MetaServer > Help > Convert to PDF/A

160-060 MetaServer Convert – Convert to PDF/A

With MetaServer’s Convert to PDF/A action, you can convert standard PDF files to archivable PDF files for long-term preservation (PDF/A). You can also sign your PDFs using the “myBica sign service”. 

To output PDF/A:

Step 1: You add the Convert to PDF/A action just before the Export action(s) used to output the PDF/A.

Make sure that any OCR processing (Extract actions or Convert to Searchable PDF actions) occur before compression.

If you also apply a Convert to PDF/MRC action in the same workflow, make sure this action is set before the Convert to PDF/A action.

Step 2: In your Export action(s), select “Processed PDF” as the File source. More about that later.

To add the Convert to PDF/A action, select the action after which you want to insert the Convert to PDF/A action and press Add -> Convert -> to PDF/A. The Setup window will automatically open.

You can also open the setup window of an existing Convert to PDF/A action by double clicking it or pressing the “…” button on the right side of the action, as shown below.

In our example, we will make use of the “CB – DPE” workflow. This workflow is automatically installed with CaptureBites MetaServer.

The Convert to PDF/A action setup window opens…

First, add a description to your action.

01 – Convert to: PDF/A contains different sub-standards. The “Part A” sub-standard (1a, 2a, 3a) are the most detailed variants that requires specific information to better assist persons with certain disabilities. For example, text must be stored as Unicode so text-to-speech engines can be supported and document structure, the reading order as well as descriptions of pictures, must be included.

Other sub-standards, “Part B” (1b, 2b, 3b) and “Part U” (1u, 2u, 3u), are less-demanding variants, which are sufficient in most cases. Part B and Part U standards are typically used for scanned documents.

For more detailed information about the differences between each sub-standard, please visit the following PDF ISO standards support website.

02 – Linearize: a linearized PDF is optimized for fast web access. In a web browser, the first page of a linearized PDF can be viewed without downloading the entire PDF file. A non-linearized PDF needs to be completely downloaded before the first page can be displayed.

NOTE: the size of a linearized PDF is slightly larger.

03 – Convert always: enable this option to always convert your document to PDF/A, even if the original document was already PDF/A. This can be useful to convert PDF/A documents with a different sub-standard to a single sub-standard.

04 – Allow upgrade: enable this option to allow PDF/A documents to be upgraded to a higher sub-standard if required. For example, if the desired standard is PDF/A-1a but the document contains transparency or other elements that cannot be converted to the target standard, the standard will be upgraded to PDF/A-2a.

05 – Allow downgrade: enable this option to allow PDF/A documents to be downgraded to a lower sub-standard if required. For example, if the desired standard is PDF/A-1a but the document contains text that can’t be extracted, the standard will be downgraded to PDF/A-1b.

06 – Error if visual difference: enable this option to report any visual differences between the original document and converted PDF/A version. For example, embedded fonts, that are subsetted, can be replaced with non-subsetted fonts from the local system. This can lead to visual differences if the system font does not match the embedded font.

07 – Flatten signatures: this option is enabled by default. We recommend not disabling this option.

08 – PDF with errors: in the case a PDF causes an error during the conversion process, you can send the PDF to the Errors queue or to another action using the “Skip” option.

For example, skipped PDFs can be converted to image-only PDF using the Convert to Image PDF action. After that, you can retry the Convert to PDF/A action once more to convert to PDF/A or sign the skipped PDF.

09 – Sign: enable this option if you wish to sign your PDFs. We integrated digital signing using the “myBica sign service”. The plan is to add other sign services in the future as the need arises.

Currently, the “myBica sign service” cannot create linearized signed PDF files. So make sure to disable the Linearize option when generating signed PDF/A files.

TIP: you can copy the current settings and paste them in another setup window of the same type. Do this by pressing the Settings button in the bottom left of the Setup window and by selecting Copy. Then open another setup window of the same type and select Paste.

To export the documents as PDF/A, select “Processed PDF” as the File Source in your export action(s).

File source selection in Export to Folder

File source selection in Export to Email, if you want to attach the converted PDF/A to the email

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