What is a PDF File? A Simple Tech Guide

While dealing with digital documents and publications, you may have encountered a PDF file. You see these in digital versions of forms, certifications, and books.

As a widely recognized format, you’ll find these files used in various platforms such as mobile phones and tablets. Right now, there are about 2.5 trillion PDF documents in the world. You’ll have to deal with them eventually, so it’s best to start learning.

What is a PDF File, How to Open a PDF and Edit

What is a PDF file, you ask? We have a comprehensive guide to start you on one of the most popular file formats in the world.

The Portable Document Format, or PDF, has become an indispensable tool for both personal and professional use. Whether you’re a student, an office worker, or a business owner, chances are you’ve encountered PDF files in some way.

But what exactly is a PDF, and how do you make the most out of it? In this SEO-optimized article, we will cover everything you need to know about PDF files, from their location to their safety, and much more.

What is a PDF File?

The acronym PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is the most commonly used document file type in use today. Its most notable feature is in its extension (.PDF) which allows programs with the right functionality to access them.

Created by Adobe back in the early 90s, PDF often saw use in desktop publishing for printing documents. At most, companies used them for saving posters and flyers. It took years for the PDF to take off to where it is today.

What is a PDF File

When you access a PDF file, you cannot make any edits or changes to it initially. This makes it perfect in terms of retaining the document’s formatting and layout. Naturally, it’s a great way to share information, you can check out books and you can also check out C# PDF libraries here.

There are exceptions however for some documents designed to allow you to input data. Examples of this include application forms and legal documents.

How Do PDF Files Work

A few years back, professional software used in creating documents and graphics tended to produce files too huge to process. This was especially true of files filled with pictures, fonts, and other elements.

How Do PDF Files Work

The PDF gathers all these elements and compresses it to a smaller whole. This allows for a smaller file size while retaining all the formatting and layout.

How to Open and Access PDF Files

To access PDF files, you can use a web browser to open and view its contents. You can do this when you right-click a PDF file and click on Open With. From there, select your browser and it will open the file as if it was a page.

The best method is to use a Reader app, such as the official Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. Opening a PDF this way gives you more options and functions. You can also open PDF files directly through your browser.

How to Create and Edit PDFs

In editing PDFs, you need a program that lets you access those functions. Acrobat DC has a premium paid function that enables those features. Other programs like PDF-XChange Editor also provide such options. You can also Try a free PDF editor using some simple steps.

How to Create and Edit PDFs

As for creating PDFs, a lot of programs offer that option where you export the file you are working on into a PDF document. Some programs offer the export option (such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs). Alternatively, you can “print” the files as a PDF by choosing the Print to PDF option.

Where is My PDF Document?

Locating your PDF document largely depends on how you obtained it. If you downloaded it from the internet, the file is generally saved in your “Downloads” folder by default. On a mobile device, it might be in a folder specific to the app you used to download the file, or in a general “Files” or “My Files” folder.

Is PDF the Best File Format?

PDF is a highly versatile and widely-used file format, and it’s especially good for preserving the fonts, images, graphics, and layout of any source document. However, “best” can be subjective and context-dependent. For read-only documents, secure file sharing, and universal accessibility, PDF is often the go-to choice.

How to Save a PDF

Saving a PDF is straightforward:

  1. On a computer, click ‘File’ and choose ‘Save As’ to select a destination folder.
  2. On mobile, the process may vary depending on the app you’re using, but it often involves tapping on a ‘Save’ or ‘Download’ icon.

How do PDFs Work?

PDFs are designed to encapsulate the complete description of a fixed-layout flat document. They can contain graphics, fonts, and other information needed to display the document uniformly, irrespective of hardware, operating system, or software where it is viewed.

Where is My PDF File on My Phone?

On Android, PDFs are usually saved in the “Downloads” folder or within an app-specific folder. On iPhones, downloaded PDFs are often found in the “Files” app under the “Downloads” section.

How to Print a PDF File

To print a PDF:

  1. Open the PDF in a viewer like Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Print.’
  3. Choose your printer and settings, then click ‘Print.’

Can I Open PDF in Word?

Yes, newer versions of Microsoft Word (2013 and above) allow you to open PDF files directly. However, the formatting may not always be 100% accurate.

Which is the Best PDF Viewer?

Adobe Acrobat Reader is one of the most popular PDF viewers, but there are other reliable options like Foxit Reader, Sumatra PDF, and for Mac users, the built-in Preview app.

Benefits of PDF File

  1. Universal Compatibility: Can be opened on any device or operating system.
  2. Security: Allows password protection and encryption.
  3. Preserves Formatting: Maintains the original layout and content.
  4. Compressible: High-quality documents in relatively smaller file sizes.

Is PDF File Safe?

PDF files are generally safe, especially if they come from a trusted source. The format also allows for various security features like password protection and encryption. However, like any other file type, PDFs can be misused to spread malware, so always exercise caution when opening files from unknown sources.


What is a PDF file? It’s a type of document that retains the graphical fidelity of its original design regardless of the software used to access it. It’s highly secure, lightweight, and easy to manage.

At this point, you understand the basics of how they work and how you can use them but why stop here? To know more about documents and computing basics, read more of our articles and learn something new today.

PDFs are an incredibly versatile and secure document format used worldwide for a variety of purposes. Understanding how to maximize their utility can make your digital life much easier and more efficient.