PDFs - Portable Document Formats

A PDF is to know a dynamic and versatile file format that can dramatically simplify and expedite document viewing, integration, and printing. PDF is also an acronym: short for Adobe Portable Document Format. Adobe PDF is widely used by publishers, web designers/programmers, graphic designers, etc. PDFs are generally accepted as the preeminent format for universal document exchange.

PDF’s popularity and power originate from its five key attributes:

  • Compatible: A PDF is a cross-platform file format. This means that a PDF can be viewed on any computer. A PDF will preserve the document’s original style and formatting (including color, font, and imagery) exactly as they were intended to be seen. With Adobe Acrobat Reader, virtually anyone, on any computer, with any platform, running any application version, can recognize, read, and print identical PDF files.

  • Inter-Active: PDF files are highly navigable—this means you can move around the document's pages. PDF files contain highly useful navigation tools like: internal and external links, structured bookmarks, search capabilities, thumbnail page views, multi-directional buttons, magnification options, and more.

  • Accurate: PDF files are both ultra-printable and ultra-viewable (when saved as a high-resolution PDF). The file format utilizes the PostScript language-imaging model—you know about the PostScript imaging model. Just remember that a High ResolutionPDF ensures true, faithful, and crisp printing—the kind of printing you like.

  • Convenient: PDF files can be both smaller in size than original source files (e.g. potentially 20% as large as HTML files) and be easier to download and view. PDF documents also offer page-at-a-time downloading; allowing you to read and revise the early pages of a document before the entirety has been received. Further, because of their economical size, you’ll download the whole document quicker than you would a source file anyway.

  • Secure: PDF offers extensive security protections. Users can assign security passwords to PDF documents before sending them to maintain strict control over sensitive information. PDF files can be authenticated and secured with digital signature technology. A PDF feature known as SelfSign enables creators and users to restrict and track access to critical documents through the use of an encoded digital signature.

There are five primary methods for creating PDF files.

  1. Adobe Acrobat: main Adobe software for the creation and modification of PDF files. Allows users to create a PDF file by simply dropping-and-dragging a document into Acrobat, choosing the format directly from Microsoft Office, or converting scanned or web documents directly, among other methods.

  2. Adobe PDF Writer: software that mimics a printer driver to create PDF documents from nearly any Windows application.

  3. Adobe Acrobat Distiller: software for workgroup-oriented, automated high-volume conversion of PostScript files to PDF.

  4. Adobe Acrobat Capture: software designed specifically for the conversion of scanned image files to PDF—optimized for character recognition and clean-up.

  5. Other software: other Adobe graphical and publishing software such as FrameMaker, PageMaker, and Illustrator can be used to automatically create PDF files. Also, a surplus of third party software like EZ-PDF, ActivePDF Printer, and even QuarkXPress offer PDF creation capability.