New PDF/R Scanning Standard announced

The TWAIN Working Group (TWG) and the PDF Association, have announced PDF/R (a.k.a. PDF/raster), an ISO-standardized format for storing, transporting and exchanging multi-page raster-image documents, such as scanned documents and photographs.

As a subset of PDF technology, PDF/R takes advantage of existing widespread support for viewing, printing and processing PDF files. As a domain-specific subset of PDF, it is simple to generate and interpret, allowing it to replace the TIFF and JPEG file formats for capture and delivery of scanner output.

PDF/R provides the portability of PDF while offering the core functionality of TIFF, bitonal, grayscale and true colour images. PDF/R fits well into existing workflows and is compatible so either existing libraries or newly developed frameworks can be used for embedded systems like firmware. PDF/R features include support for encryption and authentication, and is as extensible as PDF itself.

The project to create PDF/R was started by the TWAIN Working Group as part of its TWAIN Direct project to connect scanners to applications through networks. The PDF Association worked in conjunction with the TWAIN Working Group to develop and formalize PDF/R as an ISO Standard, published as ISO 23504 in late 2020.

Although directly integrated into TWAIN Direct scanning technology, PDF/R can also be adopted as a standalone file format for use in other applications.

"Before PDF/R document scanning systems were based on image formats instead of document formats," said Duff Johnson, CEO, PDF Association.

"PDF/R delivers the advantages of PDF to all imaging workflows, allowing even low-cost scanners to produce PDF documents complete with metadata, encryption and digital signatures, if desired, straight from the scanner."

"The PDF/R standard is a great replacement to the traditional TIFF and JPEG image formats supported by traditional scanning devices and applications. PDF/R delivers compact, high quality images from image acquisition devices providing efficient and secure delivery of documents over a network.", said Joseph Odore, TWAIN Chair and Product Manager Document and Imaging, Office Products Business Unit of Panasonic Corporation.