When submitting a PDF file to the Research Collection please make sure
- that your file is not write-protected
- that fonts are embedded in the file
- that you submit your file in the PDF/A format to enable its readabilty over the long-term
What’s a PDF/A format?
PDF/A (/A stands for archive) is an ISO standard for the permanent archiving of formatted documents and should be readable for longer than more conventional PDF formats. The subtype PDF/A-1b (b stands for basic) is used the most frequently. The long-term readability of the PDF/A1b format is achieved by dispensing with certain functions on the one hand and embedding all the objects required (e.g. fonts) in the file on the other. A PDF/A file is recognisable by the blue bar in Adobe Reader.
How to create an error-free PDF/A file from MS Word of PowerPoint?
While attempting to convert a Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint document into a PDF or PDF/A, links are frequently lost or formulae and graphics displayed incorrectly. What can be done to prevent this?
We tested four different conversion methods based on ten example files to investigate their features. We explain their pros and cons in the following instructions.
1. "Printing” a file as PDF
A file can be sent to a PDF printer in Word or PowerPoint, which is often the best method for elaborate documents. The drawback, however, is that highlighted links are lost.
2. Creating a file using Adobe Acrobat Professional
This method takes time to convert large documents.
3. Saving a file as PDF/A-1b using Acrobat PDFMaker
This method takes time to convert large documents and can even fail completely.
4. Creating a file in Word or PowerPoint using “Save as”
The drawback of this method is that vector graphs are frequently unusable and links in footnotes are lost.
Conclusions: no method is perfect
As we can see, every method has its pros and cons. In each case, you should check the PDF/A file created closely. Pay particular attention to links, vector graphs, formulae and special fonts.
Further information on these four methods is provided on the page Conversion of Microsoft Word or PowerPoint Files to PDF/A-1b in the wiki of the Research Data Management and Digital Curation Office at ETH Library.
Source: Suri, Roland (2017): How do I create a PDF/A file? In: Innovation@ETH-Bibliothek, . http://doi.org/10.16911/ethz-ib-2722-en