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Information About PDF/A


In the future, the Judiciary will require that all electronically filed documents uploaded in CM/ECF be in the PDF/A format.  Currently, CM/ECF accepts both PDF and PDF/A documents.  This move to a PDF/A standard is viewed as a necessary step to enhance CM/ECF security and to improve the archiving and preservation of case-related documents.

What is PDF/A?

PDF/A is an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard document format.

PDF/A documents are self-contained and do not rely on or access information outside of the document itself to display the information contained within the document.  Accordingly, the PDF document appears, and will continue to appear, identical to the document from which it was created, no matter where or when it is accessed.  As a result, most PDF/A documents will have a slightly larger file size.

How are PDF/A documents created?

More than ninety commercial products can create PDF/A documents (many are listed at Create PDF/A and Convert PDF to PDF/A). The District Court does not recommend any particular products.

1)     Creation from electronic documents

PDF/A documents can be created by most word processor programs. The necessary instructions for creating PDF/A documents are given at Creating PDF/A with OpenOffice, Creating PDF/A with Microsoft Word 2007,  and Creating PDF/A with WordPerfect X4.  For information about creating PDF/A documents with Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional or Standard, see Creating PDF/A documents with Acrobat.

2)     Creation from scanned documents

Some scanning software is capable of directly creating PDF/A format documents.  If your software does not have the capability, the document may need scanned as a regular PDF and then converted.  To keep file sizes down and to ensure that files are text-searchable, PDF/A documents should be created using a word processing program (like WordPerfect or Microsoft Word), rather than being printed out in hard copy and scanned.

Click here for information about editing PDF/A documents or removing PDF/A information.

What is the effective date of this change?

Although the Judiciary has not yet set a deadline for requiring all electronic files to be uploaded in a PDF/A format, all users are encouraged to begin to transition their filings to this new standard as soon as possible.


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