What is a PDF File Format?

The PDF file format is one of the most commonly-used file formats for text and imagery. Even if you’re not quite sure what it is, you’ve certainly encountered it before.

What is a PDF file? Why is it used and why is it beneficial? What makes it different from other file formats that seem, on the surface, to possess similar qualities?

Understanding the file formats that you use can go a long way toward improving your business processes. We’re here to explain what a PDF is, how and when to use it, and more.

Read on as we dive into the PDF file format.

What Is a PDF File?

PDF stands for “Portable Document Format.” The PDF was invented by Adobe in 1992, in part to resolve some file viewing discrepancies that occurred from server to server. The idea is that when a file is saved as a PDF, others will be able to view it the way you intended regardless of the type of computer or software they are using.

When Should You Use the PDF File Format?

There are many appropriate times to use the PDF file format. Almost any time you want to send a document to multiple people, a PDF is one of the safest ways to do so. This will avoid issues that can occur when, for example, you try to send a Word document to someone using a Mac computer that does not have Microsoft Word.

One notable feature of the PDF file format is that is designed to remain unchanged by the viewer. When you open something like a Word document, you are typically able to edit the file by adding or subtracting text and images. PDFs do not allow you to edit them unless you have PDF editing software, and most people do understand that they are not meant to edit a PDF they have not designed.

PDFs are also great for preserving the structure of a document. If the placement of text or imagery is crucial to the understanding of your document, save it as a PDF so that it does not become altered when viewed by others.

How Can You Convert a File to PDF Format?

How you convert a file to PDF format depends on the software you have and the file type you’re working with. Take a look at this guide on C# create PDF from HTML. As you can see, this is a very specific process because HTML is a very different computer-based language than other files.

Most of the time, conversion is simple. When saving a document, look for a file type menu and select PDF from the drop-down options.

Understand Your Formatting to Improve Your Processes

The PDF file format is a useful one. In some ways, it is the only truly universal file type there is. Now that you know what it is, how it’s useful, and how to create one, you can use PDFs more often.

Looking for more ways to make tech accessible? Take a look at our tech content for guides like this one.

Leave a Reply