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Filename extension .pdf
Type code'PDF ' (including a single space)
Magic number%PDF
Developed byISO
Extended fromPDF
StandardISO 16612-2

PDF/VT is an international standard published by ISO in August 2010 as ISO 16612-2. It defines the use of PDF as an exchange format optimized for variable and transactional printing. Built on top of PDF/X-4, it is the first variable-data printing (VDP) format which ensures modern International Color Consortium-based (ICC) color management through the use of ICC Output Intents. It adds the notion of encapsulated groups of graphic objects to support optimized efficient processing for repeating text, graphic or image content. Introducing the concept of document part metadata (DPM), it enables reliable and dynamic management of pages for High Volume Transactional Output (HVTO) print data, like record selection or postage optimization based on metadata.


While PDF/VT-1 always consists of a self-contained file, other variants of the standard support the use of external graphic content (PDF/VT-2) as well as streaming through the use of multi-part MIME packages (PDF/VT-2s). In addition to being a digital master for VDP printing, it can be shared, viewed and interactively navigated by human operators using a normal PDF reader, though completely accurate rendering requires a PDF/X-4 or PDF/VT conforming viewer.


A number of vendors announced their support for PDF/VT upon publication of the standard in 2010. Over the subsequent few years various other PDF/VT-consuming and -producing products also reached the market:

The ubiquity of PDF, as well as the fact that PDF itself now is an ISO standard (ISO 32000-1:2008) clearly work in favor of PDF/VT. Nevertheless, it is currently difficult to predict where in the industry PDF/VT will be adopted and how fast that will happen, and how it will be positioned vis-à-vis other formats and architectures for variable data printing.

The practical requirements and benefits of PDF/VT are explained in more detail, along with related recommendations, in a guide from Global Graphics.

See also


  1. ^ "ISO 16612-2 Graphic technology -- Variable data exchange -- Part 2: Using PDF/X-4 and PDF/X-5 (PDF/VT-1 and PDF/VT-2)". ISO. 2010-08-15.
  2. ^ "Publication of PDF/VT will improve the reliability and production performance of graphically rich personalized content. Press release" (PDF). NPES. 2010-09-20.
  3. ^ "The PDF/VT Standard". pdflib.com. 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  4. ^ "ISO 32000-1:2008 - Document management — Portable document format — Part 1: PDF 1.7". ISO. 2008-07-01.
  5. ^ "Do PDF/VT right — How to make problem-free PDF files for variable data printing". Global Graphics. 2014-03-01.