Document management — Portable document format — Part 2: PDF 2.0

ISO 32000-2:2017 specifies a digital form for representing electronic documents to enable users to exchange and view electronic documents independent of the environment in which they were created or the environment in which they are viewed or printed. It is intended for developers of software that creates PDF files (PDF writers), software that reads existing PDF files and (usually) interprets their contents for display (PDF readers), software that reads and displays PDF content and interacts with the computer users to possibly modify and save the PDF file (interactive PDF processors) and PDF products that read and/or write PDF files for a variety of other purposes (PDF processors). (PDF writers and PDF readers are more specialised classifications of interactive PDF processors and all are PDF processors). ISO 32000-2:2017 does not specify the following: - specific processes for converting paper or electronic documents to the PDF file format; - specific technical design, user interface implementation, or operational details of rendering; - specific physical methods of storing these documents such as media and storage conditions; - methods for validating the conformance of PDF files or PDF processors; - required computer hardware and/or operating system.

Gestion de documents — Format de document portable — Partie 2: PDF 2.0

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STANDARD 32000-2
First edition
Document management —
Portable document format —
Part 2:
PDF 2.0
Gestion de documents — Format de document portable —
Partie 2: PDF 2.0
Reference number
ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
ISO 2017

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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
© ISO 2017, Published in Switzerland
All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, no part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting on the internet or an intranet, without prior
written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address below or ISO’s member body in the country of
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ii © ISO 2017 – All rights reserved

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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
Contents Page
Foreword . vii
Introduction . viii
1 Scope . 1
2 Normative references . 2
3 Terms and definitions . 7
4 Notation . 15
4.1 General . 15
4.2 Established notations . 15
5 Version designations . 17
6 Conformance . 18
6.1 General . 18
6.2 Conforming PDF documents . 18
6.3 PDF processors . 18
7 Syntax . 20
7.1 General . 20
7.2 Lexical conventions . 21
7.3 Objects. 23
7.4 Filters . 34
7.5 File structure . 52
7.6 Encryption . 70
7.7 Document structure . 95
7.8 Content streams and resources . 109
7.9 Common data structures . 113
7.10 Functions . 121
7.11 File specifications . 130
7.12 Extensions dictionary . 139
8 Graphics . 142
8.1 General . 142
8.2 Graphics objects . 142
8.3 Coordinate systems . 146
8.4 Graphics state . 153
8.5 Path construction and painting . 165
8.6 Colour spaces . 173
8.7 Patterns . 216
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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
8.8 External objects . 250
8.9 Images. 251
8.10 Form XObjects . 267
8.11 Optional content . 273
9 Text . 290
9.1 General . 290
9.2 Organisation and use of fonts . 290
9.3 Text state parameters and operators . 297
9.4 Text objects . 303
9.5 Introduction to font data structures . 308
9.6 Simple fonts . 309
9.7 Composite fonts . 324
9.8 Font descriptors . 340
9.9 Embedded font programs . 348
9.10 Extraction of text content . 352
10 Rendering . 357
10.1 General . 357
10.2 Raster output device native colour. 358
10.3 CIE-Based colour to device colour. 358
10.4 Conversions among device colour spaces . 358
10.5 Transfer functions . 361
10.6 Halftones . 362
10.7 Scan conversion details . 379
10.8 Rendering for separations . 382
11 Transparency . 384
11.1 General . 384
11.2 Overview of transparency . 384
11.3 Basic compositing computations. 386
11.4 Transparency groups . 399
11.5 Soft masks . 411
11.6 Specifying transparency in PDF . 412
11.7 Colour space and rendering issues . 422
12 Interactive features . 434
12.1 General . 434
12.2 Viewer preferences . 434
12.3 Document-level navigation . 438
12.4 Page-level navigation . 455
12.5 Annotations . 462
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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
12.6 Actions . 502
12.7 Forms . 524
12.8 Digital signatures . 563
12.9 Measurement properties. 591
12.10 Geospatial features . 597
12.11 Document requirements . 602
13 Multimedia features. 610
13.1 General . 610
13.2 Multimedia . 610
13.3 Sounds . 633
13.4 Movies . 634
13.5 Alternate presentations . 636
13.6 3D Artwork . 638
13.7 Rich media . 696
14 Document interchange . 709
14.1 General . 709
14.2 Procedure sets . 709
14.3 Metadata . 710
14.4 File identifiers . 714
14.5 Page-piece dictionaries . 715
14.6 Marked content . 716
14.7 Logical structure . 718
14.8 Tagged PDF . 741
14.9 Repurposing and accessibility support . 789
14.10 Web capture . 795
14.11 Prepress support . 807
14.12 Document parts . 827
14.13 Associated files . 831
Annex A (informative) Operator Summary . 837
Annex B (informative) Operators in Type 4 Functions . 841
Annex C (informative) Advice on maximising portability . 843
Annex D (normative) Character sets and encodings . 846
Annex E (normative) PDF Name Registry . 870
Annex F (normative) Linearized PDF . 872
Annex G (informative) Linearized PDF access strategies . 894
Annex H (informative) Example PDF files . 898
Annex I (normative) PDF versions and compatibility . 928
Annex J (informative) XObject comparison . 930
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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
Annex K (normative) XFA forms . 936
Annex L (normative) Parent-child relationships between standard structure elements . 939
Annex M (informative) Standard structure elements in the default (PDF 1.7) namespace . 958
Annex N (informative) Best practice for halftones . 959
Annex O (normative) Fragment identifiers . 962
Annex P (informative) An algorithm to determine the actual blending colour space of a
transparency group . 965
Annex Q (normative) Method for determining transparency on a page . 967
Bibliography . 969

