PDF/A Validation

The Apache Preflight library is a Java tool that implements a parser compliant with the ISO-19005 specification (aka PDF/A-1). Check Compliance with PDF/A-1b

This small sample shows how to check the compliance of a file with the PDF/A-1b specification.

ValidationResult result = null;

PreflightParser parser = new PreflightParser(args[0]);

    /* Parse the PDF file with PreflightParser that inherits from the NonSequentialParser.
     * Some additional controls are present to check a set of PDF/A requirements. 
     * (Stream length consistency, EOL after some Keyword...)

    /* Once the syntax validation is done, 
     * the parser can provide a PreflightDocument 
     * (that inherits from PDDocument) 
     * This document process the end of PDF/A validation.
    PreflightDocument document = parser.getPreflightDocument();

    // Get validation result
    result = document.getResult();

catch (SyntaxValidationException e)
    /* the parse method can throw a SyntaxValidationException 
     * if the PDF file can't be parsed.
     * In this case, the exception contains an instance of ValidationResult  
    result = e.getResult();

// display validation result
if (result.isValid())
    System.out.println("The file " + args[0] + " is a valid PDF/A-1b file");
    System.out.println("The file" + args[0] + " is not valid, error(s) :");
    for (ValidationError error : result.getErrorsList())
        System.out.println(error.getErrorCode() + " : " + error.getDetails());

Categories of Validation Error

If a validation fails, the ValidationResult object contains all causes of the failure. In order to help in the failure understanding, all error codes have the following form X[.Y[.Z]] where :

  • ‘X’ is the category (ex : Font validation error…)
  • ‘Y’ represent a subsection of the category (ex : “Font with Glyph error”)
  • ‘Z’ represent the cause of the error (ex : “Font with a missing Glyph”)

Category (‘Y’) and cause (‘Z’) may be missing according to the difficulty to identify the error detail.

Here after, you can find all Categories (for detailed cause, see constants in the PreflightConstants interface) :

Category Description
1[.y[.z]] Syntax Error
2[.y[.z]] Graphic Error
3[.y[.z]] Font Error
4[.y[.z]] Transparency Error
5[.y[.z]] Annotation Error
6[.y[.z]] Action Error
7[.y[.z]] Metadata Error