PDF - Getting Started

Ricardo Lee

2022-08-04 11:28

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1. Overview of PDF

PDF stands for Portable Document Format, which is an open standard for electronic document distribution around the world. PDF is a universal file format capable of saving all fonts, formatting, colors, and graphics of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create the document. It has now become a de facto industry standard for digital information.

History: The PDF format was born in the 1990s. The original intention of Adobe's design of the PDF file format is to support cross-platform, multimedia-integrated information publishing and publishing, especially to provide support for network information publishing.


To achieve this purpose, PDF has many advantages over other electronic document formats. The PDF file format can encapsulate text, fonts, formats, colors, and graphic images independent of device and resolution in a single file. This format file can also contain electronic information such as hypertext links, sounds and moving images, supports special files, and has high integration and security reliability.

  • The PDF format comes from Adobe, its products include Photoshop / Coreldraw / Illustrator...
  • The PDF format was born in the 1990s, but its design concept far exceeded the average level of the time
  • PDF format, now one of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards
In my study and work practice, PDF is currently the most common and applicable document format for document storage, transmission, and subsequent operations.

2. Advantages of PDF format files


The biggest advantage of the PDF format file is to encapsulate all the content in the document (including text, format, graphics, color and other elements) to form a complete document. Because it is encapsulated, the main features of PDF format files are:

Highly restored. The PDF format file is based on the PostScript language image model, and will not be deformed or distorted due to different devices, different versions of office tools, and lack of fonts. Based on this, PDF documents are particularly suitable for viewing and printing.

When browsing, PDF file creators can add bookmarks and links to make PDF documents easier to browse. When users browse, they can directly use electronic sticky notes, scribing, highlighting, underlining or commenting and other functions to mark, which is targeted.

When printing, users of PDF format files can print out every content of the document with a high degree of integrity on any printing device, and there will be no garbled printing or loss of printing content.
  • High security. The PDF format file has the encryption function, which can set the security level of the file and control the access authority. At the same time, when browsing the document, the content of the document will not be changed due to the user accidentally touching the keyboard when browsing the document.
  • Easy to read. After the PDF file is generated, users can open PDF reading or editing software from any device to open and browse and print the PDF file. It will not display different effects due to different software browsing.
  • Cross-platform. PDF files can be independent of software, hardware and the operating system they were created on. For example, a user can download a PDF file created by an Apple computer (Macintosh) operating system from a website under Unix operating system, and then perform operations such as browsing, editing, and printing on a Windows operating system.
3. Disadvantages of PDF format files


Based on the characteristics of PDF format files, its shortcomings are also obvious:

1) Modification is not convenient. PDF format files avoid unintentional modification, but at the same time prevent normal modification. The user cannot edit or modify the content of the PDF file when browsing the document using the PDF reading software. If you need to modify it, you need to download PDF professional editing software. Generally speaking, you need to spend money to buy the advanced version. In summary, the software cost is high.

2) Reverse conversion is difficult. PDF format files can be converted from various software (direct scanning, office tools, design software, image transfer, etc.). However, the vast differences in the content of PDF files (scanning and non-scanning conversion, different resolution and size, etc.) make it difficult to convert PDF documents into other formats.

3) The editing function is not powerful enough. There are many professional PDF editing tools on the market, which can handle general editing operations, such as text, format, style, page editing, etc. For large-scale editing, you can only find the source file and use the office tool to edit it, and then convert, package, and output it as a PDF document.

4. PDF file usage scenarios


Based on the characteristics of PDF format files, it is now widely applicable to various scenarios, such as:

  • Transmission of official documents, upload and release of confidential documents;
  • Report on work and study materials;
  • Package file vector printing;
  • Personal file, resume delivery;
  • Submit assignments, presentations, etc.;
  • Task summary;
  • Flowchart output;
  • Save scanned files;
  • Other......

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