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Edit PDF Metadata

Modify the PDF file name, title, author, subject, keywords, and dates

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Metadata can be any information related to a PDF file
According to the PDF specification, metadata is “global information” about a PDF file. Its goal is to “assist in cataloguing and searching for documents in external databases.”
How do we find this information? You will view the metadata of a PDF file in its properties.
Descriptive metadata can include the PDF file name, title, author, subject, keywords, date of creation, and date of latest modification.
Advanced metadata can mention (and is not limited to) the PDF software used to create the document, the PDF version, the file size, the number of words/characters/pages, and the language.
Other helpful information is the protection and the restrictions settings to know if the user is allowed to print, copy, comment, fill in form fields, run assistive technologies, and more.
In AvePDF, we have added the option to see if the PDF is tagged and optimized for the Web with linearization (also called Fast Web View).
Not all metadata shows up in the document’s properties. You will need advanced PDF processing solutions to see it, especially in the case of invoices saved in ZUGFeRD and Factur-X, the standardized formats for electronic invoicing.
PDF metadata can help with accessibility
People who rely on assistive technologies like text-to-speech readers for PDFs will benefit from explicit metadata.
As they cannot see images, a clear and descriptive alternative text (alt-text) for each one of them that is not decorative is essential. For instance, if your PDF files contain infographics that convey necessary information to understand the document better, you will need to describe them in their respective alternative texts.
If you're editing or creating a PDF, you can see, edit, and create alt text using your PDF-creation program.
For accessibility, the metadata Title is a requirement. However, be careful, the meta title is different from the file name. Its purpose is to briefly and accurately describe what the document is about.
Did you know that PDF had a subset dedicated to accessibility? PDF/UA is the ISO standard for electronic document file format enhancement for accessibility (ISO 14289).
Metadata can contain sensitive information
Search engines can access metadata, so be careful when releasing a redacted document online.
It also means that, on the contrary, if you want to make your PDF file more visible, you will need to optimize its metadata for SEO with the right keywords.
Metadata can contain virtually any information related to the document in general or separate objects within the document like images, fonts, etc.
Standard reader software does not usually access all of this information but can still be extracted by advanced PDF processing solutions. Developers must keep this in mind when working with sensitive data documents (GDPR, anyone?).
Indeed, personal data you have carefully spent time identifying on the visible part of a PDF may appear elsewhere. For example, you have removed a person’s name from the text, but we may also find it in the metadata of images or comments.
Removing data from the visible part of a PDF is called redaction. Sanitization is the same process done for the hidden part of a PDF file (like metadata, comments, or hidden layers).