PDFs: An Inside Look
Portable Document Formats, or “PDFs,” are a convenient way to share and present documents in a manner that is not determinant on software or hardware. Operating systems are not a barrier to using Portable Document Formats, as they operate independently of them. PDFs are an Adobe Systems development, and they have become a very useful and simple way to make sure that the documents you need are accessible and usable no matter what system you may be operating with. PDFs were first introduced by Adobe in 1993 and there have been many updated and advanced editions. Adobe PDFs have grown and adapted to new innovations in technology, and your business can utilize PDFs in a way that will streamline communications. But first, there are some key features you should know about PDFs:
When it comes to the creation of Portable Document Formats, there are many options. Many systems have been updated to include a PDF-creation feature. Microsoft Windows, WordPerfect, LibreOffice, and others are just a few examples of systems that can create PDFs. Printing capabilities are also available among different systems, including those built into Linux and Mac OS X. Raster image processors can image PDFs onto paper and other mediums in a process called “rasterization.” As PDFs have become more versatile and easy-to-use, the options for creating them and printing them have expanded as well.
At some point, you’re probably going to want to edit or annotate a PDF. Perhaps you’re receiving a document that needs commentary and editing at your business or there are alterations that need to be made in order to pass a file on. Editing is possible with a PDF, as is annotating. These functions can be enabled through special software. Serif PagePlus, Inkscape, Poppler, FileCenter and Adobe Acrobat all allow editing and annotations of PDFs. Adobe Acrobat is probably the most multipurpose and broad of these software systems, as it is a proprietary of Adobe itself.
Viruses & Encryptions
Viruses were first found to be a potential vulnerability in PDFs in 2001. While viruses aren’t exactly breaking news for most internet users who have experienced a virus here or there at some point (this PDF one happens to be called OUTLOOK.PDFWorm or OUTLOOK.PDFPeachy), they are something to look out for when opening or attempting to open a PDF. PDFs can also be encrypted as well for protection of sensitive information. If needed, you can set up your PDF to require a password upon opening. That way, only specific users can access and/or edit the information in the document.
Document Information Dictionary & Extensible Metadata Platform
Another key aspect of PDFs has to do with metadata, which is essentially data about your data. It is information about the contents of the PDF. PDFs have two types of metadata. One is the Document Info Dictionary, which contains information such as author, creator, subject, title, and other categorical info. The other is the Extensible Metadata Platform, which allows data to be attached to any stream—images, embedded illustrations—in the PDF. This Extensible Metadata Platform is connected to the log at the end of the document.
PDFs can help streamline communication in your business because they reduce the number of middlemen—i.e. the number of software systems that are needed as an intermediate step in order to open a PDF. Everyone in your office won’t have to download complicated software or hardware and make changes to their technology in order to use a PDF. PDFs make the business world faster because they are so convenient and easy-to-use; also, the new editions are adaptive to advancements in technology and will help your business stay ahead of the curve when it comes to documents and document portability and processing.
Christian Mills, a freelance writer and gadget guru is always up for trying out the lasted and greatest technology. If you would like to learn more about Christian, you can check out his google+ profile.