What Is a PDF File? A Basic Guide for Beginners

Chances are if you have used a computer for a while, you have most likely come across a file type named after its acronym PDF.

What is a PDF file anyway?

If you’ve ever wondered what the term means, why people use them, and how they work, you’re in the right place. Stick around and we will answer all these questions and more. 

What Does PDF Mean

The term PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format. They are identified by their file extension .pdf.

PDFs are utilized for ebooks, manuals, applications, and scanned documents just to name a few. PDFs are useful because they preserve the layout and formatting of a document. 

What Is a PDF File

PDF files were created by Adobe co-founder, John Warnock in the 1990s. The portable document format was designed for two reasons.

Warnock wanted people to have the ability to open a document on any hardware or operating system. He wanted to eliminate the need of having the program the document was created on. Instead, all you need is the PDF reader.

Second, Warnock wanted people to be able to see a document the same way the creator does without losing any formatting. Today’s PDFs can contain text, images, videos, hyperlinks, interactive buttons, forms, and more. 

How to Open a PDF File

Opening up a PDF is relatively simple. Most web browsers are designed to open up PDF files directly in the window browser. This saves space on your computer if you don’t need to save the file. 

If for some reason your web browser cannot open the file, it will direct you to download the file. Once your computer has downloaded the file, you’ll be able to open the file to view it. 

Let’s say you need to save the file for later, and your web browser has opened the PDF file in a new tab.

To save the file to your computer, you may see a button that looks like an upside-down arrow. When you hover over this icon, you’ll see it says “download”. Simply click it, and it will download the file. 

On other web browsers, you may see an icon that looks more like a floppy disc. When you hover over that icon, it will say “save”. This is the same feature as a download. Simply click and you’ll download the file. 

PDF Files Can Do Even More

With other tools like this .net pdf library, programmers can even use codes to save in PDF format. This provides even the most tech-savvy of users to share PDF documents of their complex computer codes. Pretty cool, huh? 

PDF Files Are Versatile

We hope this helps you answer the question: what is a PDF file?

As you can see, PDFs are versatile. From their simple and humble beginnings of sharing information without losing formatting, PDFs have become a powerful tool for sharing content between users. 

For more information on this topic and more, be sure to check back regularly.