I have noticed that my PDFs (which I compile from LaTeX using PdfTexify on Windows 7 in MikTeX 2.9 with WinEdt) sometimes do not render properly on Mac OS X (e.g. the contents of some figures may not render) or on other platforms (e.g. on the iPad which uses iOS).

I have read that PDF/A can help with this, and in fact, in the past, I have converted my PDFs to PDF/A using Adobe Acrobat Pre-Flight, and this solved the rendering problems.

However, I am now working on a new file, and when I try to use Adobe Acrobat Pre-flight to convert my PDF to PDF/A, I get several conversion errors. I don't remember having conversion errors in the past, and I am not sure how to fix them. Below is an example of a report from Adobe Acrobat Pre-Flight for my current document:

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This brings me to the following closely related questions:

  • How can I generate a PDF that is PDF/A compliant when compiling a LaTeX document using PdfTexify?

  • Does the LaTeX community have any recommendations about how to approach this process?

  • In what PDF standard does PdfTexify generate files by default?

  • Did you tried to compile using only pdflatex in a prompt command?
    – Sigur
    Jul 4, 2012 at 21:34
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    Related question, but probably not a duplicate (?): How to generate PDF/A and PDF/X?
    – doncherry
    Jul 4, 2012 at 22:35
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    I doubt that PDF/A will help you with issues with viewers. pdfTeX generates standard-conforming PDF, so any problems with viewers are most likely bugs in these viewers. Jul 5, 2012 at 9:14
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    Considering the error messages, I suspect an embedded figure is the non-compliant part. Could you try to convert each PDF you are embedding separately to PDF/A to find out whether they are the reason? Jul 5, 2012 at 10:49
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    @KurtPeifle: PDF 32000-1:2008 Jul 7, 2012 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


My first guess is that you selected the 'wrong' PDF/A type. There are two:

  • PDF/A-1b: The 'b' in the name stands for 'basic'. PFA/A-1b really is the most simple standard of PDF formats to implement.
  • PDF/A-1a: Here the 'a' is for 'advanced' (well, that's my own interpretation -- in reality it is for 'accessible'; but 'advanced' rhymes better to 'basic' in my ears). PDF/A-1a does require to meet all the rules of the '1b'-standard, plus some more. One of the most prominent one being 'tagging' (of page content), which will make life easier for screen readers, allow for reflow of texts on mobile devices, etc.)

It is a sad fact for most users that Acrobat cannot transform every single PDF document into a valid PDF/A-1b, and is much less successful with PDF/A-1a...

You should try again and select PDF/A-1b as the conversion profile.

Just always remember: There is no such thing as PDF/A as a standard. There is only PDF/A-1b (basic) and PDF/A-1a (advanced). 'PDF/A' as an expression is commonly used only out of laziness (and hence leads to a lot of confusion)...'

  • 2
    just a typo: in the second item of the list you should have PDF/A-1a and not PDF/A-1b again
    – Spike
    Jul 8, 2012 at 8:09

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