As courts are increasingly requiring the PDF/A (for “Archiving”) format for submission of documents, the question arises: what exactly does this format entail? Should documents be conformed to PDF/A as a matter of course?
PDF/A is a subset of the features available through Acrobat. It includes/requires:
• No security is applied to document
• No embedded multi-media allowed
• All fonts must be embedded
• No attachments allowed
• Transparency and Layers not allowed
• Portfolios not allowed.
• Must be text searchable.
Some features may not work in PDF/A documents. For example, if you want insert pages in a PDF/A document, PDF/A View mode will prevent the change. Similarly, firms that currently assemble documents into Binders or Portfolios (which is increasingly common) will find they are not PDF/A compatible.
So it may not be a good idea to always use PDF/A mode. The solution most consultants recommend is to use a “near PDF/A” mode that can easily be converted when you need to. Rick Bornstein has detailed instructions for doing this on his Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog.
A useful White Paper called PDF for Archiving is also available from docsCorp.
Lastly, if you are using Worldox, you can set Word 2010 to default to the PDF/A format when using the Microsoft add-in (although as noted above, that may not always be a desirable solution).