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PDF - Portable Document Format

PDF is short for Portable Document Format.

PDF is a file format developed by Adobe Systems in 1992. PDF captures formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications, making it possible to send formatted documents and have them appear on the recipient's monitor or printer as they were intended.This is because a PDF will maintain the original fonts, images, graphics as well as the exact layout of the file.

How to Create and View PDF files

A PDF file can be shared, viewed, and printed by anyone using the free Adobe Reader software regardless of the operating system, original design application or fonts. The tools to view and create PDF files, called Acrobat, were released in 1993. To view a file in PDF format, you need Adobe Reader, a free application distributed by Adobe Systems. Initially, the tools to create and view PDFs were expensive. Later, Adobe launched a free version of Acrobat Reader.

PDF Today

Today, PDF is an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The format has expanded over the years and now PDF files can contain elements including links, form fields, audio and can also be signed electronically to collect e-signatures that are legally binding. Access to PDF files can be controlled with passwords and protected PDFs can be created in many different office and productivity applications.

Recommended Reading: Webopedia's All About Adobe PDF guide.

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