Duff Johnson

Executive Director at PDF Association

Founder of Document Solutions, Inc. in 1996, Duff Johnson is a 23 year veteran of the electronic document space and a recognized leader in the electronic document technology industry.

Now an independent consultant, Duff serves the PDF industry as ISO Project co-Leader (and US TAG chair) for ISO 32000 and ISO 14289.

Previously Vice Chairman of the Board, Duff Johnson is now Executive Director of the PDF Association, and serves the members as coordinator of several working groups.

Duff Johnson

Executive Director at PDF Association

Founder of Document Solutions, Inc. in 1996, Duff Johnson is a 23 year veteran of the electronic document space and a recognized leader in the electronic document technology industry.

Now an independent consultant, Duff serves the PDF industry as ISO Project co-Leader (and US TAG chair) for ISO 32000 and ISO 14289.

Previously Vice Chairman of the Board, Duff Johnson is now Executive Director of the PDF Association, and serves the members as coordinator of several working groups.


The new PDF Association website

January 29, 2019
News PDF Association news

Welcome to the brand new PDF Association website. This sweeping relaunch has a modern and user-friendly interface and offers interesting contributions for every visitor.

Electronic Document Conference: Call for Papers

November 26, 2018
Announcement News PDF Association news

This event allows those engaged with electronic document technology focusing on developers, product managers, professional document users, creative professionals and others, to exchange views and discuss subjects of common interest. The Electronic Document Conference 2019 will …

Have we passed ‘peak PDF’?

October 31, 2018

How do we gain insight into how users’ views of documents are shifting? Google Trends is an increasingly interesting source of high-level marketplace data. By aggregating Google’s search data over time, reporting a term’s popularity …

Refried PDF

July 31, 2018

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. …

Using PDF/UA in accessibility checklists

June 8, 2018

PDF/UA, like PDF itself, is internally complex, but used correctly, actually makes things easier.

PDFpackage – a lightweight content management platform

April 5, 2018

In a recent article I discussed using PDF as a container to organize, transport and archive collections of content. Since then I’ve had numerous discussions about this idea with members of the PDF technology and related …

PDFcontainer – a proposal

February 6, 2018

Introduction PDF technology profiles can be leveraged to provide trusted, predictable containers for record types that often present workflow and preservation challenges, with email and case files (associated files in arbitrary formats) as primary use-cases. Community-developed …

“PDF can do THAT?!”

December 15, 2017

PDF files deliver a complete package of information that defines a document; everything that’s needed to represent the text, graphics and layout that the recipient receives. To most people, PDF is “electronic paper” – the …

The only digital document format

December 8, 2017

What is a “document”? A document is a record of some (typically written) content – a publication, a contract, a statement, a painting – at a moment in time. Until the advent of computers (and …

The Power of the Page

November 14, 2017

It’s a question that vexes vendors of web-based solutions everywhere: why do people still insist on PDF files? And why does PDF’s mindshare keep going up? “PDF is such antediluvian technology!” they say. “It’s pre-web, are …

PDF 2.0: The worldwide standard for electronic documents has evolved

August 30, 2017

The Portable Document Format is perhaps the most common example of a de facto standard, so much so that Wikipedia features PDF on its “de facto standards” page. From Ethernet and 802.11 to HTTP and …

SHA-1 is gone… and it’s deprecated in PDF 2.0 as well

February 28, 2017

As we reported yesterday, those in the crypto world are well-aware that Google and others have proven that SHA-1, the venerable cryptographic hash function standard, is dead. The consequences, however, are yet to be determined. …

veraPDF accepted for PREFORMA Phase 3 acceptance testing

February 17, 2017

The veraPDF consortium has completed PREFORMA’s prototyping phase, and has been awarded the contract for the final six month testing phase.

PDF 2.0 interop events help ensure consistent implementations

February 2, 2017

The first post-Adobe ISO standard for PDF technology creates new opportunities for developers of electronic document software. Berlin, February 2, 2017 –The PDF Association, the non-profit industry trade-group for organizations specializing in PDF technology, today …

New Section 508 rules require PDF/UA for PDF 1.7 creators

January 31, 2017

The US Access Board has issued new rules updating its “Section 508” accessibility requirements. PDF/UA-1 support is required for PDF creation software producing PDF 1.7 files.