vi © ISO 2017 – All rights reserved

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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national
standards bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally
carried out through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a
technical committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee.
International organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in
the work. ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all
matters of electrotechnical standardization.
The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are
described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular the different approval criteria needed for the
different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the
editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see
Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of
patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of
any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or
on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see
Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not
constitute an endorsement.
For an explanation on the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and
expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the
World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) see the following
This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 171, Document management
applications, Subcommittee SC 2, Application issues, in collaboration with Technical Committee ISO/TC
130, Graphic technology.
A list of all the parts of ISO 32000 can be found on the ISO website.
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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
0.1 PDF
PDF enables users to exchange and view electronic documents easily and reliably, independent of the
environment in which they were created or the environment in which they are viewed or printed.
page description
At the core of PDF is an advanced imaging model derived from the PostScript®
language. This PDF Imaging Model enables the description of text and graphics in a device-independent
and resolution-independent manner at a complete, precise and professional level. Unlike PostScript,
which is a programming language, PDF is based on a structured binary file format that is optimised for
high performance in interactive viewing.
PDF includes objects such as annotations and hypertext links that are not part of the page content itself
but are useful for interactive viewing and document interchange. PDF also includes data structures
such as tagged PDF, XMP and an associated files mechanism, that are useful for document management
and content reuse.
PDF files can be created natively in PDF form, converted from other electronic formats. Since PDF
supports a wide range of image and compression technologies, it is a suitable format for documents
digitised from paper, microform, or other hard copy formats. Businesses, governments, libraries,
archives and other institutions and individuals around the world use PDF to represent considerable
bodies of important information. Since its introduction in 1993, aided by the explosive growth of the
Internet, PDF has become widely used for the electronic exchange of documents.
There are several specific applications of PDF that have evolved in which limiting the use of some
features of PDF while requiring the use of others, enhances the usefulness of PDF. The following
International Standards address specialised uses of PDF:
• PDF/X (ISO 15930) is the industry standard for the intermediate representation of printed
material in electronic prepress systems for conventional printing applications.
• PDF/A (ISO 19005) is the industry standard for the archiving of digital documents.
• PDF/UA (ISO 14289) is the industry standard for accessible PDF documents and processors.
• PDF/E (ISO 24517) provides a mechanism for representing engineering documents and
exchanging engineering data.
• PDF/VT (ISO 16612-2) is for high volume printing of personalised documents including variable
As corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions streamline their operations by
replacing paper-based workflows with electronic exchange of information, the impact and opportunity
for the application of PDF will continue to grow at a rapid pace.
PDF, together with software for creating, viewing, printing and processing PDF files in a variety of
ways, fulfils a set of requirements for electronic documents including:

