PDF/A in upcoming Version of DTPO / ABBYY v11?


in a future version i would really like to see a feature to convert pdf-documents with PDF/A-1b conformity.

Is there a chance?

Generation of PDF/A-1b documents is certainly possible, however in the current version of the Apple PDF developer libraries there are several serious incompatibilities with PDF/A documents, which in the worst case can lead to data loss when saving modified files. If these incompatibilities are resolved in a future update to OS X we will be able to reconsider this feature.

How are we moving along with this?

I’m increasingly needing to produce PDF/A for legal requirements and can no longer scan direct to DTPO because it does not have this functionality. This is really killing my workflow.

Is there any likelihood of this functionality in the near future?

As Alan noted, that will require action by Apple. We have no control over Apple or their schedules, so cannot answer your question as to when it will be possible to meet your needs.

How is it possible then that Adobe and PDFpen pro are able to offer PDF/A on the Mac? PDFpen I believe use Nuance to create the conversions, but Adobe have this functionality in Acrobat X Pro and above.

I can feel a script coming on. I need to see what is in the pdfpro and acrobat libraries. Normally I do the conversion right at the end before sending the documents out, in acrobat but it should be very scriptable.


Yes, of course that’s possible, if one develops proprietary software, as Adobe and Nuance have done. But that’s not the development focus for DEVONthink, which accommodates a variety of existing software filetypes within a database application that’s intended to assist users to manage and make use of the information content of document collections.

DEVONthink uses the PDFKit code built into OS X, and uses Apple’s developer tools. There’s the rub, from your point of view. It’s highly unlikely that we would write our own PDF app, or outliner, or other app that might be requested by users. That would divert developer resources from our primary mission.

There do exist third-party apps to convert PDFs to the format you request. Of course, if Apple provides for that in OS X, we could satisfy your request without major development resource needs.

Only app that I have found that has a documented way to produce pdf/a files with applescript is ABBY Finereader.

This script works with version 12 (the direct download version).

tell application "DEVONthink Pro"
   set theSelection to the selection
   repeat with theRecord in theSelection
      set thepath to path of item 1 of theRecord
      tell application "FineReader"
         repeat until not (is busy)
         end repeat
         export to pdf thepath from file thepath export mode page image only make pdfa true
      end tell
   end repeat
end tell

This is pretty speedy and leaves the document untouched but for stripping out ocred text.

If you want the text then make the export line

 export to pdf thepath from file thepath export mode text and pictures make pdfa true

This is just a variation of the script in this thread which shows the use of other parameters: ABBYY Finereader Pro v12

Its a conversion I would do only at the end before filing of the legal documents and only on duplicates.