Apple’s PDF problems deepen with Sierra

January 5, 2017

Apple’s PDF problems get worse on Sierra, says Tidbits publisher.

veraPDF 0.28 – last version before the 1.0 release!

December 22, 2016

The final beta-release of veraPDF is now available. Version 1.0 is expected on January 9th 2017. The 1.0 release is required by PREFORMA in order to initiate its Phase 3 testing and acceptance process.

Fast Business: “10 things you need to know about PDF”

November 22, 2016

It’s all about the strategic perspective on PDF.

PDF Day Australia featured in Technology Decisions

November 21, 2016

The website Technology Decisions wrote: For the first time, PDF Day will be held in Australia during November. The event is designed to assist CIOs, document management experts and electronic content policymakers understand ISO-standardised PDF …

veraPDF 0.26: new PDF parser, new batch processor

November 18, 2016

veraPDF version 0.26 includes the first beta release of the new purpose-built PDF parser. This release can be used alongside the PDFBox parser to compare results. In addition, a new batch processor and updated reporting …

IDM asks: “will you be ready for PDF 2.0”?

November 12, 2016

ISO 32000 Project co-Leader and PDF Association member Peter Wyatt talks PDF 2.0 and the upcoming PDF Day Australia conference on November 25 in Sydney.

veraPDF: have your say

November 8, 2016

Have you used veraPDF? Let the project’s funder know your views!

veraPDF 0.24 released

October 11, 2016

The latest veraPDF now includes batch processing (beta), additional error-handling and extraction of the AFRelationship key.

Register now for PDF Day Australia!

September 9, 2016

Looking for PDF expertise in the Asia / Pacific region! Come to PDF Day Australia on November 25, 2016 in Sydney!

veraPDF 0.22 released

September 8, 2016

The latest incremental release reflects user requests, some minor fixes and a decision taken in the PDF Validation TWG.

US federal agencies approve PDF/A

September 2, 2016

US agencies have released updated guidelines on digitizing books and other materials.

Microsoft announces support for PDF/UA on MacOS

August 25, 2016

PDF/UA documents from Microsoft are on the way.

Making “information management” real

August 15, 2016

ECM needs a common portable container to move information management to the next level.

veraPDF 0.20 now available

August 4, 2016

version 0.20 is a minor update to the software. In addition, 34 files have been aded to the test corpus for PDF/A-2b.

veraPDF 0.18 released

July 14, 2016

veraPDF ships a new interim release.

PDF Association gets new Board, new Chair

June 22, 2016

The composition of the Board now includes six from Europe and four from North America, including Adlib Software, Adobe Systems, callas software, Datalogics, DocuSign, Intarsys, Levigo, LuraTech (a unit of Foxit), Nitro and Satz-Rechen-Zentrum Berlin.

veraPDF 0.16: full support for all parts and conformance levels of PDF/A

June 3, 2016

The veraPDF purpose-built validator for PDF/A now covers all parts and conformance levels of PDF/A.

Apple’s True Tone brings color management parity to iOS

May 9, 2016

Apple’s latest tablet brings ColorSync functionality to iOS.

veraPDF 0.14 drops with launch of demo website

May 5, 2016

Along with 65 new atomic test suite files, the 0.14 release features validation of all parts and conformance levels of PDF/A.

AIIM’s Standards Award goes to PDF Association Executive Director

April 28, 2016

PDF Association Executive Director Duff Johnson wins the Thomas Bagg Standards Award.

PDF from a USB key keeps things cool

April 8, 2016

PDF’s value-proposition is exemplified by a USB key developed to monitor temperatures in shipping containers.

veraPDF 0.12 now available

March 31, 2016

veraPDF 0.12 features improved PDF/A-2b and PDF/A-3b validation and a complete REST API.

PDF/UA from Google Docs is coming soon!

March 31, 2016

An optional PDF/UA conversion add-on will soon allow users to create PDF/UA documents from Google Docs.

