A PDF (Portable Document Format) is a compact file format that provides a way of creating, viewing and sharing documents electronically between users. It is a universally compatible format providing a standard that works for any computer and on any platform.
Created by Adobe Systems and launched in 1993, the PDF was geared towards providing a solution for organizations, corporations and people who needed to exchange reliable documents electronically. Since then, the PDF specification has been developed to accommodate many uses in an increasingly technology-driven world.
Primarily, PDF files are used when you want to preserve the appearance of the original document. The PDF is, in essence, a carbon copy “image” of a document. It is similar to a fax machine that takes a “picture” of the document and electronically sends it to another fax machine. Combined with its compact nature, the PDF is an ideal tool for transmitting electronic files.
All that is needed for the recipient to access a PDF file is a PDF viewer, such as Adobe Reader. Just like the PDF format, a PDF viewer is a cross-platform compatible software that allows users to view and utilize PDF documents on or offline.
Most importantly, they can be downloaded onto any computer for free. This is one of the reasons why PDFs are so accessible and convenient—anyone with a reader is capable of viewing a PDF file document. Furthermore, web browsers have PDF readers built into them, which allows users to view PDFs online very easily.
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