The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.

The above quote is an excerpt from Wikipedia’s entry on Portable Document Format.

What is a PDF document?

PDF documents, i.e. documents in Portable Document Format (PDF), are supported document types in all of our systems and are the preferred document type in many cases. You can tell if a document is a PDF if it ends in the file extension “.pdf”. Most computers have PDF readers included that will allow you to view most PDF documents; you can also download Adobe’s Acrobat Reader free of charge to view PDF documents.

Why use a PDF document?

There are many benefits to using PDFs, such as:

  • PDFs are widely used because they are not restricted to specific software (ex: Microsoft Office) or operating systems (ex: Vista, Mac OS, Linux, etc.). In other words, anyone can view a PDF regardless of their computer type or software.
  • PDFs contain their own styling, which means the contents will appear the same whether viewed on a PC or a Mac.
  • PDFs can compress files converted from another format to a PDF format. This helps reduce the overall file of the size, which is particularly useful if there is a file size limitation on the site where you are uploading the document.

How do I convert a document to PDF?

Some of our systems have document conversion software included that will convert your documents for you, but you are also welcome to convert your documents to PDF on your own. For a free software that does this, we recommend PrimoPDF (click on the link to download Primo for free).

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