AIIM announces publication of ANSI/AIIM/ISO 14289-1:2016

March 29, 2016

PDF/UA is the newest US National Standard, and it’s available for only $15 from aiim.org!

Apache PDFBox 2.0 lands

March 21, 2016

It’s a milestone release for this open source, permissively-licensed Java software for PDF creation and processing.

Nordic Council of Ministers adopts PDF/UA

March 11, 2016

The Nordic Council of Ministers adopts PDF/UA for a key publication series.

veraPDF 0.10 now available

March 7, 2016

Release 0.10 includes a substantially improved CLI, an initial set of PDF/A-2 test files, and more.

Quark Xpress 2016 now converts PDF to native Quark objects

March 7, 2016

The latest Quark Xpress will be able to repurpose PDF page content into its own object and layout model.

WhatsApp adds support for PDF before other formats

March 4, 2016

A world-leading chat application adds PDF support before any other.

Microsoft to “improve support” for PDF/UA in 2016

February 23, 2016

Among many other accessibility-related enhancements to its Office products in 2016, Microsoft plans to improve support for PDF/UA.

A new Competence Center for PDF/E

February 22, 2016

As with every other industry, the architectural, engineering and construction industries have been slowly transitioning from paper to electronic documentation and specifications. PDF/E is the ISO subset of PDF designed for these applications.

What you may be missing when you search PDF documents

February 11, 2016

PDF files can be hard to search with confidence. Here’s why it matters, how it happens, and what you can do about it.

PDF Accessibility Days videos and presentations now available!

February 8, 2016

Videos and presentations from the November, 2015 PDF Accessibility Days are now available!

3D PDF Consortium joins the PDF Association

February 5, 2016

Now a Partner Organization, the 3D PDF Consortium will bring the experience of 3D PDF development and implementation to the PDF Association.

veraPDF 0.8 released!

December 23, 2015

veraPDF 0.8 includes several updated features and a variety of bug-fixes.

2015 PDF Technical Conference videos are now posted!

December 15, 2015

Videos from the PDF Technical Conference are now posted!

Google updates PDF viewer in Chrome

December 8, 2015

Google’s latest release of Chrome includes updated support for PDF viewing.

PDF end user experience survey for people with disabilities

December 7, 2015

Karlen Communications is surveying users with disabilities to better understand the end user experience of PDF documents within that population.

Clarifying the standard

December 1, 2015

SD Times talks PDF with a number of developers in the electronic document field, including several PDF Association members.

Comments are due on the European Single Electronic Format

November 25, 2015

The amended Transparency Directive will require public company annual financial reports in an ESEF beginning January 1, 2020.

veraPDF 0.6 released

November 18, 2015

The veraPDF consortium has announced the 0.6 release of the veraPDF PDF/A validation software and test-suite. This release features validation of conformance criteria for PDF/A-1b.

European Accessibility Act Coming in December 2015

October 30, 2015

The European Disability Forum reports that European Commissioner Thyssen has confirmed that the European Accessibility Act, under development since 2012, is ready for discussion, and possible approval by the College of Commissioners on 2 December. …

Firefox dropping plug-in support

October 12, 2015

Firefox will drop support for plugins based on NPAPI by the end of 2016.

New PRC-based 3D PDF component released

September 24, 2015

Announcing a new 3D PDF solution using PRC.

New York Times: Print is far from dead

September 23, 2015

Paper is still with us: “Digital books accounted last year for around 20 percent of the market, roughly the same as they did a few years ago.”

Phil Ydens and Jon Callas to keynote at the PDF Technical Conference 2015

September 21, 2015

2 PDF-packed days; 3 tracks, 37 sessions, and two great keynote speakers: Adobe’s Phil Ydens and Silent Circle’s Jon Callas!

veraPDF consortium releases 0.4 of its prototype PDF/A validator

September 17, 2015

The 0.4 release includes the first complete (in principle) PDF/A-1b validation profile, and while unverified, tests well against the internal corpora.

New PDF/A and PDF/UA flyers are here!

