Portable Document Formatting for Archiving (PDF/A) is an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard document format. It is a subset of the PDF standard which excludes those PDF features that give rise to concerns about security and the ability to archive documents.

Many years ago, the Judiciary embraced the PDF standard for documents filed in CM/ECF. Since it was first adopted, the PDF standard has evolved to include new features, some of which have raised concerns about the security and long-term archival storage of the documents. The newer PDF/A standard addresses those concerns. Standard word processing software is now capable of producing PDF/A documents, so it is both possible and desirable for the Judiciary to move towards the PDF/A standard.

PDF/A documents can already be accepted by current versions of CM/ECF. Upcoming releases of CM/ECF will allow courts to require documents to be in PDF/A format; the applications also give each court a choice in how to gradually transition to that goal.

No target date has been set for courts to require PDF/A documents. The CM/ECF Working Groups, the Administrative Office, and perhaps Judicial Conference committees will be considering whether to develop a nationwide plan for all courts to begin enforcement of the PDF/A requirement on the same date. For now, all courts are encouraged to begin their preparations for the transition to PDF/A.

For a presentation on Using PDF/A Format, Click Here.

For a PDF/A version of this presentation, Click Here.