What's a PDF?

April 6, 2019

PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format. It’s the most popular standard for electronic records. PDF digital files contain graphics, searchable text, and other types of rich media in the same document. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe in 1992. It uses the digital file extension *.pdf.

Icon for a Portable Document File.

PDF Portability

The PDF is a great format for digital records because of it’s flexibility. PDF files store images, similar to the JPG, alongside text. Their contents can be just like what’s found on a webpage, magazine, or newspaper page. It’s portability is recognized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This means the user can view PDF files on any device.

PDF Searchability

PDF is the perfect format for quickly finding a word, or a string of words, within multiple documents at the same time. This discoverability leads to easier sharing of records with family and friends. It’s also possible to store thousands of pages documents using less than a gigabyte (GB) of data storage. It's possible to store thousands books to a single flash drive the size of your thumb.


PDF Quality

Millions of PDF files are created every day as people save their important records. The 300 dpi option is great for large volumes of text, but resolutions up to 1200 dpi render the best quality. PDF is the perfect format for capturing, curating, and connecting family with old memories that are too bulky to save in paper form. This includes kids artwork, certificates, and all kinds of papers scrapbook items.

PDF Resiliency

The PDF digital file is extremely resilient and moves across the world at the speed of light. As digital data, it can be copied and stored in multiple locations, further increasing it's life expectancy to what one might consider indelible. Thanks to the PDF, there’s now a worldwide digitizing boom and race to save old documents like newspaper clippings, handwritten letters, and other ancestry articles.


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