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Difference Between PDF/A and PDF/X

Difference Between PDF/A and PDF/X

PDF/A and PDF/X are both types of PDF files that have been standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). However, there are some key differences between these two formats. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the difference between PDF/A and PDF/X, and explain why you might choose one format over the other.

What is PDF/A?

PDF/A is an ISO standard for the long-term preservation of PDF documents. PDF/A compliant PDF documents are expected to PDF render exactly the same way now as they will in the future, regardless of changes in software or hardware. PDF/A documents contain all the information necessary for rendering, including fonts, color profiles, and other resource files. This ensures that PDF/A documents will always look the same, even if the software used to view the changes. PDF/A also supports digital signatures and encryption, making it a secure format for storing sensitive information.

What is PDF/X?

PDF/X is a PDF file format specification that establishes requirements for the exchange of PDF files between different technical platforms. PDF/X files are PDF files that comply with all the requirements of the PDF/X specification. PDF/X files can be opened and viewed on any PDF-compatible platform, making them ideal for use in cross-platform workflows. PDF/X files are also designed to be print-ready, meaning they meet all the requirements for high-quality printing. As a result, PDF/X is the preferred file format for many print and publishing applications.

Difference Between PDF/A and PDF/X

PDF/A and PDF/X are two PDF standards developed by the PDF Association. PDF/A is a PDF standard for long-term archiving, while PDF/X is a PDF standard for printing and prepress workflows. Both PDF/A and PDF/X files are PDF documents that comply with ISO standards. PDF/A files are optimized for long-term storage, while PDF/X files are optimized for print production workflows. PDF/A files can be viewed and printed, but they cannot be edited. PDF/X files can be viewed, printed, and edited.


PDF/A and PDF/X are two different file formats used for printing documents. The main difference between the two is that PDF/A is a non-proprietary format, meaning it can be read by any software program. PDF/X, on the other hand, is a proprietary format that can only be read by specific programs. If you want your document to be able to be printed by any printer, you should use the PDF/A format. If you need a more customized print job with specific color profiles or fonts, then you should use the PDF/X format.

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