September 3, 2015

Official PDF Association PDF/A and PDF/UA flyers updated

Microsoft adds “Print to PDF” native to Windows 10

August 28, 2015

PDF creation is now native in Windows.

Unicode 8 core specification now available

August 27, 2015

The complete specification for Unicode 8.0 is now available, with 7,716 new characters.

veraPDF consortium issues first public software release

July 15, 2015

Release 0.2 of veraPDF does not yet perform PDF/A validation, but as a proof-of-concept it demonstrates the approach selected for project.

Sophos: Google easily fooled by PDF link-farms

July 10, 2015

Link-farming with PDF (still) fools Google. What are they parsing, and what are they doing with what they get?

Samsung may soon support PDF annotation features

July 7, 2015

Will Android heavyweight Samsung introduce PDF annotation support?

Unicode 8.0 is now available

June 18, 2015

The latest version of the Unicode Standard adds 7,716 new characters and six new scripts. New additions range from emoji characters (including five modifiers for diversity), new ideographs for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, support for more lowercase Cherokee …

PDF/A use in archives correlated with page size (!?!)

June 11, 2015

PDF/A adoption remains slow, even in European academic archives.

Comments close on the Section 508 NPRM

June 1, 2015

Will PDF/UA be an option or a requirement for PDF documents in the coming refresh of Section 508? Duff Johnson walks you through the issues and reviews 3rd party testimony on PDF/UA.

EU: may exclude “non-web format content” from Directive

May 28, 2015

EU policy-makers reconsider application of WCAG 2.0-based regulations to non-web content.

PDF Technical Conference 2015: Registration now open!

May 20, 2015

The PDF Technical Conference 2015 in San Jose, California this coming October offers a unique collection of developer-oriented resources to help non-experts grow PDF-specific knowledge.

First set of candidate veraPDF corpus files delivered

May 18, 2015

The first set of 49 candidate test suite files has been loaded to veraPDF’s public Github repository.

ISO meetings under way in San Jose

April 22, 2015

Following 24 hours of teleconference meetings ISO committee delegates and PDF Association members gather in San Jose.

PDF/UA was in the air at Xplor 2015

April 17, 2015

In essence, Xplor is about doing clever things with PDF files.

German TR RESISCAN bans lossy JBIG2 for legally-significant content

April 17, 2015

Germany Standards bureau bans lossy JBIG2 compression from use in German federal agencies.

veraPDF consortium wins EU contract to develop an industry-supported open source PDF/A validator

April 14, 2015

In October 2014 the PDF Association (in association with its veraPDF consortium partners) won phase 1 of the PREFORMA contract to design and develop an industry-supported open-source PDF/A validator. PREFORMA has now awarded Phase 2, …

Adobe Systems releases “Acrobat DC” – successor to Acrobat XI

April 7, 2015

Adobe delivers the 12th major version of the software that introduced PDF.

Duff Johnson testifies to the US Access Board regarding PDF/UA

April 2, 2015

PDF Association Executive Director testifies to the US Access Board

The PDF/A Adoption Survey closes April 17!

March 31, 2015

For members only, the PDF/A Adoption Survey collates impressions of the marketplace factors affecting PDF/A adoption.

The British Library’s PDF Format Preservation Assessment

March 27, 2015

Preservation risks associated with PDF/A, a formal analysis.

Corel’s latest Technical Suite boasts PDF/A, 3D PDF support

March 27, 2015

The X7 Technical Suite has been enhanced with new support for ISO standardized PDF technology.

Adobe: “Acrobat DC” is coming in April

March 17, 2015

Adobe Systems announces Acrobat DC as its replacement for Acrobat XI.

PDF/UA featured in the 2015 Section 508 Refresh

February 18, 2015

PDF/UA is featured in the US Access Board’s 2015 Notice of Public Rule Making for the Section 508 refresh.

Open Preservation Foundation becomes a PDF Association Partner Organization

January 27, 2015

The Open Preservation Foundation and the PDF Association have signed an agreement to formally recognize their on-going collaborative partnership.

