At first glance, it is easy to see the PDF as a one-dimensional format in terms of what it can do. After all, most web users today have encountered PDFs at one time or another, and the format is well known as a means for displaying documents accurately. Their function can seem straightforward, but the reality is a bit different. The internationally defined PDF standard features several variations on the original format to serve specific purposes.
Long-term storage for documents is one of those purposes. With the incorporation of the newly redesigned PDF/A-4 standards into the larger PDF specification, users of all types can now access a robust way to ensure the continued accessibility of documents over long periods. However, to access those features, you will need a PDF editor that your business can use to convert files to this specific type of PDF. Why should you make that investment?
To answer that, let's take a closer look at what's happening behind the scenes with PDF/A-4 and consider who can benefit most from its use.
What is PDF/A-4?
Simply put, "A" stands for "archive", and "4" represents the fourth version of the archival standard as part of the greater PDF standard. A-4 consolidates a confusing schema the standard used previously. While there are still some variations on the A-4 format itself, for our purposes, we'll stick to the broader format.
Why would documents that work fine today fail to open in the future? Because a PDF contains so many potential types of data, it is not always possible to guarantee that a future computer will have the right tools to display the document. Lacking the correct fonts is a common problem that can cause documents to display garbled, ruined text rather than a pristine document.
The archival format "embeds" these features that may not appear on all computers. Think of it as a time capsule that includes a detailed guide to understanding everything inside. An archived PDF should reliably display its contents for many years to come. With PDF/A-4, additional features and improvements mean the format can now store complex 3D annotations and even some forms of embedded media.
What Industries Benefit Most from Archival Formats?
An easy way to archive documents might sound great, but why should your business invest in this technology? For some, it might be a requirement—you might be in an industry where regulations or best practices demand that you keep documents stored for an extended period. In other cases, the records you produce contain valuable data or information historically significant to the business. Preserving these records is critical, so you do not lose the only effective digital copy. From government and civil service to healthcare and the law, many businesses can benefit from these tools.
Easily Store Feature-Rich Documents Using Power PDF
When you need confidence in the long-term accessibility of your documents and data, the archival versions of the PDF are an ideal choice. With Kofax Power PDF, it is fast and easy to convert documents from a regular PDF into the PDF/A-4 standard—in fact, it's just like saving a document regularly. For Windows and Mac users, reliably archived documents are within easy reach.
Try your free 15-day trial of Power PDF today to see how easy it is to work on digital documents, even those with complex features, and discover a tool for a sensible and modern archival process.