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About Portable Document Format (PDF)

About PDFs

Portable Document Format (PDF) is an electronic file format originally developed by Adobe. Today, it is an open file format specification managed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ISO 32000. PDF is the defacto standard to correctly and reliably display and distribute documents electronically regardless of specific software application, operating system, or device. 

PDFs include fonts, images and graphics, and annotations such as comments and links, interactive fields, and buttons. PDFs can be edited, signed, printed, exported to other formats, or encrypted and shared electronically. PDFpen primarily supports Acroforms, which are basic fillable PDFs based on PDF architecture. The application does not fully support dynamic LiveCycle (XFA) forms, which are XML-based forms save as a PDF file.

PDF Versions

PDF is PDFpen’s native format. There are several PDF versions available. However, to ensure maximum compatibility, the application saves PDFs as version 1.4 to match the PDF version currently produced and supported under the macOS’ general File -> Print -> Save as PDF… method.

PDF Standards

PDF files saved by PDFpen meet ISO 32000 standards.  Additionally, the application supports the following special-purpose PDF standards:

  • PDF/A for archiving