PDF- An acronym now in Webster Dictionary!

Merriam Webster dictionary result for pdf:


\ ˌpē-(ˌ)dē-ˈef  \

variants: or PDF

Definition of pdf

: a computer file format for the transmission of a multimedia document that is not intended to be edited further and appears unaltered in most computer environmentsalso : a document that uses this format


PDFDictionary result for PDF:



a file format that provides an electronic image of text or text and graphics that looks like a printed document and can be viewed, printed, and electronically transmitted.

a file in PDF format.

“I sent him a PDF of the article”


So how did this acronym become a word?  Used as a noun quite frequently, this three letter acronym has changed how we save and handle files.  If you want to create content to share with others, pdf file format is the best.

Pdf files are self-contained, they are easy to send to a printer, they are compatible with most browsers and the format is great for setting up interactive forms.

A PDF file itself contains all the formatting, fonts, and layout designs. They will render the same way every time without relying on the operating system, hardware, or software.  Sharing a Microsoft word document with others can result in the end user losing formatting and the document not looking the way you intended.  Because PDF files are self-contained, print shops will happily accept them. They often won’t accept files created in Microsoft applications or other kinds of productivity software.

PDFs are going to look the same to all users, no matter what computer or browser they use to open the file.  As long as they have a program that will open pdf files, you can be sure your file will look the same way on other devices.   Page layouts, images and formatting will not be affected.

You can save most files as a pdf document and if your software doesn’t have that option, there are pdf printers you can install that behave just like a printer.  Once installed, you tell it to print, choose the pdf printer and it lets you save the document as a pdf so you can send it on.  This can be handy if you are worried someone may edit your content.

Using a pdf format for forms like applications or feedback forms are a better choice than a Microsoft or other productivity software option.  This is simply because pdf files use fixed fields for input and the person filling out the forms can’t delete fields or miss a question.  When you create a pdf form, you can add instructions to the users in the margins to help them file it out.  It is also possible to have formulas calculate amounts in a pdf.   There are some services like Adobe Sign and DocuSign that let you add a signature securely.  (To create these kinds of files, you may need more advanced software than programs like Adobe Reader.)

While there are good things about using both browsers and specialist PDF readers, just the fact that the person receiving your file has a browser installed on their system, will allow them to be able to open your file.

The cons of pdf format are the opposite of the good things we just discussed!  In a pdf document composing text, editing content, handling images and collaborating with others on a document are not easy.  If you need these things, it’s best to stick with your favorite document program (Microsoft Word, etc.), and save the pdf file for the final product.

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