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What is a PDF: Understanding the Format
What is a PDF: Understanding the Format

What is a PDF: Understanding the Format

by Alexa Davis
Aug 18, 2022

What is a PDF?

PDF files are everywhere and used by all sorts of people and organizations. PDFs are a versatile way of presenting and exchanging information in document format. In this article, we will provide you with detailed information about PDF files, the format, their use, and how to work with them. Anyway, let's start from the beginning: what is a PDF file?

What Does PDF Stand for?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. This format was invented by Dr. John Warnock, the co-founder of Adobe, in 1991. The PDF format we know today began under an idea called The Camelot Project, and by 1992, this had become the PDF. The idea behind its creation was to have a format that could be read, sent, and printed on any type of machine. Despite being twenty years old, the PDF format is still going strong and is trusted by organizations worldwide.

What Are the Benefits of PDF Format?

The reason that PDFs have remained popular for two decades is that their formatting is the same no matter the device or software used. A PDF document is difficult to modify, can have permissions put on it, and can be password protected.

Another benefit is that it is possible to rearrange pages without affecting the other PDF pages’ content. There is no distortion, for example.

If the visual elements of a PDF document are important to you or to your organization, PDF format is the one to use. It will preserve your document’s visual elements such as layout, images, and graphs.

What is a PDF, really? While many people think PDF files are images or text, this is incorrect. For instance, PDFs can support hyperlinks which are impossible for image formats. Files are also smaller with PDFs as you can compress raw data like graphics.

Why PDF?

Using the PDF format is much more secure than other document formats. PDF files are admissible in court since the documents cannot be altered without there being a digital trace of the alteration. As PDFs are primarily meant for viewing, they don’t distort your documents. You can zoom into files and the formatting always stays the same.

How to Open PDF: PDF Viewers

Since PDFs are universal, they can be viewed on any device with any suitable software. However, you do need to have the right program to view PDFs.

There are several ways to read them and you probably already have at least one of these on your device as standard. For example, most modern internet browsers have a feature to view PDFs. This is why when you open a PDF it will often appear as a page in an internet browser rather than a document like Word for instance.

You can also view PDFs with free software. You might need to download it to the computer or the device you use.

Another way of viewing PDF files is through cloud storage services. If you store PDFs on a cloud file storage service, you’ll probably find that this already has a built-in PDF viewer. Google Drive or Dropbox can perfectly do that.

How to Edit a PDF File?

What is a PDF and is it editable? Generally speaking, PDFs are used when editing isn’t required. However, you can find both online and offline PDF editors if you do need to alter a PDF document.

How to Convert PDF files?

Should you require a PDF file to be in a different format, it is possible to convert them. There are lots of websites where PDFs can be converted. It’s possible to convert them for posterior editing, too.

How to Protect PDF?

PDFs can be password protected so that only authorized people can open the files. You can do this in PDF Candy online by selecting the “Protect PDF” tool. After choosing this option, insert a secure password and get your PDF files protected.

How to organize PDF?