It’s your PDF Association

You already know that the PDF Association hosts educational events centered on PDF technology. Perhaps you are wondering what else the PDF Association does? This session will provide an overview of the mission and activities of the organization, including: Technical and Liaison Working Groups The ISO standards program Industry standards development Industry programs Technical publications … Read more

PDF’s mindshare

How significant is PDF in itself? How do people think about PDF? Is PDF a proxy term for “digital document”? In an update to his 2018 presentation on “PDF statistics”, PDF Association CEO Duff Johnson reviews some key facts and statistics about PDF’s utilization, popular awareness and reliance on the format.

Making more sense of PDF structures in the wild at scale

This is a follow-on talk from our 2021 PDF Days presentation on the File Observatory. Our team built the File Observatory to support Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s SafeDocs program by enabling parser developers to understand features of PDFs in the wild at scale. In the first part of our presentation, we’ll offer an overview … Read more

PDF Optimization horror-stories

Optimizing PDFs to contain just the right amount of structural information can sometimes be quite challenging. We would like to present autopsies of some of the more gruesome PDF Optimization issues that we’ve encountered. Exact case studies TBD, but potentially touching on Font optimization, weird resource trees, weird structure trees, and auditing PDF space usage.

Facing a pandemic: hit and miss of PDF, how could we have done better?

France had one of the most restrictive laws during the pandemic. Long before vaccine passports were available, people had to fill out, sign, and carry certificates when they left their homes. In addition, while PDF was the electronic file format available by default, the government was using a basic, outdated version of it. The experience … Read more

What’s holding PDF back?

PDF has long become the de facto format for exchanging print-oriented documents on the Web, and for a good reason: it works, and reliably so! However, as the lowest common denominator it is an end-of-line format, and is under constant threat from HTML, which is reflowable, more flexible and, by definition, editable. Enhancements to PDF … Read more

What’s stopping PDF from ubiquitous acceptance?

PDFs have been around for nearly 30 years now and the very ability to ensure perfect representation of graphic content has led the PDF format to become a very powerful ISO standard.  The comprehensive specification of fonts, device-independent colorspaces, transparency, and numerous pre-press features has come to guarantee faithful reproduction of authored content.  When coupled … Read more

Implementing a PDF Library in Ruby

HexaPDF ( is a PDF library written in Ruby. It aims to provide the full spectrum of PDF functionality with the exception of rendering. This presentation focuses on how HexaPDF implements the PDF specification and how Ruby is actually quite a good language for this task. It is said that Ruby, being a scripting language, … Read more

Ideas for interoperable self-updating PDF documents

One criticism that is commonly levelled at PDF is that when looking at a PDF document, the user generally has no easy way of knowing whether the document they’re looking at is current or not. While this isn’t an issue when browsing the web, it can be problematic for users viewing previously downloaded documents. Technical … Read more

The PDF Detectives

PDF is one of the most used document formats in the world! This is a fact we should all be proud of. But the downside of this is that PDF files in all their glory and elegance can also be buggy or poorly constructed. Either through malice or ignorance of the specification. This leads to … Read more