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.


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.


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.