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PDF/a containing attachments

Jun 22, 2011 6:48 AM

Hi all,


Simple question:


Can a PDF/a contain attcaments?


I have searched the documentation - but could only find the following limitations listed:


The Standard does not define an archiving strategy or the goals of an archiving system. It identifies a "profile" for electronic documents that ensures the documents can be reproduced exactly the same way in years to come. A key element to this reproducibility is the requirement for PDF/A documents to be 100% self-contained. All of the information necessary for displaying the document in the same manner every time is embedded in the file. This includes, but is not limited to, all content (text, raster images and vector graphics), fonts, and color information. A PDF/A document is not permitted to be reliant on information from external sources (e.g. font programs and hyperlinks).

Other key elements to PDF/A compatibility include:


  • Audio and video content are forbidden.
  • JavaScript and executable file launches are forbidden.
  • All fonts must be embedded and also must be legally embeddable for unlimited, universal rendering. This also applies to the so-called PostScript standard fonts such as Times or Helvetica.
  • Colorspaces specified in a device-independent manner.
  • Encryption is disallowed.
  • Use of standards-based metadata is mandated.


If I try to convert an Output PDF containing an attachment to a PDF/a it looses the attacment, but I cant find any documentation backing up this behavior.


Thanks in adavnce



Kim Christensen

Dafolo A/S


  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 22, 2011 9:52 AM   in reply to

    PDF/A-1, the version of PDF/A that is currently supported in LiveCycle, does NOT support attachments of any type. that is why they are removed during the conversion.


    PDF/A-2, the newest version of PDF/A and currently supported in Acrobat X, allows for attachments that themselves are also PDF/A (1 or 2) compliant.


    The ISO committee for PDF/A is also hard at work on a PDF/A-3 that will allow ANY type of file to be attached.  However, that certainly wouldn't be ready till 2012 or 2013.


    Hope that helps.


    Leonard Rosenthol

    ISO Project Leader, PDF/A

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