PDF/A Converting and Validation

PDF is a standard for encoding documents in an "as printed" form that is portable. PDF/A was developed as an international standard to define the use of PDF for archiving. [1]

Visually inspect your PDF before submitting it.

To check if your PDF is conformed correctly, use the tool below.

PDF/A Validation


This webpage is where you can download a validation software package for PDF/A. If you do not have JAVA, you would need to download that first. They have versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you need assistance in installing this package, they have a link to their GitHub directory on the page.

A note about the recent version of Mac computers. When trying to install the verapdf program, there will be a security pop up window that prevents one from installing it. To get around this, one has to control-click the installer and select "Open".

Once the program is installed, you can either run the GUI version or run the program from the command line.

For the command line: ./verapdf -f 1b --format text pdf_file

For the GUI, go into the verapdf folder and double click the verapdf-gui executable to open up the GUI. A new terminal will open up and a new window will appear that is the GUI for verapdf. In this window, there will be a line of text that appears in the empty space next to the Execute button. For PDS4, we need the file to be valid for PDF/A-1A or PDF/A-1B. If it is valid, the text will be green. If it is invalid, the text will be red.

PDF/A Conversion

We have a converter to PDF/A for those that have a Mac or Linux system


The converter script we have needs Ghostscript to run. This link will bring you to the Ghostscript website where you are able to download it for your system.


This link will download a zip file with all the files that you would need to convert a PDF to a PDF/A-1B. It will make a copy of the file you want to convert. The copy file will look like: name.pdfa.pdf

For the command line: ./pdf2pdfa pdf_file

If it comes back as a FAIL, then the program could not convert the PDF file. In that situation, you will have to look for other means of converting the file. If it comes back as a PASS, that means the copied file will be conformed to PDF/A-1B standards and you are ready to submit your document to us for archiving.


Microsoft Word and Excel 2007 have a way of making their PDF compliant. The first step to make this happen is to expand the commands. You have to show 'All Commands'. You have to find the one that says "Publish as PDF or XPS" or "Save as Other Format". For both, once you are at the window that ask where you would like to place the file, there is a More Option near the middle of the middle right of the window. At the bottom of the new window, there will be two PDF options that you can choose from. Select the one that states: 'ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)'.

Text Editors or Word Processors That Did Not Work

The programs: Google Docs, Pages, and TextEdit have a way of converting their files into PDF, but it is not PDF/A compliant.

MacOS Big Sur has a feature that will convert files to PDF/A, but this will produce a PDF/A 2-B file, which is not compatible with PDF/A 1-A or PDF/A 1-B. PDF/A 2-B is not currently supported by the PDS4 standards.