The PRC File Format

The PRC file format (ISO 14739-1) is an accurate, highly compressible 3D data format optimized to store, load, and display various 3D data, metadata, assembly structure, graphics information and Product Manufacturing Information (PMI).  The PRC file format can be viewed within the free Adobe Reader when encapsulated with the Portable Document Format (PDF).  It can be stored within PDF as either accurate BREP geometry or tessellated data. Because of this, it can be extracted from a PDF for use years later in CAD, CAM, CAE systems.

Adobe released control of the PRC data format to ISO and published the specification. In 2009, AIIM ( established a working group to continue developing the PRC format. Working group participants include Boeing, Adobe, Bentley Systems, General Dynamics, TechSoft 3D, ITI Transcendata, and several other companies committed to open standards.PRC continues to be rapidly embraced by the standards community and the aerospace industry as a robust, neutral file format for 3D engineering data exchange and long-term data archival and retrieval..

As part of the PDF-2 open standard (ISO 32000-2:2017), the PRC file format provides users the assurance that 3D models, manufacturing instructions, and technical documents will be available years later for design reuse and in revisions to technical documents as part of the overall product lifecycle.

Adobe, for its part, is committed to continued support and advancement of the abilities of the free Adobe Reader to display and interact with PRC data. Adobe’s ongoing commitment ensures that engineering data can be shared with anyone, anywhere, both now and in the future.

In 2010, Adobe transitioned ongoing development of the PRC libraries to Tech Soft 3D. Today, Tech Soft 3D provides the current PRC Libraries as an SDK toolkit to ISVs for reading and writing PRC. Leveraging these libraries, Tetra 4D’s 3D PDF Converter product provides Adobe Acrobat Pro X users with the ability to read native 3D data from all leading CAD vendors directly into Acrobat for advanced publishing to 3D PDF.

The most recent publically available, free for access documentation on the PRC format can be found here. NOTE: This version is the version submitted to ISO, and is behind the ISO Draft International Standard currently in circulation; this must be purchased from ISO here. The Consortium does not have the rights to reproduce ISO documentation.