Differences between PDF/A-2 and PDF/A-1

The PDF/A-2 standard was published in 2011. Opposite to PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2 is entirely based on guidelines of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) as published in ISO standard “ISO-32000”.

If PDF/A-1 meets your requirements for archiving you don't need to change to PDF/A-2.

Improvements of PDF/A-2 compared to PDF/A-1

  • Store images in lossless compression thanks to the JPEG2000 file formatpdfa-2x
    As result PDF documents with images are smaller and therefore much easier to upload or download.
  • Thanks to Unicode it's guaranteed you can search your text
    Unicode allows you to index your text. Also you can reliably convert text from a PDF document to e.g. another word processor.
  • Multiple PDF layers
    Multiple layers allow the author to show one and the same page in a different language with just a push of a button. Applications for AutoCAD drawings are possible. 
  • Support of multiple fonts
    Because PDF/A-2 supports multiple fonts it's easy and safe to convert files to PDF/A-2. So you don't need to convert your documents to a supported font first.
  • Transparency
    Due to the built-in transparency marked text can be easily read. Also shadows are now possible.
  • Pagesizes are supported up to 381km×381km
    In some cases PDF/A format is used for archiving maps or blueprints. With PDF/A-1 this was limited to sizes of 5.08m × 5.08m. Due to down scaling of images much detail was lost. With PDF/A-2 images can be stored with sizes up to 381km × 381km.
  • Improved metadata functionality
  • Conversion of old standards like PDF/X-4 and PDF/E-1 to PDF/A-2
  • Compatibility to other ISO standards as PDF/X-4 and PDF-E-1

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