Advanced Function Presentation

Definition of Advanced Function Presentation

Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) is a document formatting architecture developed by IBM that allows the creation, management, and presentation of high-quality, platform-independent documents. It enables accurate and consistent formatting of text and images across a variety of output devices, such as printers and display screens. AFP supports advanced features for text, graphics, and barcodes, making it ideal for complex applications like bills, statements, and catalogs.


The phonetics of the keyword “Advanced Function Presentation” can be represented as:ædˈvænst ˈfʌŋkʃən ˌprɛzənˈteɪʃənBreaking it down syllable by syllable:Advanced: æd-vænstFunction: ˈfʌŋk-ʃənPresentation: ˌprɛ-zən-ˈteɪ-ʃən

Key Takeaways

  1. Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) is a document format and presentation architecture designed for creating high-quality, data-driven print output, primarily for mainframe systems and high-volume printers.
  2. AFP provides advanced features such as page layout, text formatting, graphics, and images, enabling users to create complex printed documents like invoices, statements, and marketing materials with ease.
  3. AFP supports variable data printing and electronic document archiving, making it highly adaptable to different industries and applications, including finance, insurance, and package delivery.

Importance of Advanced Function Presentation

Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) is an important technology term as it refers to a document formatting architecture that enables the high-speed printing of complex documents, both for physical and electronic distribution.

Developed by IBM, AFP serves as a cornerstone for document management systems by ensuring consistency and precision in fonts, images, and layouts across a wide range of printing devices and formats.

Its robust features, such as rich support for graphics, metadata, and object-level indexing, significantly contribute to the efficiency of document and information handling in diverse industries, including finance, healthcare, and marketing.

Moreover, AFP’s flexibility and platform independence facilitate seamless integration across various systems, streamlining business processes and ultimately enhancing productivity.


Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) primarily serves as a crucial tool for organizations that need to manage high volumes of documents while maintaining top-notch quality, appearance, and efficiency. As a powerful printing and document management solution, AFP ensures that documents retain their original formatting and design elements throughout the entire document lifecycle. This technology is specifically imperative in industries such as banking, insurance, retail, and telecommunications, where a colossal number of customer communication materials, statements, and invoices are generated and require faultless and consistent printing across different platforms and devices.

Due to its unmatched efficiency and high-speed performance, AFP has become an industry standard for achieving time-bound results while mitigating costs. To delve into its application, Advanced Function Presentation facilitates the seamless composition, presentation, and conversion of variable data while giving users precise control over document formatting at a granular level. It enables users to format and manage document objects such as text, images, graphics, and barcodes to be effectively used in high-volume, on-demand, or transactional printing environments.

Notably, AFP supports advanced printing functions such as automatic paper selection, double-sided printing, and document indexing. As a versatile technology, AFP bridges the gap between different systems and hardware, resulting in a consistent and reliable document presentation regardless of the output device, be it a printer, web, or mobile. Overall, AFP has significantly revolutionized the document management realm, offering businesses unparalleled control and flexibility in managing their critical document flow and maximizing customer satisfaction.

Examples of Advanced Function Presentation

Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) is a document and information presentation architecture technology, originally developed by IBM. It is designed to efficiently organize, format, and display complex documents such as invoices, statements, and marketing materials. Here are three real-world examples of AFP technology in use:

Banking Industry: Banks use AFP technology to manage and print customer bank statements and other financial reports. AFP allows banks to handle large volumes of data, format the statements according to their specific design requirements, and ensure secure and proper processing and printing of confidential customer information.

Utility Companies: Gas, electric, and water companies often utilize AFP technology to deliver bills and statements to their customers. AFP streamlines the billing process by facilitating the creation of high-quality documents that are printed efficiently and cost-effectively. It provides flexibility in presenting personalized content and adds promotional messages, all while ensuring the accuracy and security of the customer’s billing data.

Insurance Sector: Insurance companies use AFP to create policy documents, statements, and various types of customer correspondence. AFP technology assists insurers in managing the complexity of insurance policies, including the formats, regulations, and multiple languages that are typically required. By using AFP, insurance companies can generate documents quickly, maintain their specific branding, and apply various output formats, such as printing, email, or web publishing.

Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) FAQ

1. What is Advanced Function Presentation (AFP)?

Advanced Function Presentation (AFP) is a document formatting and presentation architecture developed by IBM for high-volume data printing and electronic document management. It enables the creation, modification, and printing of complex documents in various formats with the ability to include interactive elements such as graphics, barcodes, and text.

2. What are the key components of AFP?

AFP consists of several components such as the Page Definition (PGD), Data Stream (AFPDS), Font management, and Resource management. These components work together to create a consistent output across multiple output devices with high-quality text and graphics.

3. What are the advantages of using AFP?

AFP offers several advantages, such as high-speed printing, consistent output across multiple devices, high-quality text and graphics, ease of managing multiple data streams, and efficient handling of document resources like fonts, images, and overlays.

4. How does AFP handle fonts?

AFP uses font management to handle fonts, allowing users to define multiple font resources and control their usage. AFP supports a variety of font types, including raster fonts, outline fonts, and Unicode fonts. Font character sets can be customized for specific languages, and the font rendering is optimized for high-quality printing.

5. How can I create and edit AFP documents?

Creating and editing AFP documents typically involve specialized software tools, including text editors, graphic design software, and prepress applications that support the AFP architecture. Additionally, many applications offer conversion utilities to create AFP files from other file formats, such as PDF, PostScript, or PCL.

6. In what industries is AFP commonly used?

AFP is widely used across various industries, including banking, insurance, telecommunications, utilities, and government. It is commonly used for applications requiring high-volume data printing and electronic document management, such as transactional documents, billing statements, reports, manuals, and forms.

Related Technology Terms

  • Page Segments
  • Conditional Processing
  • Data Mapping
  • Object Containers
  • Presentation Text Object

Sources for More Information


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