Software maker Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) is aiming to take its already popular PDF document standard to the next level, asking the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to recognize its entire specification.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company said on Monday that it plans to submit the full PDF 1.7 specifications to the Association for Informational and Image Management (AIIM), a nonprofit enterprise content management group. Adobe hopes that after reviewing the standard, the group will then make a recommendation that the ISO adopt it as a worldwide standard.

Today's announcement is the next logical step in the evolution of PDF from de facto standard to a formal, de jure standard, said Kevin Lynch chief software architect at Adobe. By releasing the full PDF specification for ISO standardization, we are reinforcing our commitment to openness.

The ISO group has worked with Adobe since 1995, creating standards for various industries and specialized areas. The result has yielded a number of different standards, including PDF for Archive (PDF/A) and PDF for Exchange (PDF/X) as well as a number of others.

Having PDF 1.7 ratified should make things easier. With the whole specification ratified, the proposed new ISO format will serve as an umbrella standard, encompassing all previously ratified formats as well.

As governments and organizations increasingly request open formats, maintenance of the PDF specification by an external and participatory organization will help continue to drive innovation and expand the rich PDF ecosystem that has evolved over the past 15 years.

PDF, or the portable document format, is an open file format that Adobe created in 1993. It allows documents to be transferred and displayed with the exact look of an original document, regardless of what device it is displayed on.