We have a requirement for arcival purposes to have pdf file be 19005-1 compliant. While we have set the GPO for this, it only applies to files that a "saved" or exported as pdf from word 2016.

My question is, is there a way to make the "Print to PDF" function also print to a PDF/A compliant standard? From the googling i have done, this seems to be impossible?

  • What PDF printer are you using, and why aren't you using the built-in "Save as PDF" function that Word already has? Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 20:20
  • this is what i am recommending, however, there is a user education piece that needs to go along with this as they will need to change the way they produce pdf files.
    – w00ki3
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 6:13
  • So once again, which PDF printer are you using? They all have independent options... Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 6:14
  • Check out CutePDF. Our testing dept used to use it. I think the free one can do this. Here is page showing how to do it and Here is the CutePDF website Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 22:02

2 Answers 2


You could install Adobe Acrobat reader, which installs the Adobe PDF printer.
While printing, use Settings to set the printer to PDF/A format.

Another possibility is Foxit PDF Reader, which also installs a PDF printer that has a PDF/A format setting.

  • thanks - yeh might have to look at 3rd party, was trying to see if there was a way of doing it without those
    – w00ki3
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 3:02
  • The Windows PDF printer is very basic and has almost no configuration settings. Microsoft was never in the PDF field, so this is its first attempt in this area, obviously of lower quality than the competition which has been in it since decades.
    – harrymc
    Commented Dec 9, 2019 at 6:57

Data delivered to a printer to show what a document looks on paper will always be inferior to the data present in the original application. Word knows headings, sentences, reading order, possibly image descriptions, and so forth. Trying to deduce logical structure from display information is possible but really hard in the general case.

For a specific doc or set of docs, you might be able to notice, for example, that "Arial Bold 14pt" is always and only used for heading level 2, so detecting heading level 2 is easy. For all possible docs? Not so much.

PDF/A 1-a is for accessability... screen readers for the blind for example. Text descriptions of tables and images, reading order, logical structure.

PDF/A 1-b is for archival purposes. You have to embed all your fonts for example.

I have Word 2016. When I "Save As..." to PDF, there's an "Options" button. One of the check boxes in the resulting dialog is labeled "ISO19005-1 compilant (PDF/A)".

It doesn't specify which PDF/A 1 it supports, A, or B. B is pretty easy, and supporting it at the printer level is no problem. A... not so much. Saving out a file with that box checked shows... PDF/A-1A. Good for them.

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