The Portable Document Format (PDF) from Adobe is something that we have all heard of, but possibly few of us grasp the true power of what a PDF can do. We all know where a Word document comes from; it comes from Word (obviously), but not many people understand the PDF and where it comes from, or what you can do with it once you’ve got one open.
Where do PDFs come from?
Originally PDFs were all created using a program called Adobe Acrobat Pro which was costly, but was worth it because it enabled people to create documents that could be opened on any computer. The non-editable format meant that you could reliably send documentation worldwide without the worry that people would accidentally make changes to it. Now there are many programs that can create PDFs, including Microsoft Word, due to changes in the way that Adobe licence PDF. As you would expect there are some good and some not so good PDF programs, which takes us on nicely to our next point:
Can you edit a PDF?
The answer is, yes you can! Very quickly and easily in fact, providing you’ve got the right software to do so. There are programs that will create the PDF and stop there, and there are programs that will allow you to edit PDFs but not create them. Then there are programs that will allow you to do everything but then leave out features such as search and replace or automatic paragraph flowing. So the answer to the question is, yes, but be careful what you choose.
Is PDF secure?
PDF documentation has always been secure (that’s the point of them!) but a downside to Adobe’s decision to make PDF open standard back in 2008 was that hackers were able to study the code behind PDF and find security vulnerabilities that would allow affected computers to be taken over by a virus. In January 2012, Adobe announced a security update to both their PDF Reader and to Acrobat that put an end to these vulnerabilities, meaning the good news is that you don’t need to re-write all of your old PDFs as Reader has been updated too.
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