What Is A PDF (Portable Document Format) File and How To Open PDF?

PDF is a popular file extension that is generally used to store documents, brochures, books, scanned documents, user manuals portable format. PDF is the short form of the Portable Document Format.

What Is PDF File?

Portable Document Format or PDF is a standard which is created Adobe in 1993. The PDF files have the .pdf the file extension for all different platforms. The PDF file contains different types of data, text, and scripts in order to represent the content properly and pretty way. The PDF file contains postscript, text, font, vector graphics, raster images and other data to display content properly. Below you can find an example PDF file that displays images, text, tables, headers in a colored way, etc.

What Is PDF File?
What Is PDF File?

Here is a list of contents that can be stored and used in a PDF file.

  • Text
  • Image
  • Vector Graphics
  • Raster Images
  • Embedded Fonts
  • Hyperlinks
  • Video
  • Interactive Buttons
  • Forms
  • Digital Signatures
  • Attachments

PDF file format is standardized with ISO 32000 electronic document exchange standards. There are some sub-standards for specific purposes like;

  • `PDF/A` for document archiving
  • `PDF/E` for engineering
  • `PDF/X` for printing

PDF File Advantages

PDF format becomes very popular because of its advantages. Here you can find some advantages to the PDF file format.

  • `Cross-Platform`: PDF file format is supported in different operating systems and platforms like Windows, Linux, Android, MacOSX, Windows Mobile, IOS, etc.
  • `Graphic Integrity`: PDF file contents may contain graphics and these graphics can be shown in an integrated and pretty way.
  • `Secure`: PDF files can provide integrity and encryption for PDF content like text, image, graphics, etc.
  • `Compact`: PDF file is compact where multiple contents can be stored into a single PDF file without extra extensions and presented in a compact way just opening the PDF file.
  • `User Interaction`: PDF files can provide interactive user experiences like filling forms, putting data, checking input, calculations, and scripting.
  • `Support`: PDF file format is supported by different platforms and applications tools specialized for the PDF format to display, edit, create or update.
  • `Searchable`: PDF file text content can be searched like a word or web page content.

How To Open/View PDF File?

As a popular file format, there are a lot of different ways and applications to open a PDF file. In this part, we will learn how to open or view a PDF file in different operating systems like Windows, Linux, MacOSX, Android, iOS with different tools. The following tools can be used to open and view PDF files.

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Foxit Reader
  • Abbyy PDF Reader
  • LibreOffice Draw
  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Qoppa PDF Studio
  • Okular
  • Scribus
  • Inkspace
  • Evince
  • Foxit Reader

Open/View PDF with Google Chrome

It may seem strange to open a PDF file with a browser but for a long time, Google Chrome can open PDF files. As the web or internet is full of PDF files it is very convenient to open a PDF file as a browser.

  1. Right-click to the PDF file.
  2. Navigate to the `Open with` file.
  3. Select `Google Chrome` from the list
Open/View PDF with Google Chrome
Open/View PDF with Google Chrome

The opened PDF file will look like below in the Google Chrome browser. The URL will be the path of the PDF file and protocol will be file://.

How To Create PDF File?

PDF files can be created in different ways as creating a PDF file is a lot easier than editing or updating a PDF file. A PDF file can be created with a specific PDF tool like Acrobat DC, Abbyy PDF Editor, Qoppa PDF Studio or with Google Chrome or Microsoft PDF printer.

In the following example, the PDF is created from a Google Chrome browser. We will use CTRL+P to open the printing menu where we will select the Destination as Save as PDF or Microsoft Print to PDF.

How To Create PDF File?
How To Create PDF File?

How To Edit PDF File?

The hardest job for a PDF file is editing the PDF file. In order to edit a PDF file, we need some special tool which is created for editing PDF file. Generic PDF tools like Google Chrome or PDF viewers can not work for editing PDF.  These PDF editing tools generally require some fee to buy and use.

  • `Adobe Acrobat Pro DC`
  • `Nitro Pro12`
  • `PDF Architect 6 Professional`

How To Convert PDF File?

Even PDF is a very popular compatible file format we may need to convert PDF files into different formats like Word Doc, HTML, Image, etc. PDF files can be converted these format generally using some PDF editing software those are described above. Also, there are some web-based tools paid or free which can be used to convert PDF files. These web tools provide practical usage because there is no need to install some extra software.

As an example, Zamzar is a web-based tool that can convert PDF files up to 100MB in size. The PDF file will be uploaded into the Zamzar web server where the converted file download link will be emailed to the provided email address. We can select different conversion formats like doc, docx, jpeg, text, xlsx etc.

Zamzar PDF Convert
Zamzar PDF Convert

Alternatively, we can download the converted file after the conversion is complete.

PDF Alternatives

In some cases, we may need alternative file formats for the PDF. One of the most important drawbacks of PDF file format is editing is very painful. Here you can find some alternative format to PDF to store text, image, graphics, data, etc.

  • `Word`
  • `Excel`
  • `Text`

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