Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here we will try to answer the questions you most likely have about the Consortium. If you don’t find the answers you need here, please feel free to email us at and we will be glad to talk with you!

What is 3D PDF?
A 3D PDF is a PDF file that has been enabled with 3D content representing geometric objects such as manufactured products, buildings, process plants – really anything which is a “smart” 3D object. This data, according to the ISO32000 standard which governs PDF, must be defined in one of two formats; U3D or PRC. A description of those formats is provided in various places on the Consortium website under the PDF Standards section.
What is the 3D PDF Consortium?
The Consortium is a non-profit, corporate membership organization comprised of end-user companies, independent software vendors (ISV’s), and systems integrators (SI’s) who are committed to driving the adoption of 3D PDF-enabled solutions for the communication of complex 3D data.
How was the Consortium formed?
The concept of the Consortium was first discussed at an industry conference in April of 2011 and as a concept was agreed to by the seven (7) companies represented at that first meeting. One of the member company chief executive officers took a leave of absence from his business and, funded by two other member companies, did the exploratory work to determine if broader interest was sufficient to justify formally incorporating the Consortium, which occurred on January 3rd, 2012. All of those seven original companies are part of the group of founding members.
Why was the Consortium formed?
The founding members wanted to create a community around 3D PDF, and believed that if they combined their efforts, they would be able to better serve the industries which benefit from the adoption of 3D within a PDF solution. The original mission was defined as using the expertise within the community to understand the priorities of the end users, take that knowledge and serve as a source of subject matter expertise to the international standards organizations, develop resources that would assist in the adoption of 3D-enabled PDF solutions, provided educational resources to the members, and serve as the voice of the broader community.
Who were the founding members?
You can find a list of both the founding members, and the current members, on the Membership web page.
What other organizations are working on 3D PDF related standards?
The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) ( is responsible for the on-going development of the specification for the PRC data format and PDF/E-2. The Consortium  works directly with AIIM and provides value in consolidating requirements from the software vendor, end-user, and systems integrator perspective. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the member body of the International Standards Organization (ISO) that holds the Secretariats for ISO/TC 171 and ISO/TC 171/SC 2, which are administered by AIIM.
How is the 3D PDF Consortium working with the standards organizations today?
Several of the founding members are already key members of the AIIM and ISO efforts at standardization of PDF/E-2 and the PRC data format. These members will continue to provide the collective input from the Consortium to AIIM and ISO.
How is the Consortium organized and staffed?
The Consortium has a board of directors, and a set of committees that do the work, whose participants represent the entire spectrum of member types. The Executive Committee is responsible for setting the mission and direction of the Consortium. The Industry Committee defines and prioritizes use cases which then drive specific requirements, which are handed off to the Technical Committee for analysis and action. The Technical Committee determines if the requirement is met by a change to the standard, by development of a tool such as a template, Javascript, a reference implementation, or an educational resource. The Communications Committee has the responsibility to decide how to provide information to both the membership, but also to the broader community who are not members. The Consortium is managed by an executive director who is responsible for overall operations. All back office functions such as membership maintenance, finances, web site updates, and legal matters, are outsourced to a membership services organization.
What is the legal structure of the Consortium?
The Consortium is incorporated in the State of Delaware as a non-profit 501(c)6 (trade organization) under the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code, with its headquarters of record at 3855 SW 153rd Drive, Beaverton, OR 97003 USA. It also maintains compliance with the National Cooperative Research and Production Act (NCRPA), administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, which gives member companies certain protections against anti-trust actions.
What benefits do members receive?
Members immediately benefit through inclusion in early decision making concerning the future of the 3D PDF specification as it evolves to meet end user needs. Other benefits the Consortium is working to provide members include:

  • Early access to information on future development of the SDKs and APIs that support publishing to 3D PDF and to 3D PDF templates.
  • The ability for developers, systems integrators, software vendors, and others to identify and capitalize on areas of market opportunity and customer need that will be provided by more robust SDKs and APIs.
  • Members receive the marketing benefits of membership. Members’ products and services are known to key decision makers within manufacturing companies, large architectural and construction management firms, and governmental organizations that rely on 3D PDF. Members can showcase their solutions and services within the partner showcase on the 3D PDF Consortium website.
  • The Consortium seeks to support the development of a set of validation tools/services to confirm adherence of 3D PDF publishing to the standard.
  • Collectively, members have input and insight into future development of the free Adobe Reader and its support for 3D workflows, enabling them to better plan for future releases.
  • Members have access to an active forum on 3D PDF including a knowledge base on development topics, best practices, and standards compliance. Eventually, a rich database of training materials will also be developed and available to members at no charge.
Who can be a member?
Membership in the 3D PDF Consortium is open to all who wish to participate in the continued development of the 3D PDF standard and/or incorporate 3D PDF into engineering, collaboration, technical publication, archiving, and other 3D workflows. Member types include commercial Industry members, governmental agencies, academic institutions, independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators, and developers.
What about organizations, such as standards bodies and educational institutions?
Due its size, age, and focus, the Consortium seeks partnerships with selected standards bodies and educational institutions where a memorandum of understanding (MOU) governs how the relationship between the Consortium and the partner are to be managed, and for what purpose. These relationships are reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee.
Can individuals join?
At the present time, there is no membership category for individuals. However, there is an active discussion regarding how we can include small organizations that are not currently covered by the membership categories. While not necessarily targeting towards an individual professional, it is expected that consultants and small shops up to a dozen or two people would be covered. If this should happen, it will be announced on the Consortium website.
If individuals can’t join, can they follow developments in the community?
Absolutely. The Consortium maintains Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and groups respectively, and you can also subscribe to RSS feeds. Information on any of these channels of communication can be found on the website. Individuals simply can’t access the members-only section of the website.
What is the cost of annual membership?

Annual membership fees are tiered based on member type, and on relative size of the organization. As a not-for-profit, the 3D PDF Consortium will be operated to cover its own operational costs with a reasonable operating reserve for the following year. Pricing is set to be affordable for each member type, and we hope will be reduced over time as more members join.   Membership Pricing & Application Information