PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that enables a document to be created, distributed and read on different hardware/software platforms while preserving all aspects of the layout.
The history of PDF
PDF was launched by Adobe Systems in 1993 and is Adobes solution for distributing documents. The PDF standard was developed as an answer to the old problem, where you create a beautiful document on your computer, but when you send it to someone else, it looks weird, or they can’t view it or print it at all. PDF is..
- ..universal, everyone who opens your PDF document on their computer sees exactly the same thing.
- ..precise, everyone sees precisely what you created, page by page: the same text, fonts, colors, illustrations, and page layout.
- ..easy to print, everyone can print it on their own printer.
PDF was not a given success from the beginning for Adobe since it was rather costly, non web links enabled, generated large file sizes (at the time when modems still ruled the world!) and was processor intensive. Nowadays, PDF files have become a de facto standard for sharing printable documents on the web. Adobe changed the licensing format for PDF to become a open format which means that anyone is now free to create a program that can generate or read a PDF file.
Isn’t PostScript a portable format?
PostScript is not a portable format. The reason is that when a PostScript document is produced, it’s optimized for printing on a particular brand and model PostScript printer. The PostScript file that prints beautifully on this PostScript printer may print partially, incorrectly, or not at all on another PostScript printer. In short, PostScript is not suitable for distributing a document. (For further information, continue reading here!)
While PostScript is a programming language, PDF is a file format that is based on a subset of the PostScript language. PDF files are very compact compared to files generated directly by .ps (PostScript) or compared to.eps (Encapsulated PostScript) or other .prn (raw printer data ) files.
Isn’t MS Word a portable format?
MS Word is not a portable format. First of all, not everyone have MS Word installed belive it or not. While Word cost money, many available free available programs exist to create and read PDF files. But most important of all, you can’t guarantee that the contents of your Word file will look the same if sending it to another user.
The Best PDF Tools and how to Create, Edit, Open, Convert and Print PDF files
Continue reading our articles on how to best work with PDF:
- Create/Print PDF Files for free and learn which tools to use! (coming soon!)
- Edit PDF Files and learn which tools to use! (coming soon!)
- Open PDF Files and learn which tools to use! (coming soon!)
- Convert to PDF Files for free and learn which tools to use! (coming soon!)