Originally developed for office communications use, the PDF file format is now the world standard for electronic document exchange. A PDF file’s unique characteristic — the ability to exist independent of the hardware, software, and operating system used to create it — allows file creators to share documents and to keep them secure from modification.
PDF version 1.0, an internal project of Adobe Systems conceived by founder Dr. John Warnock and based on the page description language PostScript, was first announced at Comdex Fall 1992 where it won the “Best of Comdex” award. After years of continuous improvement, and in recognition of the power of PDF for document exchange, Adobe relinquished control of PDF to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2008.
For printers, PDFs solve many problems associated with using customer-prepared files. Before PDF, printers had difficulty opening and preparing files that were created using many kinds of software programs and containing fonts not owned by the printer. This led to delays in getting on press, extra cost for file repair, and frustration for both customers and the printer.
By using PDF as the standard for submitting files, customers can use any platform and their favorite software program to create files. Printers can accept the files and prepare them for output to press plates or for digital printing knowing that the finished page images will be what the customer expects.