General Information about the PDF Format

PDF, short for Portable Document Format, was developed since 1993 by Adobe Systems to create a platform-independent file format.

The developers of PDF designed the format for unimpaired exchange of information between different computer platforms and applications. They created a document format which guaranteed that a file looks exactly the same when viewed on different platforms.

PDF stores content 100% true to the original, which means that the file can be viewed with any compliant viewer on any computer platform, and there will be absolutely no difference in the presentation.

PDF is a versatile document format which can store a huge variety of different data, such as formatted text, images and other media. Furthermore, it supports features such as password protection, copy protection, electronic signature, hyperlinks, internal links (table of contents/navigation), integrated thumbnails and much more.

Fields of Application

PDF is a well-established universal document format and has found wide application for many years. It has been used to distribute manuals, press releases, electronic magazines (ezines) and other media.

Because information from different applications can be integrated into a PDF file, the format is also used in the print-preprocessing sector.

View PDF Files

A PDF viewer is needed to view PDF files.

The manufacturer Adobe has long been the only company which developed PDF software, but has lifted its monopoly position and now also permits other developers to create software for PDF creation, editing and viewing. However, Adobe retains the copyright to the PDF format.

By now, several free applications for creating and viewing PDF files are available.

Adobe Acrobat vs. Noname PDF Reader

The original Adobe program, Adobe Acrobat, has evolved over time and contains extremely many features and helpful tools for editing PDF files, but the program is large and can be unwieldy for small tasks.

In contrast, other 3rd party products are simpler and usually contain only very limited possibilities to edit PDF files, but they are usually sufficient to view PDF files.

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