History of PDF: Creating the World's Most Popular File Format

history pdf

It wasn't so long ago that, when it came to file sharing across platforms and devices, anarchy was the order of the day.  Sheer, maddening chaos.  Macs and PCs refused to play nicely, images wouldn't send over already-lackluster internet connections, even documents created on different versions of common software programs refused to cooperate.  It's a wonder anything got done.  There must be a better way.  At least, that's what the bright minds of Team Camelot were convinced. Spearheaded by John Warnock, one of the Adobe Systems founders, Team Camelot was tasked with creating a new file format. One that would...

The pros and cons of converting a PDF to Word

pros cons pdf to word

One of the most popular search engine queries relating to PDFs is "PDF to Word". When I looked at the data, the first thought that jumped out at me was: "I know why! Everyone wants to edit a PDF using a format they are familiar with!". While I wasn’t sure of my hunch back then, I now believe that my instincts were correct. The biggest issue with PDFs (and ironically, also their main strength) is that they are very difficult to edit. Users of PDF files who are stuck trying to make edits usually react in two ways – they...

How to fill out and sign a PDF form online

fill out pdf form

When you receive a PDF form to fill out, your first instinct may be to print the file, fill it out by hand and then scan the document. This is what the vast majority of people who receive a PDF online do - print it, sign it, scan it, resend it. Surely there must be an easier way to sign documents online? Happily, there are now free online tools that allow you to fill out and add your signature online to any PDF you receive. By filling out a form online, you save time, money and help save our environment by reducing...

3 ways converting a JPG to PDF can protect your images

keyboard jpg to pdf

If you’re sharing an image file, such as a JPG, with someone you don’t know very well, watch out! The person who receives the file may modify it (without your knowledge) and even claim it as their own work.     PDFs offer substantially better security than JPGs or other image files Unlike PDF files, image files can be easily modified and do not leave an electronic footprint of any changes that were applied to the file. This means a dishonest person can steal your work (by claiming they authored the file – for example) without leaving any traces. As...

The 5 ways to edit a PDF file

collection of documents

When people ask me for help with their PDF editing needs, I always try to clarify what they mean by "edit". For some people, editing means annotating or filling out a form, in which case most free PDF solutions can easily meet their needs. For others, they are looking to edit the text of a PDF file or convert a scanned image into an editable Word file. Given the wide variety of needs with regards to PDF editing, I decided to write a blog post on this important subject.

How did the PDF become so popular?

pdf popular technical

The success of the PDF file format is a great example of how a product becomes a global technical standard, like the PDF has. For anyone looking to build or invest in a new technology that hopes to become a standard, I can't think of a better lesson from history. In the early 90s, the PDF was competing against several other file formats including DjVu, Envoy, and Common Ground Digital Paper.  

Why are PDFs so hard to edit?

pdf hard to edit

PDF files are hard to edit because they aren’t meant to be edited! While there are many solutions that enable a user to make changes to a PDF to some degree, they all suffer from weaknesses in one way or another. Let’s dig deeper into why this is the case.

Why I Started DocFly

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It all started in 2014, when I was trying to extract text from a PDF file. The file contained some interesting research that I was trying to summarize for a colleague. The software I was using didn’t allow me to copy the text from the file properly, and I couldn’t find a decent PDF to Word converter either. After spending a lot of time on Google and trying various paid and unpaid software products, I came to a stunning realization: most PDF software is terrible! As a web developer, I found it incredible that users were still struggling to edit...

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DocFly is an online PDF editor that allows you to create, edit, and convert PDF files. Its intuitive interface allows anyone to quickly perform functions such as filling out a PDF form or merging and rearranging pages.

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