A file format that captures the exact details of a printed, hard-copy document into an electronic document to allow individuals to view, navigate, print, or forward the e-document to another individual.
PDF files are made with software such as Adobe Acrobat. Many other programs have included the pdf-file format as a possible output format. To view and use the files, an individual needs a document viewer. Among the freely available viewers, Acrobat Reader is the most popular. It provides an implementation of the latest version of the file format as it is released by Adobe. The program can be easily downloaded from the Internet. After Acrobat Reader has been downloaded, it will start automatically whenever the individual wants to view a PDF file. PDF files are great for viewing magazine pieces, product and service brochures, and academic papers when getting the original graphic look online is important.
A PDF file contains a single or many page images with zooming capabilities. The Adobe Acrobat product for making PDF files costs $200–$300. Free alternatives to the commercial product are numerous. An example is PDFcreator (available as a freeware project on sourceforge.net). It is used in the form of a printer driver that plugs into any Windows program, meaning that any program that can generate output for a real printer can also create PDF files. Some features of the full Adobe product—such as the generation of forms—are typically not included in the free alternatives. It is interesting to note that in July 2001, just before he was to give a speech at DefCon 9, Russian Dmitry Sklyarov was carried off by Federal agents and charged with violation provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Dmitry’s claim to fame was a software program that he developed and was sold by his Russian employer ElcomSoft Company Ltd. The software allowed users to convert books in Adobe’s copy protected e-book format to the more commonly used PDF format. In short, the Federal agents alleged that Sklyarov made unauthorized copies of e-books.
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TechTarget. PDF. [Online, September 9, 2004.] TechTarget Website. http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci214288,00.html.