What does PDF mean and what is a PDF?

PDF - Portable Document Format
PDF (Portable Document Format)
PDF refers to a type of document (PDF Document) format, which is widely used on the Internet. You need software (freely available) called Adobe Reader in order to view PDF documents.

For more detailed information please see below.
PDF (Portable Document Format) is a universal file format developed by Adobe that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and colour of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it.

In its early days, the PDF format was used in desktop publishing to share documents between disparate software and operating systems. However, the standard has gone on to include many new features which has increased its potential.

Due to its platform independence it has become ubiquitous on the Internet as a medium for exchanging documents. It was released as an open standard in 2008, which meant that its dominance as a document file format was cemented.

Creating PDF documents is a very straightforward process depending on which file format you want to convert from. For example, the suite of Microsoft Office 2010 applications, including Microsoft Word and Excel, provides the PDF format as an option in the "Save As" dialogue box. You can also add this functionality to previous versions of Microsoft Office products (Office 2007) by using this converter from Microsoft.

Adobe offers an online system (for a fee) to automatically generate PDF documents from various file formats, including Microsoft Word and Excel.

To view PDF files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader which you can download free from here.
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