How to convert a PDF to a PDF/A.

A woman in an office uses a desktop computer to convert a PDF to a PDF/A.

A quick and easy way to convert your file format from PDF to PDF/A.

Technology is always changing — which is great until it turns your documents obsolete. By converting your PDF to a PDF/A, you protect the document’s layout, formatting, fonts, size — you name it. This keeps your documents safe, secure, readable, and accessible for the long term. Learn how to safeguard your documents for archiving with Adobe Acrobat.

Follow these steps to convert your PDF to a PDF/A.

Once you’ve created your PDF in Acrobat, simply follow these steps.

  1. Select Tools, and then select PDF Standards.
  2. Click Save As PDF/A.
  3. Choose the location where you want to save your PDF/A file.

And you’re done — easy as 1-2-3.

Batch convert PDF to PDF/A.

To convert a batch of documents from PDF to PDF/A in Acrobat, follow these steps.

  1. Select Tools, then select Action Wizard under the Customize header.
  2. The Action Wizard toolbar will appear near the top of the screen. Select New Action from that toolbar.
  3. Click the Save & Export dropdown menu under “Choose tools to add.” Then select Save.
  4. Click the + icon in the center of the screen. This will transfer the open document to the box on the right titled “Action steps to show.”
  5. Select any additional files to convert in this batch by clicking Add Files under the “Default option” header. Or add files by clicking the search icon or folder icon above the “Default option” header.
  6. Once all the files are selected, click Specify Settings under the Save icon. This will open the Output Options dialog box.
  7. Under Output Format select Export File(s) to Alternate Format. Select PDF/A from the “Export to” dropdown menu. Then click OK.

PDF/A vs. PDF.

PDF/A is a type of PDF file especially designed for archiving by ensuring long term file accessibility and reproduction. PDF/A files are entirely self-contained and self-referencing, guaranteeing access and file stability regardless of software and other technological changes.

Some advantages to PDF/A include:

  1. It preserves the exact details of a document — no matter how long the file has been stored.
  2. All metadata is embedded directly in the file, keeping it permanent and easily accessible.
  3. It is an international standard for PDF documents.

Some advantages to PDF include:

  1. It’s possible to embed other file types like audio and video.
  2. It allows linking to external references within the file.
  3. It allows file encryption for data security.

PDF/A does not support external data referencing like PDF does. PDF/A is best used with digital files that are text-heavy. Like other PDFs, it is transferable across worldwide systems, and it is the international standard for document preservation. Preserve all types of files by converting them to PDF/A, including emails, images, scanned documents, and spreadsheets.

A solution for your PDF needs.

When converting an individual file from PDF to PDF/A you will also see options in the Save As menu to convert your PDF to PDF/X or PDF/E. PDF/X ensures your file will work when sent to a professional printer. PDF/E makes your file useful for engineering documents. And PDF/A, of course, ensures your file can stand the test of time.

Discover what more you can do with Acrobat to easily convert your PDF into formats that fit all your file needs, including PDF to Word, PDF to JPG, PDF to PPT, and more.