All About PDFs

All About PDFs
By Nicholas Svizzero

Definition & History
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. Invented by Adobe, PDF is now an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). PDFs can contain links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and business logic. They can also be signed electronically and are easily viewed using free Acrobat Reader DC software. Adobe cofounder Dr. John Warnock launched the paper-to-digital revolution with an idea he called The Camelot Project in 1991. The goal was to enable anyone to capture documents from any application, send electronic versions of these documents anywhere, and view and print them on any machine. By 1992, Camelot had developed into PDF. Today, it is the format trusted by businesses around the world and Warnock’s vision is alive, well and evolving. When you save a document or image as an Adobe PDF, it looks just the way you intended it to. While many PDFs are simply pictures of pages, Adobe PDFs preserve all the data in the original file – even when text, graphics, spreadsheets, and more are combined in a single file.

Historical Source: Adobe

Design Benefits of PDF
When discussing print design, PDF is your ultimate end-all-be-all file format when sending documents to be printed. As stated in their history above, Adobe PDFs encapsulate all source materials within a document, which allows any computer to view – and subsequently print them. Sizing, layout, etc. all is maintained from the original source documents to ensure a complete carbon-copy print exactly as how it was originally made. Also, by sending PDF files, source files don’t necessarily need to be sent – eliminating any confusion, missing links and the like.

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