What is the Full Form of PDF?


Clique Aqui to all your PDF related inquiries. What is PDF? What is the file format used for? Why is it the predominant file type for digital use?

PDF Full Form Explained

TL;DR: The full form of the term PDF is Portable Document Format. It stores text and images and can be opened on any OS, which, in turn, makes it easy to share and store.

To elaborate further, the PDF (full form: Portable Document Format) was created back in the early 90’s to realize the dream of a sustainable, paperless office. Developed by Adobe, a PDf file can capture all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image. With PostScript, every individual PDF file can retain the text, formatting, vectors, and even fonts of the original document.

Why is PDF so popular?

From what started as a side project, the PDF format has become an industry standard all over the world in the past few decades. Millions of these files are uploaded, passed around, and are stored every day. These are several reasons that can contribute to its extreme popularity, for both leisure and professional use.


Its portability means that the file format can be opened on just about any device, regardless of your operating system. Even without a PDF reader (such as Adobe Acrobat Reader), the format can be viewed on just about any internet browser.

There is no cost to cover software that can open this file format. As such, PDFs files are comp can also compatible with mobile devices, which makes work on the go simple – which contributes to its popularity in the digital age.


PDF documents are also quite light in size, which also supports its usage for file transfer, as it cuts down on storage space and upload time. Microsoft Office formats, such as Word, PPT, and Excel, can also be saved as a PDF format, in its original formatting in a matter of seconds.

On top of that, the PDF format was standardized as an open format ten years back, following ISO 32000, and no longer require individuals/organizations to pay royalties to implement.

The accessibility of the file format has skyrocketed it to become one of, if not – the most common file type in the last 20 years. Think about it: how often do you receive a PDF from another party at work? Or hear the phrase ‘Please send it over in PDF’.

Modify with ease

By default, you cannot edit the content of a PDF file; the text stored as an image can be copied, but not modified. But even then, there is a myriad of free online tools to aid you with this.

Smallpdf is the most popular online platform to solve PDF needs. Similar to the history of PDF (full form: Portable Document Format), our site was also created as a side project to cater to those with document compression needs.

Half a decade and 25 million monthly users later, we now offer the ability to compress, edit, convert PDF to and from this file format, all for your convenience. All the tools are available for you to access online, free of charge via our homepage.

Ease of usage is one of our primary concerns, and the only action you need to carry out is a drag and drop of your electronic file (and downloading the finished output). If you need to go in-depth into some of the tools, do check out the following guides below:

  • Compress PDF file size – removes duplicate data and strip PDFs file size down without affecting its quality
  • Sign PDFs – create electronic (or digital) signatures to sign and seal PDFs
  • Convert DOCx to PDF – how to convert Microsoft docs to PDF format to protect file content from being edited
  • Scanned PDFs to Word – extract scanned files saved in PDF format to an editable format
  • Save webpages as PDF – capture a webpage in its original formatting

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