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.
|Type code||'PDF ' (including a single space)|
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.