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A powerful guide to PDF document files

by Casey Schmidt  |  February 6, 2020

4 min. read
A picture of a desk with a laptop.

The PDF is an efficient, easy-to-use document file type. It’s important to know how to navigate it, considering how prevalent it has become in a professional setting. In order to keep pace, learn how the PDF functions as well as some of the advantages of using one. Here’s a comprehensive PDF document file guide.

What is a PDF?

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file type that handles printed documents extensively. You can, search, view links and share PDF files. They hold multimedia such as audio or video and they are secure to open from different hardware, software and OS. They’re notably efficient and purposeful for professional tasks such as sharing files with clients. The security features prevent these files from being mistakenly (or purposely) edited by the recipient.

Imagine you have a printed newspaper and there’s an article you would like to share. A PDF is like capturing the article you want, elements and all, and giving it to a recipient. The article they receive has the original images included as well. This is the power of PDF. It’s a way to capture a document of any format on every software and sharing it with anyone regardless if they use the same systems or not.

Why use a PDF?

What really stands out when it comes to the PDF is the way it benefits companies. It has become one of the go-to document file types for a lot of enterprise-related tasks. This is mainly for two major reasons. The first is that PDF offers extra layers of security over other document choices. PDF files are lockable, which opens up extensive sharing options. For example, companies can use locked PDF to send sensitive financial and tax documents to employees. This also allows them to keep a lot of their tasks within the digital realm rather than have to use paper.

An icon of a locked PDF file.
PDF files have locking capabilities.

The second big reason PDF has a stronghold with companies is its professional appeal. Not only does it share documents efficiently by circumventing software incompatibilities; it gives companies uniformity. Chances are you’ve experienced this at some level if you’ve polished your CV and applied for a job recently. You’ll notice almost universally companies require the format to be PDF.

How do I open a PDF file?

PDF files are created in Adobe but you don’t need Adobe systems to open one. They are universal files open-able by web browsers, word processors (such as Microsoft Word) and other software apps. As a standard, users without Adobe installed open PDF using a web browser. However, you can force it to open in other accessible programs. See the picture below. Also note that if you’re on a MAC, your system automatically opens PDFs in ‘Preview’.

A screenshot of a user opening a PDF file.
You can open PDF files using the ‘choose another app’ option.

The main benefits of PDF

Now that you understand why PDF is so popular and how it’s used, here are its biggest features:

PDF mass-mailings aren’t edited by mistake

Imagine sending out a mass newsletter only to have different team members read it differently. This is a possibility on a document such as a word processor. Any time that a document is editable, we should assume it will be edited by mistake at some point. This is what makes PDF so valuable. The PDF requires extensive effort to edit. Accidentally erasing a line of text is impossible.

An animated PDF icon.
Confidently send out mass newsletters using PDF.

Consistent formatting

The formatting of PDF documents is always consistent. This is vital for companies who send documents inter-departmentally. When enterprises share information company-wide, the uniformity of formatting promotes clarity and efficiency. It also maintains this high level of professional formatting when sending files to outside parties.

Handles large text amounts

When we consider how many documents have high text counts, it’s obvious why PDF continues to gain popularity. PDF easily manages things like eBooks and other digital publications, maintaining original layouts and maximizing potential for printing. Like other document files, it’s capable of searching within large texts to locate certain pages and details.

The PDF consistently maximizes enterprise efficiency of documents, making it one of the best document file choices. Make sure you have a firm grasp of how it works and the benefits it offers.