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3-Heights™ PDF Validator – PDF and PDF/A standard conformance validation


Areas of use
Technical details


The 3-Heights™ PDF Validator safeguards the quality of PDF documents and the processes that create them. Documents are checked for compliance with the ISO standards for PDF and PDF/A documents.

PDF is a widespread format; it is therefore important that interoperability is ensured. Documents containing information of relevance to business or intended for archiving, in particular, need to be validated with regard to their correctness and long-term legibility. This is precisely what the Validator does, whether for a single document or an entire batch.

Incoming validation includes:

  • Verification of documents with regard to compliance with the PDF and PDF/A standard
  • Creation of validation reports

3-Heights™ PDF Validator

  • Classification of compliant and non-compliant documents
  • Ensure compliance with corporate directives (Corporate Identity, restrictions to PDF software with regard to creation and processing, etc.)


  • Validation of PDF documents against various PDF specifications
    • PDF/A-1a, PDF/A-1b
    • PDF/A-2a, PDF/A-2b, PDF/A-2u
    • PDF/A-3a, PDF/A-3b, PDF/A-3u
    • PDF 1.4
    • PDF 1.7 (ISO 32000)
  • Two types of report
    • Detailed report (e.g. for software manufacturers)
      • Quantity
      • Type
      • Description
      • PDF object number
      • Page number
    • Summarized report (e.g. for archive gatekeepers)
  • Classification by error, warning and information
  • Validation of conformity for individual documents and complete archives
  • Optional cancellation of validation on occurrence of the first error

3-Heights™ PDF Validator

  • Read encrypted PDF documents
  • Read PDF documents from file or directly from memory
  • PDF/A-specific validation
    • Lexical checks
    • Syntactical checks
    • Semantic checks
  • Report document's claimed conformance level


Properties and benefits

Comprehensive checks and a high throughput performance characterize the 3-Heights™ PDF Validator. As an active member of the ISO organization, PDF Tools AG aims to support future PDF/A and PDF versions. The PDF Validator can validate individual documents and complete archives.

The 3-Heights™ PDF Validator validates documents not only against a selected standard but also against every specification referenced directly or indirectly by the standard. With regard to the validation of PDF/A this means that documents are validated not only against ISO standard 19005-1, 19005-2 and 19005-3 but also against PDF Reference 1.4, ISO 32000 (PDF 1.7), TrueType Specification, Type1 Specification, XMP Specification and many more.

Performance characteristics

  • Exact verification of the PDF standard used
  • Robustness
  • High throughput
  • Scalability
  • Ease of integration
  • Flexible adaptation options
  • Platform independent

Areas of use

Incoming mail

The Validator checks incoming mail documents for conformance with the minimum requirements, for instance with regard to security, compliance, reproducibility or standardization (PDF/A and PDF). Inadequate documents are rejected.


The component also performs the role of an archive gatekeeper, rejecting documents that do not comply with the standard. The Validator can also be used to validate the quality of existing archives and as a quality assurance tool during the conversion of TIFF archives to PDF/A.

Outgoing Mail

The quality of outgoing PDF documents can be checked prior to dispatch. The tool can take guidelines issued by the recipient into account.

Quality management

The Validator can be used in quality management. It is able to monitor compliance with guidelines (CI) across the company or conformity in general, for instance after conversion from another format.

Software manufacturers/OEM

The Validator serves to validate incoming and outgoing documents in applications such as workflow systems and DMS systems as well as - "you sign what you see" - in signature application software.

Technical details

Input formats

  • PDF
  • PDF/A


  • Standards:
    • ISO 19005-1 (PDF/A-1)
    • ISO 19005-2 (PDF/A-2)
    • ISO 19005-3 (PDF/A-3)
    • ISO 32000 (PDF 1.7)
  • Istartor Testsuite
  • ZUGFeRD-compliant

Operating systems

  • Windows 7 or newer
  • Windows Server 2008 or newer
  • HP-UX – PA-RISC and Itanium
  • Linux (SuSE and Red Hat on Intel)
  • Mac OS X
  • Sun Solaris


  • API: C, Java, .NET, COM

Programming languages

All program libraries are written in efficient and thread-safe C++. API offers a selection of the following connections to programming languages:

  • C#, VB .NET, J# via .NET
  • Java via JNI
  • MS Visual Basic, Borland Delphi, MS Office products such as Access and C++ via COM
  • C and C++ via native C

Product variants

  • Shell (command line for batch processing)
  • API (programming interface)


Customized tests such as:

  • Verification of a specific range of resolutions (dpi)
  • Verification of fonts
  • Verification of company certified PDF producers

Further customized verification processes can be added.

Next steps

Test Online

Product-specific success stories

ARAG IT GmbH, Düsseldorf, Germany

Bayer CropScience AG, Germany

plan-box.com AG, Switzerland

Documentation / FAQ

Product flyer

API - Shell

Samples (API)

API - Shell

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Contact via email

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+41 43 411 44 51

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