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PDF File

PDF files, short for Portable Document Format, is a software or hardware platform independent storage format for digital documents. Initially developed by the Adobe Systems company, it was officially released as an open standard in July 2008 and published by ISO as ISO 32000-1. The PDF format is a type composed of vector images, bitmaps and text.

PDF files present a document in a flat, fixed layout (similar to an image) that is translated in the same way through various programs, hardware, and operating systems. It allows the user to use several formats of text, images and fonts (sometimes with searchable content and hyperlinks) in a single document, ready for printing and easy to share with any device. Most PDF readers are free and are not protected by copyright or blocked, which makes them easy to access and use. However, files can be password protected, encrypted and edited. In addition, they support 3D elements since 2004. Any computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader can open PDF files. It is also possible to view, send and store these types of files using many mobile devices (phones and tablets).

PDF files are almost universal since most Web browsers, regardless of the Operating System that contains it, are enabled to open this type of file, even directly from the web that hosts it. There is also a great variety of software on the market to make edits directly on the PDF file.

The great advantage that PDF files have is their versatility and portability without losing practically anything of their original characteristics, unlike office documents, which mostly have to be adjusted and modified every time they are opened in software other than the one used to create them.

Details of PDF files

PDF files offer two modes, optimized and non-optimized. Non-optimized files are smaller in size, but take longer to load because the necessary data is spread throughout the file. On the other hand, the optimized ones can be viewed in the web browser and do not require a complete download to start the visualization. PDF files can also be made interactive using Flash animations, 3D art and 2D vector graphics, attachments, and various security measures (encryption, digital signature, etc.).

Open a PDF file

To open a PDF file, it is enough to have the associated program, either a dedicated software, or that the web browser has the correct plugin. Below is a list of the most common programs that operate on a PDF file.

  • Adobe Viewer
  • Ghostscript
  • Ghostview
  • Xpdf
  • gPDF
  • Acrobat Reader