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Portable Document Format (PDF)

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a cross-platform format for handling electronic documents. It was developed by Adobe and first rolled out in 1991. Initially, Portable Document Format (PDF) was designed as an electronic medium for any printed product.

Version 1.1 of the format appeared in 1994. It implemented machine-independent colors, comments, external links, etc. The following version came out in 1996. It had enhanced features as compared to the previous release, such as support for the CMYK color model, the OPI spec, and certain other capabilities. In 1999 Portable Document Format (PDF) Version 3.1 was rolled out. It had anti-aliasing and gradient technologies, OPI 2.0 specification compliance. In 2001 a new version of the format was published with support for transparency, encryption, and certain other features.

Portable Document Format (PDF) has several advantages over other formats used for electronic documents.
  • Portability. A document in this format will look the same on any computer regardless of its software load or operating system
  • Security. The Portable Document Format (PDF) is equipped with content encryption mechanisms, tools to protect unauthorized use (copying, printing, etc.) as well as a digital signature facility
  • Compactness. This format has several archiving mechanisms effective in compressing various types of data
  • Wide availability of software. Today almost all computers have free viewers for documents in the Portable Document Format (PDF)
  • Editing Protection. Documents in this format are protected from changes by users

Thanks to these features, the Portable Document Format (PDF) has become almost ubiquitous. In addition, there are several special-purpose versions, such as PDF/A, PDF/E, PDF/UA, PDF/X. Some of these have become international standards used for various applications related to electronic documents.

In 2007 Adobe transferred the specification of the latest version of the Portable Document Format (PDF) to a public body known as the Association for Information and Image Management. In July 2008 ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) certified this format as international standard ISO 32000-1.

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