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About the contributor
PDF Association

Mission Statement: To promote Open Standards-based electronic document implementations using PDF technology through education, expertise and shared experience for stakeholders worldwide.
More contributions
PDF 2.0 examples now available

The PDF Association is proud to present the first PDF 2.0 example files made available to the public. Created and donated to the PDF Association by Datalogics, this initial set of PDF 2.0 examples were crafted by hand and intentionally made simple in construction to serve as teaching tools for learning PDF file structure and syntax.

PDF 2.0 interops help vendors

The PDF 2.0 interop workshops included many vendors with products for creating, editing and processing PDF files. They came together in Boston, Massachusetts for a couple of days to test their own software against 3rd party files.

PDF Days Europe underscores the importance of PDF as a key component of business processes

2017 marks a record number of attendees / Experts shared fully-grounded wisdom on PDF standards across the two-day event Berlin. With over 200 attendees, this year’s PDF Days Europe in Berlin was a significant success with the largest attendance of any …

Slides and video recordings of the PDF Days Europe 2017

About 35 informative sessions across a wide range of topics, including the next-generation PDF project. Within the video frames you can use the red “play” button to get a short impression of the talk or can enjoy the high resolution version by clicking …

PDF Days Europe 2017 hits the target!

With more than 200 participants, this year’s PDF Days Europe was the largest to-date. Early feedback from attendees makes clear that it was also a great success.

Who owns PDF?


Most people closely identify PDF with Adobe Systems. We can’t fault the typical end-user for this perception – Adobe did invent PDF back in 1993, and has developed, maintained and distributed the ubiquitous free Adobe Reader and commercial Adobe Acrobat software ever since.

But Adobe no longer owns PDF. The company gave the format to the ISO in 2008 – the PDF specification is now formally known as ISO 32000. While the company still makes the most commonly-recognized PDF software, Adobe is now just one of many companies sending representatives to ISO 32000 meetings to discuss the next-generation PDF specification and the various subset standards for PDF.

Does it matter?

I’m often speaking with IT executives, CIOs, directors and other technical policy managers in large corporations and government agencies. The subject is generally a critical business-process or set of project requirements. All such managers want to avoid “vendor lock-in”. And with PDF, it seems, it’s still commonly believed that using a PDF technology solution implies some sort of commitment to Adobe Systems. It’s not so.

PDF is everywhere – in every country and almost every organization across the globe. It’s impossible to ignore, and for IT professionals, it makes a lot of sense to understand a little bit about it.

Here are some facts about PDF that every information management professional should know.

1o facts about PDF every IT professional should know

  1. PDF stands for Portable Document Format
  2. Unlike TIFF or JPEG, which are simply image formats, PDF is a type of electronic document
  3. PDF isn’t the only final-form electronic document technology, but it’s far-and-away the most dominant
  4. Adobe Systems invented but no longer owns PDF. On July 1, 2008, Adobe’s PDF Reference 1.7 became ISO 32000, an International Standard
  5. ISO 32000 is managed by representatives of industry and government in open meetings under parliamentary rules. Anyone can observe and participate
  6. ISO standards for PDF technology now include specifications for archival, accessibility, engineering, prepress and more
  7. Anyone may create applications that read and write PDF files without paying royalties to Adobe Systems or to anyone else
  8. Adobe is not the only provider of PDF creation, manipulation or viewing software, there are hundreds of other PDF technology vendors
  9. Tens of billions of PDF files exist today, with billions more created each year
  10. The very first PDF file was a tax form, specifically, an IRS form 1040

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Categories: PDF