Properties and benefits

This component is characterized by high performance and a comprehensive range of services. These functions enable reliable, ISO-compliant long-term storage of large PDF document inventories. The guaranteed visual reproducibility and digital signature also lends the document all the properties of an unalterable record and reduces compliance risks.

Performance characteristics

  • Support for all PDF/A conformance levels
  • Report on pre- and post-validation
  • Text recognition thanks to optional connection to an OCR engine (ABBYY)
  • Authenticity and integrity thanks to digital signatures
  • Embedding of metadata from an external source
  • Platform independent
  • Performance
  • Convert PDF documents to PDF/A-1, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3
    • Support for all PDF/A compliance levels
    • Make color spaces device-independent, e.g. by embedding ICC profile or setting an output intent
    • Embed and subset fonts
    • Colorants management (PDF/A-2 and later)
    • Recover corrupt documents
    • Repair corrupt data such as embedded font programs or images
    • Remove transparency (PDF/A-1 only)
    • Remove malicious content such as attached files (PDF/A-1 and PDF/A-2) and JavaScript actions
    • Remove multimedia content such as video and sound
    • Conversion of embedded and attached files (PDF/A-2 and later)
    • Repair metadata and make them consistent
  • Conversion process control
    • Pre- and post-validation
    • Conversion reporting
    • Write the application log to a log file
    • Automatically determine optimal compliance based on input file (optional)
    • Enables sophisticated error handling
Functionality graphic 3-Heights™ PDF to PDF/A Converter
  • Digital signatures, PDF/A-compliant
    • Apply PAdES-LTV (Long Term Validation) signatures
    • Embedded trust chain, time-stamp and revocation information (OCSP, CRL)
    • Various types of cryptographic providers
      • Windows certificate store
      • Hardware such as hardware security module (HSM), smart cards, and USB tokens
      • Online signature services
        • 3-Heights™ Signature Creation and Validation Service
        • SwissSign Digital Signing Service
        • SwissSign SuisseID Signing Service
        • QuoVadis sealsign
        • Swisscom All-in Signing Service
        • GlobalSign Digital Signing Service
    • Add an optional visual appearance of the signature (page, size, color, position, text, background image, etc.)
    • Mass signing of documents
  • Read input from and write output document to file or memory
  • Read encrypted input files
  • Enhance output file
    • Set metadata
    • Linearization for fast web view
    • Use PDF file compression features (PDF/A-2 and later)
  • Text recognition using OCR engine (optional)
    • Replace old OCR text or skip images with existing OCR text
    • Set the OCR language and options
    • Deskew and de-noise images
    • Detect barcodes
    • List OCR plug-ins
  • Add embedded files (PDF/A-2) and associated files (PDF/A-3)
  • Embedded XML invoice data conforming to the ZUGFeRD specification (PDF/A-3)

Incoming mail

All incoming PDF documents can be converted directly to PDF/A for long-term archiving. Documents that cannot be converted can be rejected as soon as they are received by email. This increases process quality and reduces the need for subsequent quality controls.


The converter processes documents from all corporate business areas during archiving. It quickly and easily converts documents worthy of retention into PDF/A and verifies conformity of the result with the ISO standard. It therefore acts as a gatekeeper, ensuring that only compliant files find their way into business processes or a long-term archive.

Other areas of use

  • Standardization
  • Quality assurance
  • Compliance with legal requirements

Input formats

  • PDF‑1.2 to PDF‑1.7

Output formats

  • 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 1.0 to 1.7

*) The input file must fulfill the relevant conditions for PDF/A creation.


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

Operating Systems

  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10 - 32 & 64 bit
  • Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016 – 32 & 64 bit
  • HP‑UX 11i incl. ia64 (Itanium) - 64 bit
  • IBM AIX 6.1 - 64 bit
  • macOS 10.4 - 32 & 64 bit
  • Linux 2.4 & 2.6 - 32 & 64 bit
  • Oracle Solaris 10, SPARC & Intel
  • HP-UX 11, PA-RISC2.0 - 32 bit


  • API: C, Java, .NET, COM
  • Signing: MS CryptAPI, PKCS#11

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

Product Variants

  • Shell tool (command line)
  • API (programming interface)
  • Windows service (system service)

The 3-Heights™ PDF to PDF/A Converter first analyzes the input file based on the level of conformity (Level A, B or U). Conversion to the highest possible level of conformity is then carried out with the aid of the result from the analysis. There is also an option to carry out an analysis of the output document.

The conversion process embeds missing fonts and optimizes them by forming subsets. Matching color profiles are created for device-dependent color spaces. An output intent is created where necessary. Prohibited content such as JavaScripts and unnecessary content is removed and required content completed where possible. The file is reformatted during conversion and safe repairs are carried out.

Digital signing: The application of an advanced electronic corporate signature or personal Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) guarantees the authenticity and integrity of archived documents. Embedding a time stamp and revocation information keeps the digital signature verifiable in the long-term.

References 3-Heights™ PDF to PDF/A Converter