Invented by Adobe Systems and perfected over 20 years, Portable Document Format (PDF) is now an open standard for electronic document exchange maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). When you convert documents, forms, graphics, and web pages to PDF, they look just like they would if printed. But unlike printed documents, PDF files can contain clickable links and buttons, form fields, video, and audio — as well as logic to help automate routine business processes. When you share a PDF file, virtually anyone can read it using free Adobe Reader® software or the Adobe Reader mobile app.
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Reliable — When you use PDF files to communicate, you don't have to worry about whether people have the same software you used to create your originals. So you're free to focus on what matters most — the smooth exchange of ideas and information.
Open standard — The integrity and longevity of the more than one billion PDF files in existence today is ensured by the ISO 32000 open standard. ISO 32000 is also the foundation for special-purpose PDF standards, including PDF/A for archiving, PDF/E for engineering, PDF/X or PDF/VT for printing, PDF for healthcare, and PDF/UA for accessibility.
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Trusted — Businesses and government agencies around the world use PDF as a standard format for exchanging documents more securely. You can, too. Using security features, including password protection, you can help prevent people from accessing, copying, editing, or printing PDF documents. You can also permanently delete sensitive information from PDFs by redacting visible text and illustrations or removing hidden information.
Multiplatform — You can view and interact with PDFs on virtually any platform, including Windows®, Mac OS, and mobile platforms including Android™ and iOS for iPhone and iPad.
Rich in file integrity — PDFs look just like the originals and preserve all the source file information, even when text, drawings, videos, audio, 3D maps, full-color graphics, photos, and business logic are combined in a single file or PDF Portfolio.
Simple to sign — Virtually anyone can electronically sign PDFs using free Adobe Reader XI software or Adobe Reader for mobile. PDF files can support basic signature images as well as certificate-based signatures that can be verified by independent third-party services.
Searchable — When you need to find a particular word or phrase in a PDF, it's easy to search text and metadata, including scanned text that was converted using optical character recognition (OCR) technology.
Accessible — Over time, the PDF specification has been expanded to work with assistive technologies, making PDF files more accessible to people with disabilities such as low vision or blindness.
Broadly adopted — Whether your business needs a specialized solution for integrating PDF files into daily workflows — or you'd like to receive training or consultation on the most efficient use of PDFs — support is available. Thousands of vendors worldwide offer PDF-based solutions, plug-ins, and tools, as well as PDF-focused training and consulting.