How to convert a PDF/A file to regular PDF

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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convert PDF/A to PDF

Anyone that owns a PC for either school or work surely knows what a PDF file is. It is probably one of the most versatile file formats available today, allowing for the rendering of texts and images in a singular file.

Of course, not everyone knows what a PDF/A file is. PDF/A is an ISO-standardized version of the PDF format that specialized for use in the archiving and long-term preservation of electronic documents.

Opening PDF/A files is pretty easy for any PDF viewer, but editing it, or doing anything else for that matter is a bit more difficult.  In simpler terms, a PDF/A document is the read-only version of a PDF file.

Plenty of users are even having difficulties dealing with such documents because of this:

I am using Adobe Acrobat Pro, I have opened a PDF document and I want to remove/insert some different pages but it is telling me that it complies with PDF/A standards and therefore a read-only file? Can you help please?

That is why we’ve compiled this step-by-step guide to show you how to disable a document’s PDF/A mode and turn it into a regular PDF.

Looking for a good free PDF viewer? Check out our top picks!

How do I disable a document’s PDF/A mode?

Since Adobe Acrobat is the most popular PDF viewer on the market, the guide is specifically made to comply with it.

  1. Open a PDF/A file using Adobe Acrobat DC
  2. Go to Edit (top-right side of the screen)
  3. Go to Preferences
  4. Right under PDF/A View Mode select the dropdown menu
  5. Select Never

Never PDF/A

By doing this, your PDF/A file will be turned into a PDF file, and will thus no longer be read-only. Additionally, you can perform pretty much any action you desire, including editing it.

If you want to reverse the change and make it read-only again, simply repeat the steps, but select Only for PDF/A documents instead of Never.

Did you ever have issues with a PDF file that was actually a PDF/A file? Let us know if this guide was helpful in the comments section below.


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