PDF stands for Portable Document Format, a file format developed by Adobe Systems. PDFs capture the fonts, images, and format of a document, making it possible to send a document and have it appear on the recipient's monitor or printer exactly as it was intended.


There are several advantages of the PDF file type:
  • PDFs can be read on both a PC (using Acrobat Reader) and a Mac (built-in).
  • PDFs preserve all the formatting of the original document, and therefore look as they should, regardless of operating system.
  • PDFs are more compressed than saving a document as an image file.
  • PDFs are more secure because they are created as read-only documents and cannot be edited without leaving a digital footprint that it was modified.
  • PDFs can be further secured by making them password protected or by adding a watermark.
To view a file in PDF format on a PC, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free application distributed by Adobe Systems. All Lesley-issued PCs come pre-installed with Acrobat Reader. To create a PDF file, you need the full version of Acrobat, which should be obtained through a departmental purchase.

Mac OS X has built-in PDF reading/creating functionality.