There are many factors to consider when selecting a file format for publishing. We believe the following advantages overwhelmingly make the PDF file the file format of choice, especially if compliance with Section 508 is a goal:
Software To View PDF Files Is Freeware
A main benefit of PDF files is that they can be retrieved, viewed and printed with freeware such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. Document readers are freely available for all platforms and operating systems.
PDF Files Meet Legal Document Requirements
For an imaged electronic document to be admissible in a court of law, it must be kept in a file format that can not be altered without leaving an electronic footprint. Because a PDF document is a “read only” document that cannot be altered without leaving an electronic footprint, it meets all the legal requirements to stand up in a court of law. PDF format is also practical and economical in that it allows the documents to be stored on a company’s server. As such, it doesn’t add hardware cost to the system (except for additional hard drive space) and integrates well with any network.
Compression of a Scanned Image into a PDF File is Sizeable
For example, a typed 8 1/2×11 letter is approximately 1,000 kilobytes in size when scanned into the system but compresses to 28-33 kilobytes when converted into a PDF document. An electronic document converted into a PDF document compresses to approximately 25% of its original size. For example, a 20KB word processing document is compressed to under 5KB.
PDF Files Can Be Used Across Platforms
A PDF File is a document format that represents a document in a manner independent of the hardware, operating system and application software used to create the document. It was designed to enable documents to be transferred and shared across computer platforms. A PDF document created in one platform such as Windows can be read in another platform such as Macintosh or Unix. This cross platform acceptability makes PDF the document of choice to use over a network, the internet or an intranet.
PDF Files Offer Document Level Security
Document security is always an important factor for businesses today that are sharing information over a network, over an Intranet or over the Internet. One of the advantages that a PDF file has to offer is the ability of the organization to put password security at document level. This allows you to e-mail documents between people or locations without the fear of an unauthorized person viewing the document. An example of a password protected document is illustrated by clicking here:
PDF Files Are the Most Accepted Format
The PDF document format was originally developed by Adobe for the U.S. Federal Government to store its legacy files. The U.S. Federal Government is still the largest user of PDF technology. In 2000, the U.S. Federal Courts adopted the PDF File as their electronic document format. Most individuals have encountered the PDF format when downloading electronic tax forms from the IRS. This wide use of the government to archive and share their documents virtually guarantees the PDF file will be around for the long term