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Ensuring the world’s most popular document format is as relevant as ever.

PDF format has come a long way since it was first developed in 1993. Defined by an ISO standard since 2007, the world of PDF technology now includes a multitude of ISO standards, testimony to the breadth and depth of the format’s reach throughout the global economy.

Standardization is vital to PDF’s magic as it enables it to look and function the same way everywhere, regardless of the location or software used. The core standard for PDF has just been updated to align with industry needs and requirements that have evolved since its last revision in 2017.

ISO 32000-2, Document management – Portable document format – Part 2: PDF 2.0, specifies a digital form for representing electronic documents, enabling users to exchange and view electronic documents independent of the environment in which they were created, viewed or printed. The document is intended for developers of PDF writers, PDF readers and interactive PDF processors.

The thousand-page standard has been updated with hundreds of corrections and clarifications. Some of the most notable changes include:

  • Significant updates to Annex F, “Linearized PDF”, and Annex L, “Parent-child relationships between the standard structure elements in the standard structure namespace for PDF 2.0”
  • Updates to PDF character collections
  • Updates to several important normative references

ISO 32000-2 was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 171, Document management applications, subcommittee SC 2, Document file formats, EDMS systems and authenticity of information, whose secretariat is held by ANSI, the ISO member for the United States. It is available from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

Related information

  • ANSI | American National Standards Institute (United States)

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Clare Naden

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