Successful Ebook Publishing

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What Does PDF Stand For?

Anyone who uses a computer regularly (or even not so regularly) will often come across the abbreviation PDF. So what does PDF stand for?

Portable Document Format

Okay, so what does that mean, exactly?

And how is it different than something like a Microsoft Word document? The clue to what that means lies in the first word of the abbreviation, portable.

Imagine if PDF didn’t exist, and we all created our ebooks or documents with whatever happened to be our favorite word processor? Well, we won’t have problems until we ask someone to read our document that doesn’t have our particular brand of software installed. What happens if someone sends me a document created with Word, but I happen to be using a Mac computer? Or I send someone a document created with Applix (for Linux systems).

And of course in a Business to Business environment, there absolutely needs to be an industry standard. I won’t go as far as to say the world would grind to a halt without PDF, but life online would certainly be more difficult.

Imagine if we constantly needed to download viewers and assorted software just to access the various types of word documents that we might need to use. A PORTABLE file type that is usable on any system is a much better idea.

Get Acrobat Reader

The great thing about PDF, is that all you need to use it, is to have either acrobat reader (free, and available from the Adobe website) or an equivalent.

Virtually all computers are shipped new with this software pre-installed. And if for some reason you don’t have it, then it is a free download… so no excuses for not being able to view a PDF file.

Note: Acrobat Reader is software that enables you to read PDF files. It does not allow you to create or modify PDF's. For that you need a PDF creator.

History of the PDF

PDF was released by Adobe in 1993, as a way to distribute formatted documents that would be usable on any computer, regardless of OS or hardware. This was originally proprietary software (protected by trademark or patent or copyright; made or produced or distributed by one having exclusive rights) but was made open standard in 2008.

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Updated: September 20, 2016 — 3:46 am

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