PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is owned and sold by Adobe and the program that makes Adobe PDF's are acrobat writer and the writer reads and opens the files as well. If you do not wish to purchase the adobe acrobat writer you can just download the acrobat reader. Which is free. .pdf is the extension name of PDF documents. They have undoubdtedly solved numerous problems in the computer history. PDF files are a generic file which holds embedded fonts and shows the doucment on other screens exactly how the file was originally built and looks like. PDF files can be used if someone wants to combine excel reports to word files, to engineering cad pictures, to photoalbums, to printable files, etc.
PDF files have eased the problems faced by the printing industry because the issue of Pantone (spot) colours or font issues don't exist. An example problem illustrates the advantages of a PDF. For example a customer designs a file in Microsoft Word and uses the font Helvetica LT. to design the document. The customer wants 5000 copies printed of the word document that he'she digitally provides a printshop. If the print shop does not have the helvetica font in the system then Microsoft Word automatically substitutes the helvetica font with another font of its choice. Now because the properties of the font change, the formatting changes and the information goes off the page. Now supposing the font "helvetica" was a corporate font for brand identity purposes. The print shop could look at the file and say everything looks good without the knowledge of a font error and print 5000 sheets of paper in error.
What PDF does is that it retains the font that it was designed in, only when you import the PDF into another design software such as illustrator or Corel or Photoshop then these design software will tell you the font is missing and do you want the software to substitute. The print shop would have used the pdf and printed it,
there would be no errors.
You are able to turn any sort of document or graphic that starts out as editable to a pdf. In Windows, you must install a pdf printer and then when you are ready to save the file as a pdf you simply press print as if you were going to print it. Instead of using an external printer you choose the pdf printer and print to that. It will then prompt you to rename that file and the destination of where you want to save it. The same is true with Mac OS, the only difference is that you do not have to install a pdf printer, instead you have an option at the bottom of saving any file that says pdf and then gives similar prompts to that in Windows.