.PDF File Extension

.PDF File Extension

File Type

Portable Document Format File

Developer Adobe Systems
4.1  |  4222 Votes
Category Page Layout Files
Format Binary

What is a PDF file?

A PDF file is a multi-platform document created by Adobe Acrobat or another PDF application. The PDF format is commonly used for saving documents and publications in a standard format that can be viewed on multiple platforms. In many cases, PDF files are created from existing documents instead of from scratch.

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Screenshot of a .pdf file in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2021
PDF file open in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2021

You may encounter PDF files in a variety of ways, whether it be downloading a document from a website or receiving a document from a co-worker or friend via email. The files may contain text, images, forms, annotations, outlines, and other document-related data. PDF files also preserve fonts and formatting electronically across multiple platforms and appear the same on the screen as when printed on paper.

A wide variety of programs may be used to create PDF files, including word processors, image editors, and PDF file utilities, like Adobe Acrobat. You may also create PDF files from documents using the Print dialog in Windows and macOS. In Windows, select File → Print... or click the printer icon to open the Print dialog. Then, select "Print to PDF" in the "Destination" dropdown menu and click Print. In macOS, select Print... from the application's File menu, then choose "Save as PDF" from the PDF dropdown menu in the lower-left corner of the window.

NOTE: View the PDF definition for more information.

How do I open a PDF file?

You can open and view PDF files with a large number of applications, most notably, Adobe Acrobat Reader (multiplatform) and Adobe Acrobat (multiplatform), which can also edit them. Nitro Pro (Windows) and Smile PDFpenPro (macOS) are other applications that provide PDF viewing and editing capabilities.

Other options for viewing PDF files include Microsoft Word (Windows and macOS), Apple Preview (bundled with macOS), Foxit Reader, and web browsers, such as Google Chrome (multiplatform) and Microsoft Edge (multiplatform), which includes annotation capabilities.

On mobile devices, you can view PDF files with Adobe Reader (Android and iOS), Apple Books (iOS), Apple Pages (iOS), Google Play Books (Android), and in web browsers, such as Chrome and Safari.

How do I convert PDF files?

The best application for converting PDF files is Adobe Acrobat, which is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Acrobat can export PDF files to various formats, such as Word (.DOCX and .DOC), Excel (.XLSX), PowerPoint (.PPTX), .JPEG, .PNG, .TIFF, and .HTML.

Adobe also maintains online PDF conversion tools that allow users to convert PDFs to DOCX, PPTX, XLSX, and JPG files for free. You can find a link to Adobe's online Convert PDF to Word tool in the Web section of the Programs that open list below. To access Adobe's other online conversion tools, click the Convert menu item that appears on that page.

Additional programs that allow you to convert PDFs to other file formats include Microsoft Word, Apple Preview, Nitro Pro, Icecream PDF Converter, and Smile PDFpenPro. Note, however, that Word and Preview allow you to convert PDF files to only those programs' supported file formats. Microsoft Word can convert PDFs to only DOC and DOCX files, and Apple Preview can convert PDFs to only JPEG, PNG, and other image file formats.

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Programs that open or reference PDF files

Updated July 26, 2021

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Portable Document Format file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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