PostScript® is a trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated. This information is given for the convenience of users of this document and
does not constitute an endorsement by ISO of the product named.
viii © ISO 2017 – All rights reserved

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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
• preservation of document fidelity independent of the device, platform, and software,
• merging of content from diverse sources — Web sites, word processing and spreadsheet
programs, scanned documents, photos, and graphics — into one self-contained document while
maintaining the integrity of all original source documents,
• an extensible metadata model at the document and object level,
• collaborative editing of documents from multiple locations or platforms,
• digital signatures to certify authenticity,
• security and permissions to allow the creator to retain control of the document and associated
• accessibility of content to those with disabilities,
• extraction and reuse of content for use with other file formats and applications, and
• electronic forms to gather and/or represent data within business systems.
0.2 ISO 32000 and PDF
PDF was developed and specified by Adobe Systems Incorporated beginning in 1993 and continuing
until 2007 when ISO 32000-1 was first prepared. The Adobe Systems version PDF 1.7 was the basis for
ISO 32000-1. The ISO 32000 series has been created as a multi-part document, of which this is Part 2.
This allows future parts to be created without rendering ISO 32000, or applications based on it,
obsolete. See clause 5, "Version designations" for how the version numbers of PDF (1.0, 1.1, 1.2, […]
2.0) relate to one another.
The primary purpose of this document is to define well-formed PDF documents (conforming PDF files).
In carefully specifying what constitutes a well-defined PDF document, it is natural to describe why a
particular feature is to be included in the file and what effect it is designed to have on PDF processing
software. So, although the primary objective of this document is to describe the content of conforming
PDF documents, it also serves secondary purposes of defining exactly how a PDF component is
constructed, suggesting why a producer might choose to use the various PDF constructs, as well as
what behaviour is elicited from software consuming that PDF file. The choice of which specific set of
features a particular PDF processor supports is not specified.
PDF files represent electronic documents. Over time, it was natural to add features that take advantage
of PDF’s nature, and the power of computer viewing devices. The size of the PDF documentation has
more than quadrupled since its first introduction, and the number of features that a PDF processor is
expected to support has grown to be large.
0.3 Changes introduced in this document
Starting with PDF 2.0 the term "conforming reader" is no longer used. The terms "interactive PDF
processor", "PDF reader" and "PDF writer" are used instead, and have a conditional conformance
definition. See 6.1, "Conforming PDF documents" for further discussion of this change.
This specification includes many changes from ISO 32000-1:2008, however only significant new
features are marked as being new in PDF 2.0.
PDF 2.0 includes the following new features:
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ISO 32000-2:2017(E)
• 7.6.7, "Unencrypted wrapper document"
•, "Use of black point compensation";
•, "Projection annotations";
•, "CAdES signatures as used in PDF";
• 12.8.4, "Long term validation of signatures";
•, "Document Security Store (DSS)" and 12.8.5, "Document timestamp (DTS) dictionary";
• 12.10, "Geospatial features";
• 13.7, "Rich media" annotations;
• 14.7.4, "Namespaces" for tagged PDF;
• 14.9.6, "Pronunciation hints";
• 14.12, "Document parts";
• 14.13, "Associated files";
• Support for PRC (see 13.6, "3D Artwork");
• Support for UTF-8.
PDF 2.0 adds many new capabilities to existing features in PDF, including:
• Transparency and blend mode attributes for annotations;
• Stamp Annot intent;
• Polygon/Polyline real paths;
• 256-bit AES encryption;
• ECC-based certificates;
• Unicode-based passwords;
• Document requirement extensions;
• New value for tab order of fields and annotations;
• Page-level OutputIntents;
• Referenced (external) OutputIntents;
• Thumbnails for embedded files;
• Halftone Origin (HTO);
• Measurement & Point Data for image & form XObjects;
• L (length) key for inline image data;
• Viewer preferences enforcement (of print scaling);
• 3D measurements;
• GoToDp action;
• RichMediaExecute action;
• Extension to GoTo and GoToR to support linking to a specific structure element;
• Extension to Signature

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