Portable Document Format

  • A proprietary format of Adobe Corporation, it has become a de facto standard for transmitting documents that the sender does not want to be altered and for transmitting documents to commercial printers and to the Web for online publishing.  1
  • A file format developed by Adobe Systems. PDF captures formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications, making it possible to send formatted documents and have them appear on the recipient’s monitor or printer as they were intended. To view a file in PDF format, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free application distributed by Adobe Systems.  2  3  4
  • A file standard for documents that can be processed (generally viewed and printed) by any computer, regardless of the specific application program which created the original.  5
  • An Adobe technology for formatting documents so that they can be viewed and printed using the Adobe Acrobat reader.  6
  • PDF’s can be read using Adobe Acrobat Reader (a free program), regardless of the program used to create the original document. A PDF document can contain text, images, or both. Only PDFs containing text can be searched directly. Those containing images only must be OCRed.


  1. RenewData, Glossary (10/5/2005).
  2. Fios, E-Discovery Glossaryhttp://discoveryresources.org/01_electronic_discovery_glossary.html 
  3. Vinson & Elkins LLP Practice Support, EDD Glossary.
  4. RSI, Glossary.
  5. Formerly American Document Management, Glossary of Terms, now 5i Solutions Glossary.
  6. Kroll Ontrack, Glossary of Termshttp://www.krollontrack.com/glossaryterms