TWAIN Working Group and PDF Association Announce PDF/R, a PDF Technology-Based ISO Standard

Excerpt: A domain-specific subset of PDF, PDF/R is simple to generate and interpret, allowing it to replace the TIFF and JPEG file formats for capture from imaging systems.

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April 15, 2021
by PDF Association staff

PDF/R format designed expressly to support modern standards-based document imaging workflows

Raleigh, NC – April 15, 2021 – The TWAIN Working Group (TWG) and the PDF Association, today announced PDF/R (a.k.a. PDF/raster), an ISO-standardized format for storing, transporting and exchanging multi-page raster-image documents, such as scanned documents and photographs. As a subset of PDF technology, PDF/R takes advantage of existing widespread support for viewing, printing and processing PDF files. As a domain-specific subset of PDF, it is simple to generate and interpret, allowing it to replace the TIFF and JPEG file formats for capture and delivery of scanner output. PDF/R provides the portability of PDF while offering the core functionality of TIFF, bitonal, grayscale and true color images. PDF/R fits well into existing workflows and is compatible so either existing libraries or newly developed frameworks can be used for embedded systems like firmware. PDF/R features include support for encryption and authentication, and is as extensible as PDF itself.

The project to create PDF/R was started by the TWAIN Working Group as part of its TWAIN Direct project to connect scanners to applications through networks. The PDF Association worked in conjunction with the TWAIN Working Group to develop and formalize PDF/R as an ISO Standard, published as ISO 23504 in late 2020. Although directly integrated into TWAIN Direct scanning technology, PDF/R can also be adopted as a standalone file format for use in other applications.

“Before PDF/R document scanning systems were based on image formats instead of document formats,” said Duff Johnson, CEO, PDF Association. “PDF/R delivers the advantages of PDF to all imaging workflows, allowing even low-cost scanners to produce PDF documents complete with metadata, encryption and digital signatures, if desired, straight from the scanner.”

“The PDF/R standard is a great replacement to the traditional TIFF and JPEG image formats supported by traditional scanning devices and applications. PDF/R delivers compact, high quality images from image acquisition devices providing efficient and secure delivery of documents over a network.”, said Joseph Odore, TWAIN Chair and Product Manager Document and Imaging, Office Products Business Unit of Panasonic Corporation.

About TWAIN Working Group 
The TWAIN Working Group, established in 1992, is a not-for-profit association of industry leaders who have gathered to create a standard that benefits the imaging industry as a whole. TWAIN’s purpose is to provide and foster a universal public standard which links applications and image acquisition devices. The ongoing mission of this organization is to continue to enhance the standard to accommodate future technologies. TWAIN generates multiple opportunities for application developers and users to access information and broaden the standard; through a developer’s forum, main website and online self-certification process. Current members of the TWAIN Working Group include P3iD Technologies, Inc., Panasonic Corporation, ExactCODE GmbH, Fujitsu Computer Products of America Inc., InoTec GmbH Organisationssyteme, Kodak Alaris, Plustek, Inc., Atalasoft, Microtek, Inc., Dynamsoft, Epson America, Inc., LEAD Technologies and Hewlett Packard. More information about PDF/R, the TWAIN API and imaging standards can be obtained at, and