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pdf-tools.com: Quality Assurance in PDF
Business Critical Files May Not Be Legible in the Future

To learn more, go to: www.pdf-tools.com

If you bake a cake, you start by checking the "best before" date on the cake mix, smelling the milk to ensure it's still good, and looking at the eggs when cracking them open. If any of the ingredients are bad or have reached their expiry date, you won't use them. In comparison, how many companies check the PDF documents they receive from external (or other internal) sources before entering them into business processes, where the cost of failure is considerably higher?

PDF is the preferred processing and archiving format for millions of business documents that have to be retained and reproducible for years. But it is alarming how few users are aware of the potential quality problems with PDF or analyze the quality of their PDF documents. PDF files that are created and processed in your daily business can contain corruptions that allow the documents to be viewed and appended today, but may hinder or wholly prevent their reproducibility in the future.

It may astound you, but many PDF creators systematically produce corrupt PDF files, i.e. every PDF file they create is corrupt. This applies not only to free creators, but also several well-known and popular commercial creators and applications.

Corruption can creep into a PDF file in several ways. There are endless possible inconsistencies with the semantics of imbedded files (fonts, Java script, XML's) and object attributes. These corruptions can be caused by creation, manipulation, or conversion processes. Another common cause is a file being truncated when it is transmitted. The physical structure of a PDF file (see picture) is quite different from it's logical document structure. First the header is read, which identifies the file as PDF, then the trailer. The trailer points to the cross-reference table, which then points to the objects containing pages, fonts etc. If the end of the PDF file is truncated, the trailer is incomplete and the process breaks down before the document can be read.

It is possible to view some slightly corrupt PDF files with a PDF reader. Adobe" Acrobat for example can repair certain minor errors "on the fly" to make the PDF files viewable. It however does not analyze the entire file and cannot repair most types of corruption. The future legibility of the PDF files is not guaranteed with this process.

The logical approach to guarantee the future legibility of PDF files is to properly analyze the files before they are entered into a business process. Corrupt files could be immediately identified and repaired or replaced. Once the business process (which could include a number of PDF manipulation and conversion functions) is completed, the output can again be analyzed to ensure that it is still valid.

Is this analysis really necessary? Let's put the question differently. Take for example older financial statements that were archived in PDF format. If you cannot quickly reproduce those statements when the tax auditor visits, how much effort will it cost you to reconstruct them?

Despite the necessity, there are relatively few analysis tools available for PDF documents. This is primarily due to the in-depth knowledge of PDF required to produce such a tool. pdf-tools.com first developed a PDF analysis and repair tool for internal quality assurance, i.e. to test and confirm the quality of the PDF documents that our own tools were creating and processing. The 3-Heights™ PDF Repair Tool is now available on the market in API, Shell and Desktop versions for both Windows and a variety of Unix platforms. The tool analyzes and repairs PDF files, and can recover information out of irreparable PDF files.

Integrating a PDF analysis and repair tool into your business process is a lot easier than you may think. Investigating the possibilities today could save a lot of headaches and considerable effort in the future. If you would like learn more about analyzing and repairing PDF documents, or about the 3-Heights™ PDF Repair Tool, please visit www.pdf-tools.com or contact: pdfsales@pdf-tools.com.

PDF Tools AG
Geerenstrasse 33
8185 Winkel
Switzerland

phone: +41 43 411 44 50
fax: +41 43 411 44 45
pdfsales@pdf-tools.com
www.pdf-tools.com

To learn more, go to: www.pdf-tools.com

About IT Solutions Guide
IT Solutions Guide (ITSG), aimed at development and corporate managers, is a free quarterly supplement focusing on the most competitive tools, solutions, and services available in the IT and infrastructure technology world today.

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pdf-tools.com: Quality Assurance in PDF. If you bake a cake, you start by checking the 'best before' date on the cake mix, smelling the milk to ensure it's still good, and looking at the eggs when cracking them open. If any of the ingredients are bad or have reached their expiry date, you won't use them. In comparison, how many companies check the PDF documents they receive from external (or other internal) sources before entering them into business processes, where the cost of failure is considerably higher?

pdf-tools.com: Quality Assurance in PDF. If you bake a cake, you start by checking the 'best before' date on the cake mix, smelling the milk to ensure it's still good, and looking at the eggs when cracking them open. If any of the ingredients are bad or have reached their expiry date, you won't use them. In comparison, how many companies check the PDF documents they receive from external (or other internal) sources before entering them into business processes, where the cost of failure is considerably higher?

pdf-tools.com: Quality Assurance in PDF. If you bake a cake, you start by checking the 'best before' date on the cake mix, smelling the milk to ensure it's still good, and looking at the eggs when cracking them open. If any of the ingredients are bad or have reached their expiry date, you won't use them. In comparison, how many companies check the PDF documents they receive from external (or other internal) sources before entering them into business processes, where the cost of failure is considerably higher?




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