PDF stands for Portable Document format, is a file format developed by Adobe for saving multimedia documents for electronic exchange of documents which is not intended for editing further. It captures the document text, fonts, images, hyperlinks, graphs and other elements of printed documents as an electronic image, which you can navigate, view and even forward to someone else. It provides page-by-page view of the document, same as it appears in their printed form. PDF ensures that your printed or viewed file retains the formatting that you intended.

File Extension: .pdf
Mime types: application/pdf, application/x-pdf, application/x-bzpdf, application/x-gzpdf

PDF files are created using Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat Capture, or similar products. To view and use the files, you need the free Acrobat Reader, which can be easily downloaded. After downloading the Reader, the software will start working automatically, whenever you want to open a PDF file.

PDF files are useful for documents like product brochures, magazine articles, business documents or flyers where you want to preserve the original graphic appearance even on internet. You can e-mail a PDF document to others and it will look the same way on their screen as it looks on yours, even if they have a Mac and you have a PC.

Situations when PDF fiels are desirable:

  • Graphic design development in which team members are working at from a different locations but need to explore design ideas online
  • Help desk people who need to see the printed book that users are looking at
  • The online distribution of any printed document where you will have to preserve its printed appearance

PDF files are more than just image documents; they can even embed type fonts so that they will be available at any location for reading. It can also include some interactive elements like buttons for form entering and sound triggering for QuickTime or AVI movies.

Benefits of PDF:

Open standard: These PDF files in existence today are ensured by the ISO 32000 open standard. It is also the foundation for other special-purpose PDF standards, that includes PDF/A for archiving, PDF/E for engineering, PDF/X or PDF/VT for printing, PDF for healthcare, and PDF/UA for accessibility.

Multiplatform support: You can view and interact with PDFs virtually on any platform, including Windows, Mac OS, and on some mobile platforms including Android and iOS for iPhone and iPad.

Searchable: When you need to find a particular word or phrase in a PDF, one can easily search for a text, metadata and other scanned text which was converted by using optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

Rich File-integrity: PDFs preserve all the source file information, even when your drawings, videos, text, 3D maps, audio, photos, full-color graphics and your business logic are combined in a single file or a PDF portfolio.

Limitations of PDF files:

  • In order to create and read a PDF file you need separate software  
  • PDF files cannot be updated easily; it is easier to recreate the entire document rather than updating specific document

What if your important PDF document gets lost from your system or any storage device? To know how to recover lost PDF documents, visit this page.

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