ISO 19005-2 Document Management - Electronic Document File Format for Long-Term Preservation - Part 2: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/A-2)


ISO 19005-2:2011 specifies the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.7, as formalized in ISO 32000-1, for preserving the static visual representation of page-based electronic documents over time.

ISO 32000-1:2008 specifies a digital form for representing electronic documents to enable users to exchange and view electronic documents independent of the environment in which they were created or the environment in which they are viewed or printed.

It is intended for the developer of software that creates PDF files (conforming writers), software that reads existing PDF files and interprets their contents for display and interaction (conforming readers) and PDF products that read and/or write PDF files for a variety of other purposes (conforming products).


This standard is applicable to documents which are non-born digital, such as medical records which are already available with the patients/subject of care.

ISO 19005-2 Document Management - Electronic Document File Format for Long-Term Preservation - Part 2: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/A-2) is applicable to

  • Historical and non-born digital records
  • Documents or records that cannot be converted into DICOM compliant

PDF/A-2 is a constrained form of Adobe PDF version 1.7 (as defined in ISO 32000-1) intended to be suitable for long-term preservation of page-oriented documents for which PDF is already being used in practice.

The primary difference between PDF/A-1 and PDF/A-2 is the use of a later underlying version of PDF. Added capabilities are through compliance with ISO 32000-1 and include:

  • Improvements to tagged PDF (for enhanced accessibility)
  • Compressed Object and XRef streams (for smaller file sizes)
  • PDF/A-compliant file attachments, portable collections and PDF packages
  • Transparency
  • JPEG 2000 compression

The PDF/A-2 standard defines three levels of conformance: conformance level A satisfies all requirements in the specification; level B is a lower level of conformance, "encompassing the requirements of this part of ISO 19005 regarding the visual appearance of electronic documents, but not their structural or semantic properties." An intermediate level of conformance has been introduced for PDF/A-2; Level U conformance represents Level B conformance with the additional requirement that all text in the document has Unicode equivalents.

Information to Get Electronic Health Record (EHR) Standards for India is available at the Get Standard