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Portable Document Format
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Initial release June 15, 1993
Latest release 2.0 / July 28, 2017

The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format developed by Adobe Systems in the 1990s to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.[1][2] Based on the PostScript language, each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and other information needed to display it. PDF was standardized as ISO 32000 in 2008, and no longer requires any royalties for its implementation.[3]

Today, PDF files may contain a variety of content besides flat text and graphics including logical structuring elements, interactive elements such as annotations and form-fields, layers, rich media (including video content) and three dimensional objects using U3D or PRC, and various other data formats. The PDF specification also provides for encryption and digital signatures, file attachments and metadata to enable workflows requiring these features.


  1. Adobe Systems Incorporated, PDF Reference, Sixth edition, version 1.23 (53 MB), Nov. 2006, p. 33. Archived Feb. 21, 2008.
  2. The Camelot Project (PDF) by John Warnock, Adobe Systems. Planet PDF. 1995-05-05. Archived 2002-01-24.
  3. PDF 1.7 (ISO 32000-1:2008) Document management — Portable document format — Part 1 (PDF), International Organization for Standardization. 2008-07-01. Archived 2018-07-26.

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