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I am trying to make PDF/A from LaTeX (not from LuaTeX etc.) with TeX Live 2013 on Fedora Linux. This works:



What cat says? \label{meow}

See question on page \pageref{meow}.


With commands latex, dvips and last

-sProcessColorModel=DeviceCMYK -sDEVICE=pdfwrite
-sOutputFile=meow.pdf meow.ps

Now, when I add \usepackage[pdfa]{hyperref} I got validation errors like

dc:description :: Wrong value type. Expected type 'lang alt'.
The XMP property 'dc:title' is not synchronized with the document
information entry 'Title'.
A device-specific color space (Annotation C or IC) without an
appropriate output intent is used.

Documentation of hyperref says

-- result is usually not in PDF/A, because many features aren't controlled by hyperref --

but how to control those?

Should I even try this path? There are alternatives like pdfx. Which path to use?

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If you want a PDF why not using pdflatex? Using pdflatex I got no error. –  Raniere Silva Aug 26 '13 at 16:02
Yes, you get PDF but not PDF/A with pdflatex. –  Jori Mäntysalo Aug 26 '13 at 16:34
Doesn't tex.stackexchange.com/questions/576/… help? –  You Aug 26 '13 at 19:20
I have read that about pdfx, but didn't figure out how to make it work. Some kind on Hello world -example would be nice. –  Jori Mäntysalo Aug 27 '13 at 5:41

1 Answer 1

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Producing PDF/A-1b compliant documents with LaTeX is a difficult business. There seems to be a bug in pdflatex and pdfx is not working properly.


You need to embed a) metadata and b) a color profile.

Embedding metadata with with hyperxmp

Let’s take your example and add metadata with hyperxmp.

% ===============================
% Filename: test.tex



% ----------------------------------------------
% Add metadata

       pdfauthortitle={Title of the Author},
       pdfcopyright={Copyright (C) 20xx, Copyrightholder},
       pdfkeywords={Keyword1, Keyword2},
       pdfcaptionwriter={Scott Pakin},

What cat says? \label{meow}
See question on page \pageref{meow}.

Now run pdflatex in order to generate test.pdf

Embedding a color profile with ghostscript

  • You need a color profile. Let’s take eciRGB_v2.icc from eci.org

  • To embed the color profile PDFA_def.ps must be customized and put in a place, where ghostscript can find it. (Claudio Beccari wrote a nice article on this topic: XeLaTeX and the PDF archivable format)

% Filename: PDFA_def.ps

/ICCProfile (eciRGB_v2.icc)   % Customize.

[ /Title (Title)                  % Customize.
  /DOCINFO pdfmark

% Define an ICC profile :

[/_objdef {icc_PDFA} /type /stream /OBJ pdfmark
[{icc_PDFA} <</N systemdict /ProcessColorModel get /DeviceGray eq {1} {4} ifelse >> /PUT pdfmark
[{icc_PDFA} ICCProfile (r) file /PUT pdfmark

% Define the output intent dictionary :

[/_objdef {OutputIntent_PDFA} /type /dict /OBJ pdfmark
[{OutputIntent_PDFA} <<
  /Type /OutputIntent             % Must be so (the standard requires).
  /S /GTS_PDFA1                   % Must be so (the standard requires).
  /DestOutputProfile {icc_PDFA}            % Must be so (see above).
  /OutputConditionIdentifier (CGATS TR001)      % Customize
>> /PUT pdfmark
[{Catalog} <</OutputIntents [ {OutputIntent_PDFA} ]>> /PUT pdfmark
  • There is a bug in ghostscript which causes the metadata to be overwritten. So we have to back them up with pdftk: pdftk test.pdf dump_data_utf8 >metadata

  • Run ghostscript: gs -dPDFA -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -dNOOUTERSAVE -dUseCIEColor -sProcessColorModel=DeviceCMYK -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=test_tmp.pdf PDFA_def.ps test.pdf

  • Now restore the metadata: pdftk test_tmp.pdf update_info_utf8 metadata output test_pdfa.pdf


Result of online pdf-validation tool

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Thanks, now we are close to solution. However, I guess that you mean "compile with latex", not with pdflatex. Also, I still got complains like "The XMP property 'dc:description' is not synchronized with the document information entry 'Subject'." –  Jori Mäntysalo Oct 7 '13 at 12:54
Well, LaTeX + dvips won’t work with ghostscript (only Adobe Distiller), so you have to resort to Dvipdfm instead of dvips. –  DG' Oct 7 '13 at 14:34
dvipdfm gives plenty of warnings, but produces .pdf anyway. But result file has no hyperlinks. gs on my system won't work if input and output files are same. –  Jori Mäntysalo Oct 8 '13 at 5:56
There is, as far as I can see, no good solution for working hyperlinks with your setup. You should really consider using pdflatex instead of plain latex. –  DG' Oct 8 '13 at 8:38
If I start with your example, I get no hyperlinks at all. So, I remove draft-option, and get PDF with hyperlinks. And then, when I use gs-command to PDF, I got PDF that is almost PDF/A, but not exactly; see for example dc:description -error above. –  Jori Mäntysalo Oct 9 '13 at 11:01

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