What is PDF?
The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a method of presenting documents independent of application software or operating systems. A PDF file is essentially an electronic image of a document. It encapsulates everything needed to create a fixed-layout flat document: text, fonts, graphics, and other information needed to display the file.
The uses of PDF
The PDF format allows for shared files to appear the same on multiple computer systems without issue of missing installed font types or image link locations. The file format is commonly used for publishing electronic documents like eBooks. PDFs can also include a high level of interactivity through the use of hyperlinks, bookmarks and embedding or including videos that can be played from the PDF itself.
A popular use of PDFs among businesses is to create an interactive form. A company can convert a form into a PDF for job, insurance or class enrollment applications. Recipients of this document can type data directly into each field in the form and submit it to the originating entity. This reduces the need for paper-based forms and allows for quick email-based data submissions.
History of the PDF
Adobe Systems created the PDF file format in 1990 to provide a universal method of exchanging electronic documents. The format succeeded, but adoption was slow because in the earliest days, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe’s software product for reading and creating PDFs, wasn’t free.
Earlier versions of this file format didn’t support hyperlinks, which was much to its detriment as the Internet gained in popularity. While Adobe Systems released the PDF specification for use in 1993, the format remained proprietary to the company until it became an open standard in 2008.