Experts estimate that there are around 2.5 trillion PDF files in the world today.
The file format isn’t so popular without good reason. Storing information in PDF format has a huge number of advantages, especially for businesses.
Read on as we look at the key advantages of the PDF file format.
What You Need to Know About the PDF File Format
PDF stands for portable document format. It is a type of file format primarily used for written word documents, but it can also incorporate images, videos, and other types of animation.
Most websites that you come across will publish their long-form content in PDFs. Even if you know little about PDFs, you will probably recognize the “.pdf” that is seen at the end of many website URLs.
PDFs are typically read-only documents. This means that they are designed only for reading, and are not easily edited. However, as we will show below, it is possible to edit PDF files with the right tools.
The Advantages of the PDF File Format
The advantages of PDFs are numerous. While they are not ideal for every task (for creating documents, you will need to start on a different file format), they have many benefits, particularly for businesses.
Below are some of the most significant advantages.
Consistency of Formatting
When sending .docx files or other file formats via email, you may notice that they come out looking very different than they did when you sent them.
This is because documents created with a word processor will look different on different types of devices.
This problem becomes especially prevalent when you send documents with graphics in them.
With PDF files, this will no longer be an issue for you. PDF files retain their formatting across all types of devices and browsers. This means that you can be confident that the person receiving your file will see exactly what you see.
A huge advantage of PDFs over other file formats is their smaller size.
PDFs are typically larger than word processor documents, as they contain far more information. However, compared to other types of multimedia documents, PDFs have an edge in terms of size.
The PDF framework allows users to compress files to a smaller size than, say, a TIFF file.
Most businesses tend to amass a lot of files over time. Having a format that takes up fewer megabytes may stand to you in the long run.
Because the format is so easy to view and to share, PDF files can be viewed by almost any device on almost any operating system.
Many devices, such as the Mac, come with built-in PDF viewing apps. For those that don’t, high-quality options are widely available, usually for free. These apps can also allow you to make changes to your PDF documents.
This is a benefit that is of particular importance to businesses.
Most businesses will come to have access to or control over a wide variety of highly sensitive information. Keeping this kind of data private is always a real concern.
PDF files allow you to protect such sensitive information by requiring users to enter a password. While this won’t ensure that no breach occurs, it makes your data a lot more secure than it would be otherwise.
For those that struggle to remember passwords, there are a variety of online password managers available that can help you maintain security with a different complex password for every site you use. You won’t have to remember a thing!
As mentioned above, PDFs allow you to integrate many different kinds of content into a single file.
Unlike word processor formats, PDFs allow you to integrate images and videos into a written word document. Given our increased reliance on this kind of content for communication in modern times, this is a huge advantage of the PDF file format.
This is something that has become increasingly popular in recent times.
Not so long ago, if you wanted to sign a document and return it to someone via email, you’d have to print off the document, sign it, scan it, and then send them the signed scanned copy.
Nowadays, however, that process is quickly becoming a thing of the past. E-signature tools allow users to affix an electronic version of their signature to documents. You can then send these signed copies via email without having to print or physically sign anything.
Not only is this a huge saving in terms of time and hassle, but it also has environmental benefits. Printing copies of documents simply to sign them and dispose of them is a wasteful practice that we can now thankfully start to leave behind.
In order to use e-signatures, your online documents must be in PDF file format.
Ease of editing has long been considered a disadvantage of PDF files compared to, say, Word documents. However, PDF files can be edited quite easily nowadays if you know what you’re doing.
To edit a PDF file, you’ll need specific software.
On a Mac, this software comes as standard. It is called Preview, and it will allow you to add text to a file, combine multiple files, and conduct detailed searches.
For PCs, there are a number of different apps that can be effective in this role. A number of these can be downloaded for free.
Whether you want to edit PDF files on a Mac or a PC, it’s easier now than ever before.
Make the Switch to PDF Today
The PDF file format has a huge amount to offer to businesses. If you think your company could benefit from using PDF files, don’t hesitate. Make the switch today.
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