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PDF/A Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to create PDF/A documents? Connecticut Judicial Branch e-services (link to home)
Some of the word processing products available today already have the built-in capability to save files in PDF/A format. Some of these products are listed on our Introduction to PDF/A page as well as free products that can be used as printing software to create a PDF. You may select the links provided to see examples of what you need to do. Many PDF/A Compliant Products are available and a good source of information is the Association for Information and Image Management website (AIIM.org). Various PDF product vendors can also be found at the PDF Association's Members Page.  The Judicial Branch does not recommend any particular products.

What is PDF/A?
PDF/A is an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard document format. PDF/A documents are self-contained and do not rely on or access information outside of the document itself to display the information contained within the document. Accordingly, the PDF document appears, and will continue to appear, identical to the document from which it was created, no matter where or when it is accessed. As a result, most PDF/A documents will have a slightly larger file size.

PDF/A is a subset of the PDF standard which excludes those PDF features that give rise to concerns about security and the ability to archive documents.  More information about PDF/A can be found at the PDF Association website and at AIIM
.

Why does the Judicial Branch need to move to PDF/A for its e-filed documents?
To reduce security risks and to improve the compatibility of documents for long-term storage purposes. Since its inception in 2004, e-filing has required that documents be filed in PDF format. Over the years, some readability issues have been discovered such as fonts being used that new computers may not have and there have also been features added/identified in standard PDF that are undersirable for security reasons. PDF/A was created to eliminate those problems and also to enhance the ability to ensure long-term readability of the documents.

When will the Judicial Branch require that all documents filed in e-filing be in PDF/A format?
The Judicial Branch has not yet set a deadline for requiring all electronic files to be uploaded in a PDF/A format, however all users are encouraged to begin to transition their filings to this new standard as soon as possible.

Which PDF/A format should filers use: 1a or 1b?
PDF/A-1a is preferred; PDF/A-1b meets the minimum requirement. Users with the option from a word processing program should select PDF/A-1a if possible.

PDF/A-1a requires structure in a document (which describes the contents of the document) and is best to use for electronic documents. PDF/A-1b does not require structure in a document and is best to use for scanned documents or documents where the structure is unknown.

How does the PDF/A requirement affect Mac users?
Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac cannot create PDF/A documents, but can create PDF documents which can be converted to PDF/A. Alternately, a Mac user can install and use OpenOffice, which is available for free; see OpenOffice settings for PDF/A.

Do I need to retain my original source document in my word processor or file system after I have converted it to a PDF/A document?
As mentioned above, it is easier to modify your original document and then save it as a PDF/A document again if needed than it is to try and modify a document that has been saved as PDF/A.

Do I need to retain my original source document in my word processor or file system after I have converted it to a PDF/A document?
It is easier to modify your original source document and then save it as a PDF/A document again if needed than it is to try and modify a document that has been saved as PDF/A.

 

 

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