There are several discussions on the web on how to generate PDF/A-1b compliant documents.

One approach can be found on http://support.river-valley.com/wiki/index.php?title=Generating_PDF/A_compliant_PDFs_from_pdftex which is implemented as far as I can see in the pdfx package.

I created a minimal test.tex file:

Hello, world! 

From what I understand, I need to place metadata in a separate file called test.xmpdata:

\Author{Ada Lovelace}
\Org{TeX University}

I compile test.tex using pdfTeX 3.1415926-1.40.10-2.2 (TeX Live 2009/Debian).

For validation of PDF/A-1b compliancy, I use jhove and a PDF export from LibreOffice as a positive control.

jhove -m pdf-hul test.pdf

However, jhove laments

ErrorMessage: Lexical error
  Offset: 16530

So my test.pdf file does not seem to be PDF/A compliant. Could you please give me hints on additional diagnostics to run in order to pin down the problem?

  • Interestingly, Adobe's Acrobat Reader shows a hint that the generated document would be PDF/A compliant. So maybe this is just a jhove problem. Could maybe someone who possesses Adobe's Acrobat Professional use the Preflight functionality to validate this? But at least pdfinfo test.pdf isn't showing the correct metadata either. – Penguin Nurse Nov 1 '12 at 10:57
  • See also How to create tagged PDF? and LaTeX accessibility – Martin Schröder Nov 1 '12 at 11:46
  • Thanks a lot for your comments so far, but they didn't help me to solve the problem. The thread on width information for rendered glyphs might become important for me if I start using math fonts. – Penguin Nurse Nov 1 '12 at 19:28
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    @PenguinNurse According to Acrobat X Pro's Preflight, small2e.pdf is not a valid PDF/A-1b. You can find a summary here. – sebschub Nov 14 '12 at 9:30

Generating PDFA-1b compliant documents is not possible with the default pdftex. There is a minor bug in pdftex resulting in non-compliant EOL markers. There is a bug report from 2011 about this problem which successfully resolves the issue. You can find it here:


There is also a file attached to this report: http://sarovar.org/tracker/download.php/106/493/4341/10821/verify_this_sample.zip

It contains instructions on how to patch pdftex to generate PDFA-1b compatible files. The package also contains a patched version of pdfx. Unfortunately, these changes did not made it into the code base yet.

  • 2
    This is fixed in the latest Tex Live source! See svn repo and mailing list. – Florian Bw Dec 17 '13 at 16:43
  • 1
    It seems that the link is not longer working.... – Peter Ebelsberger Feb 12 '15 at 16:02
  • This answer used to be correct at time of writing but it is completely wrong as of today. How to handle this? Flag down, delete or create a new answer? The problem is a high pagerank. For answers see here. – tanGIS Jun 19 '20 at 19:10

I had to validate a document through jhove, and I managed to do it using pdftk on the PDF that was produced by pdflatex. I simply used the command

pdftk MyDocument.pdf output ValidatedDocument.pdf

I hope it can help you!

  • 1
    Well, it would of course nice to create a compliant document directly from TeX or LaTeX. But the good thing about your solution is that it doesn't require proprietary software. – Penguin Nurse Jan 6 '13 at 14:52
  • I totally agree (on both points!). – Bruno Jan 6 '13 at 18:06
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    -1! This answer is misleading and thus, plain wrong! In no way does pdftk convert a non-PDF/A document into a PDF/A, nor does it really validate a PDF/A document. There is not even a hint in the pdftk documentation which suggests so. – Kurt Pfeifle Sep 17 '14 at 16:14
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    I am sorry if this answer is misleading. Yet, I really used pdftk to produce a PDF file which was "validated" by jhove as I wrote. I am not sure the resulting PDF is a PDF/A, simply that it passed jhove tests so that my grad school accepted it. – Bruno Sep 18 '14 at 7:43

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