What is PDF?
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. Invented by Adobe, PDF is now an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). PDFs can contain links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and business logic. They can also be signed electronically and are easily viewed using free Acrobat Reader DC software.
We invented PDF.
In 1991, Adobe cofounder Dr. John Warnock launched the paper-to-digital revolution with an idea he called The Camelot Project. The goal was to enable anyone to capture documents from any application, send electronic versions of these documents anywhere, and view and print them on any machine. By 1992, Camelot had developed into PDF. Today, it is the format trusted by businesses around the world.
Because looks really do matter.
Warnock's vision is alive, well, and evolving. When you save a document or image as an Adobe PDF, it looks just the way you intended it to. While many PDFs are simply pictures of pages, Adobe PDFs preserve all the data in the original file - even when text, graphics, spreadsheets, and more are combined in a single file.
PDFs have standards.
You can be confident your PDF file meets ISO 32000 standards for electronic document exchange, including special-purpose standards such as PDF/A for archiving, PDF/E for engineering, and PDF/X for printing. You can also create PDFs to meet a range of accessibility standards that make content more usable by people with disabilities.
In 2002, Time Inc. standardized on PDF/X as its preferred delivery format for advertisements.
It's all about security.
When you work with electronic documents, it's important to make protection a part of your routine. You can password protect your PDFs to prevent others from copying and editing. Redact them to permanently delete sensitive information. And even find and remove hidden data.
Get more out of scanned documents.
You can scan paper documents and forms to Adobe PDF and get smart files that are easy to search, share, and store. Adobe PDFs use optical character recognition (OCR) technology, so you can edit and comment on the documents you've scanned.
Learn how to
Acrobat Reader for desktop
Acrobat mobile app