Most everyone has opened or created a PDF at some point, but how much do you really know about this common file type?
You use them for important forms, saving documents and ensuring compatibility among devices. Yet, many people don’t even know what PDF stands for. It’s portable document format, just in case anyone asks you.
Before you open another PDF file, take a moment to truly appreciate how much this format has helped transform the way we view, create and share documents.
1. They’re Pixel Perfect
Part of the appeal of PDFs is they’re perfect replicas of any document or image. They’re designed to allow any viewer to view a document exactly as the original author intended, which means it’s perfect down to the last pixel. With other file formats, you might see differences in formatting and colors when viewed in different programs or devices. With PDFs, everything stays the same.
2. Development Started In The 90s
You might think of PDFs as being something that started in the 2000s, but development started in 1990. John Warnock, the co-founder of Adobe, created a team codenamed Camelot. They’re mission was to solve the compatibility problems between devices, programs and users to ensure files stayed the same without any distortion or issues.
3. PDFs Get 3D Capabilities
This is a new development, but did you ever think you’d see a PDF as anything other than a flat document? Currently, 3D PDF files aren’t cross-compatible, but they are being used to provide detailed diagrams and images, such as blueprints and models.
These 3D images are embedded in PDFs and extend the capabilities far beyond what users typically expect. Click the image and see a complete 3D rendering.
4. They Weren’t Designed For A Single Platform
Most file types are designed for a specific platform, such as DOC was originally designed for Microsoft Word. The entire point of a PDF was to avoid any favoritism to a single platform. Whether you use a Mac, PC or Linux-based device, PDFs work well. Android or iOS? No problem there either. As new platforms are created, the file format continues to stay compatible and truly cross-platform.
5. PDFs Compress Data Easily
PDFs are designed to compress data easily without compromising the quality of images or text. This means that large DOC file you have that’s filled with graphics could be significantly smaller when saved as PDF.
Of course, since PDF files are such a widely used format, you have numerous free and paid tools available to shrink your PDFs even more. This is why so many people choose to send files as PDFs since they can be compressed to upload and download faster.
6. Use Them To Save The Internet
This one might sound odd, but have you ever visited a website, went back a few days later and the content you wanted to read was completely gone? PDFs have become a popular way to save anything on the Internet exactly how it is at any given point. If you just do a screen grab, you run the risk of the image being distorted depending on the format it saves in and what program you use to open it.
With PDFs, you can save any page online. Keep a record of all your pins on Pinterest. Create PDF photo pages from Instagram. Save that article you found so inspiring on a blog. You could even create your own PDF scrapbook of things you find online.
7. They’re Easy To Work With
When they were first created, PDFs weren’t the easiest file to work with. Sure, you could open them on any device, but creating and editing them was a different story. Now, you don’t need Adobe Acrobat to create or edit PDFs. That’s right. For instance, our PDF to Word Converter lets you convert any PDF to a Word document without losing any formatting. When you’re done editing, just print back to PDF and you’re done.
Much like USB devices, expect to see PDFs around for years to come. As a cross-platform file, they’re just too convenient and useful to fade away.