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PDF to PDF/A Guide
Develop your own solution to convert PDF to ISO-compliant PDF/A by integrating with iLovePDF’s REST API.

Remember that in order to use our Tool Guides, you need to have previous knowledge about the basics to processing a PDF with our REST API. We strongly recommend that you read the Processing a PDF guide before starting this one.

What is PDF/A

PDF/A is an ISO-standardized version of the PDF specialized for use in the archiving and long-term preservation of electronic documents.


PDF/A differs from PDF by prohibiting features ill-suited to long-term archiving, such as font linking (as opposed to font embedding) and encryption. The ISO requirements for PDF/A file viewers include color management guidelines, support for embedded fonts, and a user interface for reading embedded annotations.

Basic PDF to PDF/A conversion

iLovePDF API allows you to convert a PDF to PDF/A by simply creating a new task like this:

Basic PDF to PDF/A conversion

Advanced PDF to PDF/A conversion

With conformance you can choose from several PDF/A conformance levels:

  • pdfa-1b
  • pdfa-1a
  • pdfa-2b
  • pdfa-2u
  • pdfa-2a
  • pdfa-3b
  • pdfa-3u
  • pdfa-3a

Leaving conformance empty will set by default the pdfa-1a parameter. If the conversion cannot be done, it will try automatically by default the pdfa-1b parameter.


Setting allow_downgrade to false will not downgrade the conformance level if the conversion fails. This function is set to true by default and will try all conformance levels until the conversion can be done successfully.


So a final conversion example would look like this:

Advanced PDF to PDF/A conversion