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What is a PDF?

PDF, or Portable Document Format, is a universal file format created by Adobe. Its main purpose is to enable easy and reliable document sharing and exchange across various different platforms.

PDF files are commonly used to share various types of documents, such as reports, articles, e-books, forms, and more. Their main advantage is that they can easily preserve the original formatting and layout of the document, which means they will look the same on any device they are opened on.

When you save a file in a different format, such as .DOCX, it will probably display different on another computer – for example, the user may not have the fonts installed. PDF documents convert text to a fixed layout which makes the PDF page “frozen”. A PDF file will mostly look the same, regardless of the computer or program you’re using to view PDF documents. However, this feature also has some disadvantages – PDF files are harder to edit when they are finished.

Currently, the PDF format is an open standard managed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This means that anyone can create, open, and convert PDF files without needing Adobe’s proprietary software like Adobe Reader.

In this text, we will explain more about the PDF file format, and its advantages over other file types and applications in more detail. We will also discuss how to create, open, and edit PDF files, using various solutions or PDF tools.

People also ask:

Is there anything better than the PDF file format?

Is there anything better than the PDF file format?

While PDFs are well-known, they have limitations, particularly in terms of file size, sharing capabilities, and the inclusion of modern, interactive elements. This is where’s flipbooks come into play. They offer numerous advantages that make them more dynamic and engaging than traditional PDF files. Additionally, they are reliable on any device.

  • Interactivity: Publuu Flipbooks allow you to add all sorts of interactive elements such as clickable links, animations, and YouTube videos. This makes the content more engaging and makes it easier for readers to discover information.

  • Realistic page-turning effect: Flipbooks mimic the look of a real book for a more natural and enjoyable reading experience. When you view PDF files using Publuu, you feel as if you’re holding a real book.

  • Accessibility: Our flipbooks can be opened in any web browser, without installing additional software. This means they can be read on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones without downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  • Ease of creation: With Publuu’s online flipbook creator, creating flipbooks is easy and fast. You can convert any PDF file to a flipbook in minutes, and viewing PDF files is easy.

  • Versatility: Publuu flipbooks can be shared online, embedded on websites or sent via email. They provide a versatile way to share information.

If you’re interested in improving your typical PDF reader with a new revolutionary way to open pdf files directly in your browser, explore our free trial. You can learn more about PDF documents in our Knowledge Base!

How do I create a PDF file?

There are many ways to create PDF files, and the specific method depends on the software you want to use and the type of document you want to create.

Today, many operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, have a “system printer” option. You can easily convert a DOCX file to PDF by simply selecting the “Print to PDF” option in the print menu. To to this pelase follow the steps below:

Step 1: Open Your Document

First, open the document you want to save as a PDF. This could be in any program such as Microsoft Word, Excel, a web browser, or any other application that supports printing.

Step 2: Access the Print Dialog

  • Go to the File menu in the upper-left corner of your screen.
  • Click on Print, or you can use the shortcut Ctrl + P on your keyboard. This will open the print dialog box.

    Access the Print Dialog

Step 3: Select the Printer

  • In the print dialog box, look for a dropdown menu or a list of available printers.
  • Select Microsoft Print to PDF as your printer. If you’re on a Mac, select Save as PDF from the PDF dropdown menu in the lower-left corner of the print dialog.

  • Create PDF file

Step 4: Print to PDF

  • Once you have selected Microsoft Print to PDF as the printer and adjusted your settings, click the Print button. On a Mac, you would click Save.

Step 5: Save the PDF

  • After clicking Print, a new dialog will appear asking you where you want to save the PDF file.
  • Choose your desired file location, enter a file name, and click Save.

Step 6: Confirm the PDF Creation

  • Navigate to the location where you saved the PDF file and open it to ensure it has been saved correctly and looks as expected.


2. Save as PDF

You can also open the document in a word-processing program such as Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer or Google Docs. Many Microsoft Word documents can also be simply saved as PDF files. Select “Save as” or “Export.” In the “Save as type” menu, select “PDF.”


3. Specialized tools

You can also use more specialized online PDF tools like Sejda to convert DOC or PPT files to PDF, or purchase specialized software like InDesign or Adobe Acrobat Pro. An open-source alternative is the free program Scribus, but it’s less versatile than Adobe Acrobat software.

If you only need to create PDF files occasionally, a free option such as a word processor or online file converter may be sufficient. However, if you regularly work with PDF files, paid software such as Adobe Acrobat may offer more features and capabilities.

What does a PDF look like?

A PDF file consists of one or more pages. Each page is rectangular (in any format) and contains text, images or other elements.

Text and fonts in a PDF file are usually embedded, which means that they are an integral part of the file and cannot be easily edited with a word processor. To edit a finished PDF file, you can use a special program, which does not guarantee 100% compatibility.

Images in a PDF file can be in various formats, such as JPEG, PNG, or TIFF – you can also use vector graphics. Images are compressed to reduce the file size but still maintain high quality. PDF pages can be easi

What are some differences between PDFs and other formats?

