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PDF, or Portable Document Format, is a popular file format originally created by Adobe and used by companies of all shapes and sizes as a way to streamline their business operations. Below we’ll take a look at 7 ways in which PDFs have become an indispensable part of modern-day business and how they can bring value to your own organization as well.
#1. PDFs are cross-platform compatible
Since its original inception in January 1993, the PDF file format has quickly taken the world by storm, and for a good reason. Businesses from Los Angeles and Berlin all the way to Tokyo and Sydney all work with the file format since it’s compatible across all devices and operating systems under the sun, thus ensuring a consistent user experience all the way through. This has made the format the de facto global standard for business documents: from reports and invoices to purchase orders, technical documentation, and even CVs.
#2. PDFs retain the same formatting
PDFs are designed to maintain the format and layout of the original document, which is important for presentations, marketing materials, and other types of documents that rely on a specific layout or design. This also makes it easy to create digital versions of important business documents, such as contracts and invoices, that can be then stored and accessed electronically.
In addition, there is a variety of PDF editor software on the market that allows you to change practically every aspect of your file so that it better suits your business objectives – anything from margins and font size to page count and orientation, all without degrading the quality of the original document. This flexibility is great in cases when you need to present the same document to multiple target audiences, which might require some tinkering with the formatting settings.
#3. PDFs support all types of content
Another advantage is that, unlike other popular formats, such as RTF or DOCX, the PDF format supports all types of content, be it texts or non-text content like images, graphs, tables, file attachments, watermarks, or even embedded links and media. This makes PDFs the perfect use case for various interactive marketing materials, like product catalogs, as well as in-depth content with lots of data like financial reports or scientific studies.
#4. PDFs are incredibly compact
Compared to Microsoft’s offerings and other popular file formats, PDFs generally tend to take up significantly less space and typically reach up to a few megabytes, unless the files have been filled to the brim with high-resolution images. Even then, however, there are many ways you can safely slim down your documents without compromising on quality, with most PDF editors even offering a built-in compression tool that will do just that in seconds.
Their compact size ensures that you’ll always be able to fit at least a single PDF in your email box and that the receiving end will be able to download and view the file faster than they would a DOCX file, for instance, all the while retaining the original layout or formatting – say goodbye to misaligned texts or the famous “missing fonts” error message! You also won’t have to splurge for extra cloud storage space every once in a while.
#5. PDFs are the green alternative to paper
Each year, more and more companies are starting to digitize their extensive business records in an effort to go green and reduce their carbon footprint. The way they typically achieve this is by scanning physical documents and turning them into searchable PDF files.
Besides the added convenience, this mass shift towards cloud storage results in significant savings since companies no longer have to buy tonnes of paper or printer ink and cartridges just to keep the business running and also free up more office space for more important equipment. As an added bonus, scanning files to the cloud also serves as an insurance policy against environmental disasters, such as floods or fires, and hacker attacks.
#6. PDFs can be digitally signed
PDFs can be easily signed online, which eliminates the need for physical signatures and speeds up business transactions. This is particularly useful for businesses that have a large volume of paperwork to process on a daily basis, but it is also more convenient for clients since they won’t have to be physically present at the office and can sign on the go.
#7. PDFs offer extended security features
PDFs can be password-protected and encrypted, providing an extra level of security for sensitive business documents. This is particularly useful for businesses that handle sensitive information, such as financial data or personal information. For instance, you can encrypt files with secure passwords to ensure that only certain people have access to highly confidential documents, such as technical specifications for a new and unreleased product.
With a click of a mouse, you can further limit the permissions of other users by selecting which features they can access. For example, you can make it so that even users who know the password will be allowed to edit select parts of a PDF file or will only be able to view it. This is especially useful if you’re dealing with lots of client forms as these measures will prevent customers from making accidental changes while filling in the fields.
PDFs are a versatile and essential tool for businesses of all sizes as they provide a reliable and efficient way to share, access, and store important documents compared to other popular alternatives. From cross-platform compatibility, preservation of formatting, versatility, and small file size, to digital signature options, advanced security features, and eco-friendly attitude, it's no wonder that this file format has become the global benchmark standard for all day-to-day business communication in today's fast-paced digital age. And now that you know just how useful PDFs can be for your business, you too can reap their benefits!