File format for theses

In what file format should the electronic copy of the thesis be submitted?

Theses must be submitted to the ULB via the TUbama Portal in the file format PDF/A (archivable PDF).

In general, the required file format for the thesis is defined by the examiners (§ 22 APB).

The archivable PDF/A format can generally be created from all standard text editing programs. However, it is necessary to select the correct settings when saving the thesis. In this context, please follow the instructions available for your text editing program.

In any case, it is advisable to carry out a test upload in advance using a file created in PDF/A format to check whether this format is accepted. The following PDF/A file format standards will be accepted: PDFA-1a, PDFA-1b, PDFA-2a, PDFA-2b, PDFA-2u .

The file format will be automatically checked during the upload process. After clicking on “Next >”, you will receive a notification to indicate whether the format of the uploaded file was correct or if it is not in a PDF/A compatible format. You can delete the faulty file again at any time and upload a new file. If the file format is incorrect, this automatically prevents you submitting the thesis.

The file name must not contain any blank spaces or special characters!

In particular, please check whether your graphics with transparent backgrounds are correctly displayed. If you experience any problems, it may be necessary to change the background for your graphics to “white”.

Microsoft Office 2016

In Microsoft Office 2016, you will find the setting for saving the file in PDF/A format under the PDF options.

If you are using a different version of Microsoft Office, please find out the required information in good time.

Example for pdf-options

Open Office

In Open Office, you will find the setting for saving the file in PDF/A format under “File” -> “Export as PDF…”

In the “PDF options” menu, select “General” ->“PDF/A”

If you are using a different version of Open Office, please find out the required information in good time.


It is also possible to create files in PDF/A format with LaTeX. Please find out how to do this and ensure that you test whether the file for your thesis has the correct file format in advance by completing a test upload.

If you are using the official LaTeX templates of TU Darmstadt, the standard settings of the TUDa-Thesis-Templates will comply with PDF/A-2b-standard (pdfa=true).

Extensions of the title data are possible via the macro \Metata, you will find this documented in the example file.

Please note that the conformity can only be ensured for in LaTeX created contents. Contained images or additional PDF files have to be checked independently on their conformity.

You can use the support service for the TUDa-CI-Templates for further information and help.

Saving in PDF/A format independently of the editing program

There are various programs that install a virtual PDF printer and enable you to print to a PDF file irrespective of the software used to write the thesis.

Examples of these software programs are: PDF24, FreePDF or Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader!!). The PDF/A format can also be selected in these programs.