted to PDF/A, but then modified?
All of these would be reasons for additional steps to be taken to create a
PDF/A. See the QRC PDF/A Creating and Converting for further details.

A: Portable Document Format / Archive.

PDF/A is a subset of PDF that is meant for archiving information. In

order to preserve the information and ensure that the format and
contents will remain in tact into the future, a stricter set of standards,
the PDF/A standards, have been put in place and some courts are
requiring the use of the PDF/A format
PDF/A requires that graphics and fonts be embedded into the file and
does not allow audio, video, or executable links and attachments in
the file. Regular PDFs do not have such restrictions.

7- Q: Whats the difference between Creating a PDF/A file and

Conforming to PDF/A?

2- Q: Why are we using this new PDF/A format?

A: The difference is conformance standards.

A: PDF/A format is a standard for archiving and presenting digital


Courts in multiple states require electronic court filings (ECF) to be in

the PDF/A format.
Additionally, courts in multiple jurisdictions post documents in PDF/A

8- Q: My document states that it is PDF/A on the Adobe Standard toolbar

area. Can I assume it is a compliant document?

3- Q: Should we know anything about the naming or saving


A: No, The document is indeed a PDF/A (either 1a or 1b), but is not

necessarily compliant.

A: Files will be stored as .PDF format

When viewing the file list on the H:/ drive, the A -1b extension will still
indicate the .PDF extension, it doesnt display .PDF/A.
For this reason, it may be a good idea to name the document with
PDFA or PDF-A in the file name (do not use the slash in file

If a PDF/A document is modified after it is created, it will no longer be

compliant. Additional steps must be taken to make the document
compliant again

9- Q: Will the text in the PDF/A still be searchable?

A: Yes, if a PDF/A file is created from a digital text document (i.e. MS
Word document), the text will automatically be recognized (searchable).

4- Q: When will I begin to see PDF/A documents in CM/ECF?

A: CM/ECF already accepts PDF/A documents. Each court will set its
own deadline for requiring documents to be filed in the PDF/A format.
5- Q; Should I continue to password-protect my documents?
A: Compliance requires that no security of any kind be used, so do not
password protect or encrypt your documents.

Exception: If the file was created from a scanned paper document or

image, the PDF/A is not automatically searchable. In order for it to be
searchable, use the OmniPage Professional application to convert the
scanned document into a searchable document and then create the

10- Q: I have a scanned PDF document that needs to be converted to

PDF/A and made searchable. Is this possible?
A: Yes, for this process OmniPage Professional needs to be used. This
application can be found on one standalone computer in your office.

6- Q: Can I just open my existing PDF documents and convert to PDF/A

and be done?
Reed Smith LLP

Creating a PDF/A File Using the Print to PDF/A function directly

from the electronic source like Word or Excel
Conforming to PDF/A - Converting an existing PDF document so it
meets all the requirements of PDF/A

May 7, 2012



If unsure where this standalone computer is located, inquire with your

IT Support personnel

11- Q: What would prevent a file from being able to conform to a PDF/A?
A: The document may include one of the following formats that is
incompatible with PDF/A.

RGB = red, green, blue is usually satisfactory (sometimes offered as

CMYK = cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black) may be selected if
your PDF/A file includes extensive colors

15- Q: How do I verify my PDF/A is 'compliant'?

A: Checking a file for PDF/A compliance must be done by using the
Preflight option within Adobe Acrobat Professional.
Any system that has Adobe Professional can be used to check for
Adobe Professional is available at a shared kiosk computer in each
office. Check with local IT Support or Business Manager for location
Keep in mind that a document that has been printed to PDF/A and
has not been modified or tampered with, is already in a compliant

The document requires fonts that are not on your system

The document uses fonts which have a "Do Not Embed" flag
The document has transparent objects
The document is damaged

12- Q: Will my PDF/A file become altered or 'non-compliant' when

scrubbed by the Metadata Assistant?
A: No. The Metadata Assistant does not process or scrub PDF/A file

16- Q: What is Acrobat Preflight?

13- Q: There are two major types of PDF/A, how will I know which to use,
and when?

A: Preflight is an advanced feature of Adobe Professional which analyzes

a document against the criteria listed in the preflight profile you specify.

A: It is your responsibility to know what format is required by the court to

which you are submitting the filed documents.

Here is a description of the two types: If the court was not explicit, use
PDF/A-1b as the standard, but if your court requires PDF/A-1a, that is
what you should use.

In addition to identifying potential issues, many preflight profiles

contain fixes that can correct problems

17- Q: I am using Adobe Professional, but cannot locate the Preflight

feature. Where is it?
A: Preflight is in the Tools Pane, in the Print Production group.

PDF/A-1b (most common) - ensures that the text (and additional

content) can be correctly displayed (e.g. on a computer monitor), but
does not guarantee that extracted text will be legible or
PDF/A-1a (uncommon) - ensures the preservation of a documents
logical structure and content text stream in natural reading order. The
text extraction is especially important when the document must be
displayed on a mobile device (for example a PDA) or other devices in
accordance with Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act. In such
cases the text must be reorganized on the limited screen size (reflow). This feature is also known as Tagged PDFs

If it is not available from the list, you may have to turn it on from the
main menu.
From View, select Tools and choose Print Production from the list.

18- Q: Why dont I see the PDF/A indicator You are viewing this
document in PDF/A mode on my toolbar area in Adobe Professional?
A: It may be necessary to turn on the preference.

14- Q: When I select PDF/A-1b, I have options of RGB or CMYK. What

should I do there?

Click Edit on Adobe main menu > select Preferences

Click Documents on side menu > then in the View Mode area, select
view only for PDF/A documents

A: That depends on the color quality you desire.

Reed Smith LLP

May 7, 2012