Preservation of documents in a universally accessible format is a challenge, but the PDF format has proven to be the best solution. Developed by Adobe in the 1990s, PDF was intended to make document sharing easy regardless of the sender and receiver’s systems. It is based on postscript, a programming language also developed by Adobe, that describes documents for printing. PDFs are used widely as an archive format for various documents, for scientific articles, digital contracts, and more.
Windows does not have a built-in program for viewing and editing PDF files, so third-party programs such as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or Sumatra PDF are commonly used. Windows 10 and 11 have a built-in feature to save almost any document as a PDF using the virtual printer called Microsoft Print to PDF, but this method sometimes produces files with non-selectable text. Popular programs like Chrome, Edge, and Firefox have a built-in save as PDF feature as an alternative. Additionally, PDF converters can be used to create PDFs from various file formats.
Compressing PDFs is necessary if the file size is large, which can be achieved using online tools or PDF compression software. Password protection for PDFs is also supported using encryption and a password. Microsoft PowerToys, a program with many features, can be used for fast, smart preview of PDF files, while OCR software can be useful for scanned multi-page files to enable text copying and searching.
In conclusion, PDF is the best format for preserving documents, and various tools and methods are available for viewing, editing, converting, and managing PDF files.