ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Adobe to Seek Industry Standardization of PDF Specification

New York, Jan 29, 2007

Software company Adobe Systems announced today its intent to seek formal recognition of its widely used Portable Document Format (PDF) specification by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Since its publication in 1993, PDF has achieved recognition as a de facto standard for reliable and secure information exchange.

Used heavily by consumers, government and industry to manage and share electronic records, the specification forms the basis for Adobe’s PDF Reader and Acrobat products. Through use of the specification, the layout of any source document is preserved across computers, regardless of the application or platform used to create it.

The move to put the full PDF 1.7 specification through a formal standardization process was driven in part by the expectation that ISO approval would help to raise customer confidence in the specification’s longevity. Once approved, the specification would form an umbrella standard suitable for use by industry and government, as well as by organizations needing to comply with government-mandated strategies to use the format.

The Adobe specification is proposed for consideration by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 171, Document management applications, and its Subcommittee 2 on applications issues. As a first step, the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 171 will review the specification, iron out any technical issues and present a draft document, via ANSI, to ISO for development and approval. The TAG is administered by AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management Association.

“Today’s announcement is the next logical step in the evolution of PDF from de facto standard to a formal, de jure standard,” said Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe. “As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organization will help continue to drive innovation.”

The industry has seen a recent trend toward formal standardization of document formats. In May 2006, ISO approved the OpenDocument Format (ODF) as an International Standard [See related article: ISO and IEC Approve OpenDocument OASIS Standard For Data Interoperability of Office Applications]. ISO is also currently considering giving similar recognition to Microsoft's Office Open XML.

For more information, please visit Additional information on the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG to ISO TC 171 can be found here.

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