Categories: Tech

What is the Difference b/w PDF and PDF/A Files – How to Convert PDF to PDF/A?

Convert pdf to pdf/a – What is the Difference between PDF and PDF/A Files? What is the Advantages and Disadvantages of PDF and PDF/A?

Nowadays, the use of electronic documents is crucial to our daily lives. From school requirements to Christmas cards, they have become the medium that enables us to accomplish our day-to-day activities. Without electronic documents in this age of information, the spread of knowledge among individuals will be extremely difficult.

Electronic Documents are electronic media content that can be used in an electronic form or printed out. These documents may also have different file formats. File formats may vary due to the programs used or based on the usage of the file. One format commonly used today is the PDF. And in this article, we will be focusing not only on PDF but PDFA as well and on Convert PDF to PDF/A.

What is PDF?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is a file format introduced by Adobe to present documents that include text and images. It also looks like a printed document that can be viewed, printed, and shared. PDF file formats that are in different forms can also be displayed on most devices. It is because most viewing applications have a pdf reader program installed in them. PDF files can also be converted to other formats since converting from PDF to PDFA can be helpful in certain situations.

PDF is also a secure and signable format which means you can encrypt a PDF file and prevent others from accessing, printing, and opening the file. You need to bear in mind that you will require special tools to open an encrypted PDF file.  You can also put an electronic signature in your PDF, which can be used as identifying marks for your file. Now we see the Advantages and disadvantages of pdf.


The great thing about PDF is that it is secure, compact, convenient as a file format. It also displays the original layout and content of the initial form of the file. PDF can also compress a large amount of information such as texts and images into a file size that is easily shared and received.


When it comes to editing PDF files, it is easier to edit files in other formats like Word application because editing a pdf file in itself needs a special program for it to be edited. In scanned PDF files, special tools are needed to convert them to other formats. Also, in compressing files into PDF files, there is a loss of pixels in the final product, especially with images, thus losing a bit of quality along the way. Now we see the advantages of Convert PDF to PDF/A.

What is a PDF/A?

PDF/A is a special version of PDF that is specifically designed for archiving and long-term storage of electronic documents.  PDF/A also prohibits features that may compromise archiving, such as font linking and encryption. It is one of the best ways to protect against changes in future technology that makes the files difficult to access and read. In short, this is a file format intended to be preserved and protected for future use. It also guarantees a document produced the same way regardless of what application is used. Now we see the Advantages and disadvantages of pdf/a.


 An important advantage of PDF/A files is that they can be used on any viewing platform. Programs used in displaying PDF/A files are also free of charge and offer great flexibility to its users.  It also contains everything needed to display the file and cannot be influenced by outside sources which could negatively impact the display.


Although PDF/A files have its advantages, it also has disadvantages. One clear disadvantage of PDF/A is that certain digital files can only be converted to this type of format. It happens because there are features from these digital files that are not compatible with PDF/A. Since PDF/A is known to be a file format specializing in long-term archiving, some file features have no way to preserve over time. PDF/A is also a complicated text and image format which can be a liability in the future.

How to convert PDF to PDF/A:

1. Online Method

As the need for online conversion websites arises, more and more features and tools are added to these sites. One tool that is used sometimes to Convert PDF to PDF/A, which is converting a PDF file to PDF/A. Even though it is frequently used, it is still an essential tool for someone who needs it. This tool can help you in converting your file which converts it in less than 2 min. Here are the steps in converting PDF files to PDF/A.

Step 1: Upload your file by clicking the Select Files button located at the center of your page. You can upload your file by dragging the file towards the site.

2. Step: Once uploaded, the website will scan your document.

3 .Step: Set the PDF/A conformance level by clicking the downward arrow.

4. Step: Click the CONVERT TO PDF/A NOW to start converting the file.

5. Step: Click the Download button. You can now access your file in the download folder.

2. Using Offline Applications to Convert PDF to PDF/A

With the rise of software developers, many of them have included conversion tools in their software applications. One, in particular, is the Convert PDF to PDF/A. Since many applications can convert them, we will be focusing on Adobe Acrobat. Here are the steps in converting a PDF file to PDF/A using Adobe Acrobat.

Step 1: Open the PDF file you are going to convert using the Adobe Acrobat application.

Step 2: Click the File tab in the Menu bar and select More Options. Under More Options Choose PDF/A

Step 3: The Save As window will then appear. Click the Settings button.

Step 4: The Preflight window appears, prompting you to choose the type of PDF/A that you need.

Step 5: Click OK to save and convert the file.

Last Note on Convert PDF to PDF/A

PDF and PDF/A are both important in their own right. Both have advantages and disadvantages to them which ultimately boils down to what you are intending to do with the file. The information presented in this article can help you understand PDF and PDFA better. Also, determine the best way to convert them. The support of this article should help you out in determining the format that fits your current needs.

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