PDF Definition and Meaning

It has increasingly been used files of all kinds “converted” to PDF format (Portable Document Format). Thanks to the abbreviationfinder dictionary, it has become possible and necessary to carry out the distribution and exchange of electronic documents between individuals and companies and, at this point, PDF technology is the most prevalent. This article will show you a little bit of the history of this format, why it has become so popular and how it is possible to convert files of various types to PDF format.


How the PDF format came about

The PDF came about thanks to the efforts of one of Adobe Systems’ founders , John Warnock. The initial idea was to create a technology that would allow viewing files on any computer, regardless of platform, and that could be printed on any printer.

PDF technology ended up being launched based on PostScript technology. The first version of the PDF was officially made available in 1993, and consists of two programs: Acrobat and Reader. The first allows the creation of PDF files from another file, while the second is a PDF file viewer and is distributed free of charge (the first version of Reader was paid for).

How PDF technology works

PDF is a type of file that represents pages of electronic documents on your computer screen. It is possible to convert various types of files to PDF, from text-based ones to documents with tables, graphs, images, etc. For this, PDF generates files using the essential principles of PostScript technology, which is a kind of language used to build pages for the most diverse purposes.

In general, it is possible to convert any file that can be printed to PDF. This is where there is usually confusion. Most programs that convert files to PDF format work as follows: you install the software on your computer and it will be listed as a printer. So, when you want to convert a file to PDF, you must open it through the program that manipulates it, go to the printing functions and select the program there. Then just click on the Print button and the file will be printed in PDF format.

See this example to better understand: the free program PDFCreator was created on a Windows computer to generate PDF files (there are several programs for this purpose, but the best known is Adobe Acrobat).

Notice that the program installed itself as if it were a printer. From there, in any program where it is possible to print, just select the PDF printer (instead of a real printer) and it will convert the file in question to this format. In our example, we will use the Paint.NET program and print a topography to PDF. For this, the image was loaded into the program and, then, the printing feature in File / Print was activated.

What allows PDF to work with different file formats is not quite compatible with related programs, but rather works with the format that is sent to printers. When you have your computer print a file, the data is transmitted to the printer in a way that it prints the file as closely as possible to the electronic version. Roughly speaking, it’s like your computer takes a picture of the file and sends it to the printer in a way that it understands. What PDF does is to capture this “photo of the file” and instead of printing on paper, it prints in an electronic visualization format.

With the evolution of PDF technology, it is possible that it works accurately with figures, links, sources and even with sound and video files. It all depends on the program that generates the PDF file. Acrobat Reader, for example, can work in an integrated way with several better known programs, mainly with the Microsoft Office line. Working together with other programs, it is possible to make the generated PDF file more compact, as a better view and with greater fidelity to the original version.

Something important to mention is that PDF can distinguish sources for the use of texts. Thus, in conversion, he does not necessarily treat the texts in the file as if they were an image. Instead, the PDF recognizes the text and tries to format it as similar as possible to the source file. That is why some PDF files come out differently than the original version. If you use a specific font in the file, it must be installed on the target computer, otherwise the text font may be different. To deal with this, it is possible to incorporate fonts and other resources into the PDF file before its generation. Just explore the features of the program you use.

Currently, there are other ways to create a PDF file, but the method that works as a printer is the most common. It is worth noting that PDF files can be generated and read on any platform (Linux, Mac, Windows, etc.).

When a file is converted to PDF, all of its content is made available as if it were an image. Thus, the format does not allow texts to be altered, figures to be taken or even the file to be printed (the latter requires enabling this feature in the generator program). It is even possible to edit PDF files with the help of PDF generating programs, but in a very limited way (as long as the file does not have protection features). This is one of the reasons for the popularity of this format: it is possible to distribute documents while maintaining the integrity of the files, including formatting, font patterns, etc. Because of this, the PDF format is also widely used for the distribution of electronic books.

The PDF format is so secure that it is even difficult to corrupt. In addition, when converting a file to PDF, it is compressed. Thus, files with 1 MB in size can be 100 or 200 KB. Because it is not a “heavy” format, the distribution of PDF files over the Internet has become commonplace. Companies that need to make their financial statements available, for example, usually do so using the PDF format.

PDF technology has become a standard for document distribution, mainly because it allows file integrity and efficient compression. Another point of great influence is the fact that people work with the most different types of programs. The variety is so great that it is impossible for a person to have all the software installed on their computer. Imagine the following situation: an individual uses a text editing program developed by the company he works for and needs to send a report to a specific person. That person, however, uses only OpenOffice.org for Linux, which does not read program files from that company. To resolve the issue and deliver the report,

Thanks to all these advantages, the PDF format is increasingly popular. So much so, that today it is even possible to integrate sound and video files into PDF documents. At a time when the spread of viruses and other digital pests is increasing, PDF is the right choice for exchanging documents, after all it has an advantage: it is practically impossible to add viruses or malicious programs to PDF files.

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