Easy and Quick Solutions to Create PDF/A

Summary :

This article will take you through a detailed understanding of what PDF/A is and how to create PDF/A files using Adobe, Microsoft Word, and LibreOffice.

Table of Contents

How to Create PDF/A 

How to Create PDF/A

PDF/A is a standard format for PDF, which can better ensure the display of the original PDF content and ensure the accessibility of the document. Currently, PDF/A has been widely used in some professional fields, such as law, education, and financial industries.

While you must already be familiar with how to create PDF, you may be confused when it comes to PDF/A, a variant of PDF.

In this article, we’ll take you through an in-depth understanding of PDF/A and give you a step-by-step guide on how to quickly create PDF/A documents using popular tools such as Adobe, Microsoft Word, and LibreOffice.

What Is PDF/A?

PDF/A is an ISO-standard version of the PDF file format specifically designed for archiving and long-term preservation of documents.

Compared with PDF, PDF/A can ensure that the file content can be presented in the original format at any time and on any device, ensuring document accessibility to the greatest extent.

The biggest difference between PDF/A and PDF is that PDF/A has more restrictions on content and cannot contain any elements that are not suitable for long-term storage, such as special fonts, audio, video, external references, etc. At the same time, PDF/A does not allow any form of encryption.

In recent years, with the continuous upgrading of standards, different variants of PDF/A have appeared.

PDF/A-1a: The most commonly used native PDF/A standard, used to ensure the visual integrity of documents. But it’s also the most limited, with no support for JPEG 2000, layers, or attachments.

PDF/A-1b: This category meets Level B accessibility conformance, considered the minimum compliance level for PDF/A. This only ensures the long-term accessibility of the file but does not guarantee the quality of the text.

PDF/A-2b: is an additional variant of Class B ISO PDF recognition that supports advanced features such as transparency and layering, designed to preserve documents over time and accurately preserve the visual impact of the file.

PDF/A-2u: The “u” refers to Unicode, which in addition to long-term document preservation and accurate presentation, prioritizes text accessibility, ensuring easy search and extraction of text.

Convert PDF to PDF/A with Adobe

As a powerful and professional Adobe PDF editor, Adobe Acrobat can verify whether your PDF is a PDF/A compatible file and create a PDF/A file through PDF conversion or save as. Adobe Acrobat preserves the format and visual elements of the original document to the greatest extent possible.

In addition, Adobe Acrobat also provides advanced configuration options, allowing users to perform batch conversion.

Step 1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Step 2. Select “Tools” in the menu bar > Click “PDF Standards”.

Open PDF Standards

Open PDF Standards

Step 3. Click “Save as PDF/A” in the menu bar on the right > Select the save location > Click “OK”.

Convert PDF to PDF/A

Convert PDF to PDF/A

To convert a batch of PDF documents to PDF/A, you need to use the Action tool in Adobe Acrobat. The specific steps are as follows:

Select “Tools” > “Operation Wizard” > Select “New Operation” from the toolbar > Open the “Save&Export” drop-down bar and select “Save” > Click the “+” icon in the center > Choose “specific setting”.

In the “Output Format” tab, select PDF/A in the “Export to” drop-down bar, and finally click “OK”, then “Save”.

Export PDF as PDF/A in Batch

Export PDF as PDF/A in Batch

Find the action you just saved in the Action List > select the file that needs to be converted to PDF/A > click “Start”.

Save As PDF/a Using Microsoft Word

Although Microsoft Word is mostly used for processing Word documents, it can also implement PDF editing. Microsoft Word can resave PDF documents into PDF/A format by saving as.

Compared with using Adobe Acrobat, the biggest advantage of this method is that it is completely free if you pre-installed Microsoft Office Suite when purchasing your computer.

But there are still some limitations. Microsoft Word can only handle plain text or PDFs containing only a few simple images or graphics. If it is a more complex PDF, some formatting elements or compatibility with specific fonts may be lost when converting it to PDF/A.

Step 1. Open the PDF in Microsoft Word and click “OK” on the pop-up window that appears.

Allow Word to Open PDF

Allow Word to Open PDF

Step 2. Click “File” > “Save As” > “Browse” in the upper left corner.

Save File As

Save File As

Step 3. Select “PDF” in the drop-down menu bar of “Save as Type” > click “Options”

Save File as PDF

Save File as PDF

Step 4. Check “PDF/A compliant” in “PDF Options” > click “Ok” > Finally, click “Save”.

Save PDF as PDF/A

Save PDF as PDF/A

Create PDF/A with Libreoffice

LibreOffice is an open-source PDF editor that can convert PDF to PDF/A format by saving it as. The operation is simple and anyone can easily master it.

However, like Microsoft Word, LibreOffice can encounter challenges when working with complex documents or advanced features.

Step 1. Open Libreoffice > Click “Open File” to open the PDF.

Open PDF in Libreoffice

Open PDF in Libreoffice

Step 2. Click on “File” > “Export As” > “Export as PDF”.

Export File as PDF

Export File as PDF

Step 3. In the pop-up window that appears, go to the “General” tab > Check the “Archive (PDF/A, ISO 19005) box > Select the required version > Click “Export”.

Export PDF to PDF/A

Export PDF to PDF/A


How Do I Know If a PDF Is PDF/A?

Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro > click the “Standards” icon in the left toolbar > Check its conformance.

Why Can’t I Save PDF/A?

There may be several reasons:

  1. There is a problem with the PDF file, please try another file.
  2. Software configuration or compatibility issues, make sure your tools are up-to-date and configured correctly.

What Should I Do If My PDF/A Does not Display Correctly?

Check the preview tool for compatibility issues and try opening the file in a different PDF viewer. Or use a different PDF converter to convert it to PDF/A again.


I believe you now have a deeper understanding of PDF/A and have learned how to create PDF/A. The 3 methods introduced in this article can help you quickly create PDF/A. Choose the one that best meets your needs and experience the standard storage and presentation method of PDF!

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