What is a PDF file?

Adobe PDF files—short for portable document format files—are one of the most commonly used file types today. If you've ever downloaded a printable khung or document from the Web, such as an IRS tax form, there's a good chance it was a PDF file. Whenever you see a tệp tin that ends with .pdf, that means it's a PDF file.

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Why use PDF files?

Let's say you create a newsletter in Microsoft Word and share it as a .docx file, which is the mặc định file format for Word documents. Unless everyone has Microsoft Word installed on their computers, there's no guarantee that they would be able to mở cửa and view the newsletter. Và because Word documents are meant to be edited, there's a chance that some of the formatting và text in your document may be shifted around.

By contrast, PDF files are primarily meant for viewing, not editing. One reason they're so popular is that PDFs can preserve document formatting, which makes them more shareable and helps them lớn look the same on any device. Sharing the newsletter as a PDF file would help ensure everyone is able khổng lồ view it as you intended.

Opening PDF files

Opening và viewing a PDF file is pretty simple. Most modern web browsers will open PDF files directly in your browser window instead of downloading them to lớn your computer. If your browser can't vì this, it should prompt you to download the tệp tin instead. Try clicking this links to see how it works on your computer.

If you need khổng lồ view a PDF file just once, it's usually easiest to xuất hiện it in your web browser. If you need khổng lồ access the PDF later, you'll want khổng lồ save a copy to your computer. This process will vary depending on your web browser, but in the example below the Save PDF button can be found near the upper-right corner.


If the PDF file is already on your computer, you can simply double-click to xuất hiện it with the default PDF application.


If your computer uses Windows 7 or earlier, you may need to tải về a không tính tiền PDF viewer (such as Adobe Reader) before you can view PDF files.

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Editing PDF files

As we mentioned earlier, PDFs are primarily meant for viewing, not editing. However, there may be times when you encounter a PDF that allows you to lớn enter certain information, like name và address. These PDFs use a special feature called form fields, which allow you to lớn type new information into the document and save your changes. For example, this PDF contains several form fields for entering your name, address, and other information.


This feature is not supported in all website browsers, so you may need to download the PDF before you can use size fields to địa chỉ your information.

There may also be times when you want khổng lồ make small edits to PDF files, lượt thích adding a comment or highlighting text. To learn more about editing PDF files, check out our lesson on how lớn edit và merge PDFs.

Creating PDF files

There are several ways khổng lồ create PDF files, but the method will largely depend on the device you're using. For example, if you're using Windows 10 you can go to lớn the Print dialog box, then select PDF from the danh sách of printers at the top. This allows you khổng lồ create a PDF of anything you would normally be able lớn print, including documents, emails, & webpages.


If you're on a Mac, the Print dialog box has a PDF menu that allows you khổng lồ save a tệp tin as a PDF.

If your computer has Windows 8 or earlier, you have a few options. The simplest method is to use software that supports a PDF export, such as Microsoft Office or Google Chrome.

Another option is lớn use a PDF converter lượt thích Smallpdf, which is a free app that runs in your website browser. Smallpdf can convert various file types—such as Microsoft Office documents—into a PDF format.