PDF’s job is to create a file that is convenient to view and displays equally well on any computer. This makes it have a lot in common with other file formats:

  • Text documents (e.g. DOCX, TXT): These formats are designed for storing and editing text. They are well suited for creating simple documents such as letters and reports. Simple text files can be opened on any device. On the other hand, rich-text files do not retain document formatting as well as PDF files between various operating systems.

  • Spreadsheets (e.g. XLSX, CSV): These formats are designed to store and analyze numerical data. They are good for creating tables, charts and other data visualizations. However, they are not as good for storing text and formatting documents as PDF files.

  • Presentations (e.g. PPTX, PPS): These formats are designed for creating multimedia presentations. They are good for presenting information with slides, text, images and videos. However, it is difficult to create ebooks using them, and many people convert them to PDF as soon as possible!

  • Images (e.g. JPG, PNG, GIF): These formats are designed to store digital images and graphics. They are good for storing photos and other graphics. You cannot export or copy text converted to graphics, and the PDF format works best when combining images and text.

  • E-books (e.g. EPUB, MOBI): These formats are designed for storing and reading digital books. They are well suited for reading text on electronic devices such as e-book readers and tablets. However, the formatting is quite poor, and since e-book readers are generally black and white they do not handle graphics well.

PDF file alternatives for content sharing

How can you share content differently? There are some other document formats that you can use instead of a PDF file. They all have their issues, however.

  • HTML: This format is used to create web pages. You can export your content as a blog or a website and publish it online. It’s worth remembering, though, that HTML is not as versatile for storing complex document formatting as PDF files.

  • Comics (e.g., CBR, CBZ): These formats are used to store digital comics, using compressed image formats. They preserve page layout and images well, but are not suitable for text editing. This is a good alternative if you don’t want to create comics as PDFs.

  • DjVu: This format is designed to store scanned documents, such as books and magazines. Like PDF, it enables copying of the text. It compresses images well and preserves the original look of the document, but fewer people can open DjVu files.

  • Online Flipbooks: These interactive formats mimic the look of a real book by turning pages. They can include multimedia and interactive elements, and are highly engaging for readers.

Understanding Portable Document Format

PDF, which stands for Portable Document Format, was intended to be a way to create documents easily. Popular word processors like Word, Writer, and WordPerfect display complex formatting like columns and tables differently, not to mention fonts.

In the 1990s, when PDF was created, many operating systems were available and many programs were not compatible with each other. Thre was no standardized set of typefaces, and many fonts could differ between Windows 3.x or Linux systems.

PDF solved this problem by creating a universal file format that retained the original formatting, layout, and fonts of the document, regardless of the device or program being used. This meant that the reader of the document always saw it exactly as the author had created it, regardless of whether they used a Windows, Mac or Linux computer, or whether they used different word-processing programs.

Initially, the PDF format was owned by Adobe, which came with some limitations and costs. But in 2008, PDF was declared an open standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This meant that anyone could create, open and edit PDF files without the need for Adobe software. This, in turn, led to the development of many free and open-source PDF programs, making the format even more accessible and widespread.

Practical Uses and Benefits of PDF Files in Digital Communication

PDF files are often chosen choice for secure and reliable document sharing in companies, schools and government institutions.

  • First, security is key for these industries. Companies and governments often have to deal with confidential information. PDFs can be password-protected and locked to prevent unauthorized editing or changes. Thanks to this file format way you can store data and be sure that no one will edit it.

  • Business documents often require a specific layout and formatting to be professional and easy to understand. The layout of PDFs remains exactly as intended, regardless of the recipient’s device and software. This is very important for interactive government forms or scientific articles with complex formatting – a PDF file format ensures that it will be displayed correctly for everyone.

  • PDF files can be opened on almost any device equipped with a PDF reader – or converted to HTML thanks to Publuu. This makes it possible for anyone to access information without the need for special software, regardless of industry or country.

  • Modern PDF document formats also are compatible with advanced security features like digital signatures or password protection. You can easily protect your sensitive data and use these documents like interactive forms which is crucial for professional communications.

  • Many industries are required to stick to certain regulations related to document management, including how files are created, shared, and stored. PDF/A, an ISO-compliant version of the PDF format that specializes in digital storage of electronic documents, can be required to be used by many companies or government offices. This is especially important for legal documents, political statements and records, where authenticity and durability are crucial.

  • Productivity and collaboration are other reasons for widespread use of PDF files in companies. With tools such as Adobe Acrobat and Publuu, users can easily annotate PDF files, add comments, highlight text, and even attach other files. This streamlines the review and feedback process, making collaborative work simpler, even over long distances. Publuu makes it easy to share PDFs and send the link to anyone using a single click.

  • A final advantage is the environmental impact. By making it easier to share documents in a universally accessible format and staying true to the original layout of documents, companies can significantly reduce their use of paper, leading to savings and contributing to sustainability.


Now you should know what is a PDF file, and how and why the PDF format became a basis of the modern publishing industry. PDF can ensure that the formatting of important files is preserved, making it a crucial tool for professionals, students and every day users.

While you can enhance it with Publuu flipbook features, PDF format is here to stay and provide useful solutions for publishing content.


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