What is PDF/A-2 and which types are there?

PDF stands for portable document format, which means that this file type is accessible from all kinds of computing devices, including PCs, laptops, servers, and smartphones. There are a few standards of PDF and one of the most common ones is PDF/A-2. PDF/A-2 is a standard that was publicized back in the year 2011. This standard has its counterpart, PDF/A-1. However, unlike PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2 was standardized based on standards that were set in their entirety by ISO. These standards were recorded in ISO standard 19005-2. This makes this standard unique and the best for archiving digital documents. When you archive documents using this standard, you can be sure of being able to access it even in future as technology continues to change. Thus, it is the best standard for facilities that deal in large amounts of data that need to be stored for use several years into the future. Such institutions include digital libraries, hospital, and government agencies.

Let us take a look at the three most basic types of PDF/A-2 types available.

PDF/A-2b (Basic)

The letter b in PDF/A-2b stands for basic. As such, PDF/A-2b represents the minimal requirements needed to for a file to be considered to be compliant with the norms of PDF/A-2. Files that are stored with this format are usually suitable for long term storage without the possible problems that often occur with other file formats. Thus, this format is suitable for storing files over a long period of time

The main advantage with this file format is that documents that are stored as PDF/A-2b usually retain all their visual aspects. That means that the file will look the same way it looked twenty years later with all visual aspects and text intact.

PDF/A-2u (Unicode)

PDF/A-2u is like PDF/A-2b because it follows all the requirements implemented in the latter file format. However, in addition to that, PDF/A-2u also allows users to convert the file into other file formats such as Notepad and MS Word. For example, you can use a PDF to word converter, to convert a PDF/A-2u file to a word document. This can be done easily through the many file conversion websites on the internet.

When you are using an online conversion service, you will be required to upload your file to the website so that software resident on the site is used to do the conversion before the converted file is made available for download to you.

Another advantage that is associated with PDF/A-2u is that its content can usually be indexed so that it becomes searchable. That means that you can search for individual words or characters in the document.

PDF/A-2a (Accessible)

PDF/A-2a where the a stands for accessible is at the top of the range in terms of requirement. This file meets all the standards met by the two PDF standards discussed above. However, on top of that, this PDF standard uses something called tags. These tags make it possible to search through the content of the document, making it easier to reuse the text.

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