Australian gov: PDF accessible, but not accessibility-supported on mobile

January 5, 2015

A just-published report from the Australian government finds that PDF as a file-format is accessible but that PDF as supported on mobile devices is not.

PDF/UA-1:2014 now published

December 22, 2014

The 2nd edition of PDF/UA is a minor revision, but what’s more exciting is that it conforms to PDF/UA!. Developers interested in accessible PDF should acquire it without delay.

Attendees rate PDF Day in DC and NYC a success!

December 19, 2014

An overwhelming majority say that they learned readily applicable information, both from the sessions and one-on-one discussions.

PRC now published as ISO 14739-1:2014

December 18, 2014

The Product Representation Compact (PRC) format for sharing 3D data with end users has been published as ISO 14739-1:2014.

A consortium including the PDF Association wins phase 1 of an EU Commission tender to create an industry-supported PDF/A validator

November 13, 2014

The VeraPDF consortium, which includes the PDF Association as a lead partner, has been awarded the PREFORMA first phase design contract for a definitive PDF/A validator.

PDF Days Aim to Unlock Power of Format

November 7, 2014

The Document Imaging Report covers PDF Day and talks about support for PDF in the ECM marketplace.

PDF Association appoints Duff Johnson as Executive Director

October 1, 2014

The PDF Association today announced the appointment of the organization’s Vice Chairman to the role of Executive Director.

Document productivity: your thoughts please!

September 20, 2014

A 5 minute survey providing insight into the way people think about electronic documents vs. documents on paper. The questions invite the user to reflect on how they use (or don’t use) electronic documents to …

PDF Day in Washington DC and New York City!

September 19, 2014

The PDF Day events in Washington DC and New York City offer executives and managers high-level, non-commercial information to improve their understanding of how PDF fits into their technology infrastructure, and what they could do …


Six Questions to Duff Johnson, Executive Director at PDF Association

April 16, 2018

Our Executive Director Duff Johnson gives some personally information about his experience with the “PDF universe” and much more.

Panel Discussion “Driving interoperability”

April 11, 2018
Presentation preview

Session Description:  Everyone understands paper’s features, and how it “works”. For PDF, “full-function” isn’t really defined. 4 PDF experts will discuss under moderation from Duff Johnson, Executive Director of the PDF Association, how to encourage …

Beyond the page: my story with PDF 2.0

April 11, 2018
Presentation preview

Duff Johnson, Executive Director of the PDF Association, will be hosting a keynote titled “Beyond the page: my story with PDF 2.0” at the PDF Days Europe 2018. Presenter: Duff Johnson has worked in the …

PDF statistics

April 11, 2018
Presentation preview

Duff Johnson, Executive Director of the PDF Association will be hosting a presentation titled “PDF statistics” at the PDF Days Europe 2018. Presenter: Duff Johnson has worked in the PDF space since 1996, the year …

The PDF Association and the Library of Congress

December 13, 2017
News PDF Association news

Earlier in 2017 both the US Library of Congress and NARA joined the PDF Association as Liaison members, an option available to non-profit and governmental organizations interested in contributing to the development and best-practice of PDF technology. As …

SD Times features PDF 2.0

December 7, 2017

SD Times, a leading periodical targeting systems and application developers, has featured PDF in its December 2017 publication. The journalists at SD Times interviewed various members of the PDF technology community, including experts from several …

ISO 32000 Project Leaders receive ISO Excellence award

November 30, 2017
News PDF Association news

PDF 1.7, the final Adobe edition of the PDF specification, was published in 2006, and converted to an ISO standard in 2008. Since then, Working Group 8 of ISO TC 171 SC 2 has worked …


PDF 2.0 Application Note 002: Associated Files

October 26, 2018
Application notes

The Associated Files feature allows PDF writers to provide additional information about files related to a PDF file in a standardized and therefore machine-readable manner.

7 minutes with a PDF standard

June 3, 2012

This session was presented at the Technical Conference 2012 of the PDF Association, March 27-28, 2012 in Basel, Switzerland. It covers the following: PDF (Matthew Hardy, Adobe) PDF/A (Leonard Roenthol, Adobe) PDF/E (Olaf Drümmer, callas software) …

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