How to Convert PDF to PDFA in Java

Updated February 18, 2024

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a widely used file format for sharing and presenting documents. Unlike paper documents, data can be saved exactly the same way it was created. However, not all PDFs are created equal when it comes to long-term preservation and accessibility.

To ensure that your PDF documents are archived and accessed reliably over time, you can convert them to the PDF/A (PDF/A-1a or PDF/A-1b) format. PDF/A is an ISO-standardized version of PDF designed for the digital preservation of electronic documents.

In this article, we will explore how to convert PDF files to PDF/A format in Java using IronPDF.

How to Convert PDF to PDF/A Java

  1. Install IronPDF Library
  2. Create PDF using PdfDocument.renderHtmlAsPdf
  3. Load an existing file using PdfDocument.fromFile
  4. Use convertToPdfA method
  5. Save with saveAsPdfA

IronPDF - Java PDF Library

IronPDF is a powerful and versatile library for working with PDFs in Java. It allows you to create, manipulate, and convert PDF documents with ease. One of its key features is the ability to convert regular PDFs to the PDF/A format, ensuring long-term document preservation. IronPDF provides a simple and efficient way to perform this conversion within your Java applications.


Before we get started, make sure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. Java Development Environment: Ensure you have a Java development environment set up on your system. You can use tools like IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, or any other Java IDE.
  2. IntelliJ IDEA (Optional): We will be demonstrating the process using IntelliJ IDEA, but you can use any Java IDE of your choice.
  3. Maven: Maven is a build automation tool and project management tool that we will use to manage project dependencies. Make sure you have Maven installed. In IntelliJ, it will be installed automatically.

Create a Java Project using IntelliJ IDEA

  1. Open IntelliJ IDEA or your preferred Java IDE.
  2. Click on "New Project" or from "File" > "New" > "Project".

    ![How to Convert PDF to PDF/A in Java: Figure 1](/static-assets/pdf/blog/pdf-to-pdfa-java/pdf-to-pdfa-java-1.webp)
  3. Fill in the project details like name and location.
  4. Select "Maven" from the build version.
  5. Choose your project's JDK (Java version).

    ![How to Convert PDF to PDF/A in Java: Figure 2](/static-assets/pdf/blog/pdf-to-pdfa-java/pdf-to-pdfa-java-2.webp)
  6. Review the project settings, and click "Create" to create the project.

Install IronPDF using Maven

To include IronPDF in your project, you need to import jar dependency in your project's pom.xml file. Open the pom.xml file and add the following dependency:


Save the POM XML file, and Maven will automatically download and include the IronPDF library for Java in your project.

There is also another jar dependency called Slf4j-simple, that needs to be added to work correctly with IronPDF.


Reload the Maven project to update the dependencies added to the POM file. Once installed, we are ready to use IronPDF to convert PDF files to PDF/A.

Steps to Convert PDF to PDF/A

Now that we have set up your project and added the IronPDF dependency, we can start converting PDFs to PDF/A within our Java application. Here are the steps that demonstrate how to convert PDF to PDF/A:

Create a Regular PDF File

IronPDF provides the facility to create a PDF file from an HTML String, file, or URL. It provides RenderHtmlAsPdf, RenderHtmlFileAsPdf, and RenderUrlAsPdf methods respectively to create a PDF format designed using HTML.

    PdfDocument pdfDocument = PdfDocument.renderHtmlAsPdf("<h1> ~Hello World~ </h1> Made with IronPDF!");

Load an Existing Regular PDF File

Alternatively, we can load the existing PDF document that we want to convert to PDF/A using IronPDF.

    PdfDocument pdfDocument = PdfDocument.fromFile(Paths.get("input.pdf"));

The input file looks like this:

How to Convert PDF to PDFA in Java: Figure 3

Convert to PDF/A

Use IronPDF convertToPdfA method to convert the loaded PDF document to PDF/A format.

    PdfDocument pdfa = pdfDocument.convertToPdfA();

Save the PDF/A Document

Save the converted PDF/A document to a new file.


That's it! We have successfully converted a regular PDF to the PDF/A format using IronPDF in a Java application.

Complete Java Code

Here is the complete source code:

    package org.example;
    import com.ironsoftware.ironpdf.*;
    import java.nio.file.Paths;
    public class Main {
    public static void main(String [] args) throws IOException {
            // Convert From HTML String
            PdfDocument pdfDocument = PdfDocument.renderHtmlAsPdf("<h1> ~Hello World~ </h1> Made with IronPDF!");
            PdfDocument pdfa = pdfDocument.convertToPdfA();
            // Convert From File
            pdfDocument = PdfDocument.fromFile(Paths.get("input.pdf"));
            pdfa = pdfDocument.convertToPdfA();

The above code when executed results in two output files. One from HTML to PDF/A and the other from the original PDF file to PDF/A.

How to Convert PDF to PDF/A in Java: Figure 4

To explore more features of IronPDF and its PDF-related functionalities, please visit code examples and documentation pages.


Converting PDF documents to PDF/A is essential for long-term document preservation and accessibility. IronPDF is a reliable Java library that simplifies this conversion process. In this article, we discussed the prerequisites, setting up a Java project using IntelliJ IDEA, and adding IronPDF as a Maven dependency.

We also outlined the steps to convert a regular PDF to the PDF/A format. With IronPDF, you can ensure that your documents remain accessible and reliable over time, complying with ISO standards for archiving electronic documents.

IronPDF offers a free trial for commercial use. Download the IronPDF JAR file from here.

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