The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format developed by Adobe in the 1990s to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.
PDFPDF format.pdfPDF filePDFsportable document formatPDF filesPDF DocumentPortable Document Format (PDF)Adobe PDF

Vector graphics

vector graphicsvectorvector graphic
Based on the PostScript language, each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and other information needed to display it. PDF was standardized as an open format, ISO 32000, in 2008, and does not require any royalties for its implementation.
Vector graphics are commonly found today in the SVG, EPS and PDF graphic file formats and are intrinsically different from the more common raster graphics file formats of JPEG, PNG, APNG, GIF, and MPEG4.

Adobe Systems

AdobeAdobe SystemsAdobe Systems Incorporated
The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format developed by Adobe in the 1990s to present documents, including text formatting and images, in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.
It is best known for Photoshop, an image editing software, Acrobat Reader, the Portable Document Format (PDF), and Adobe Creative Suite, as well as its successor, Adobe Creative Cloud.

PRC (file format)

PRC
Today, PDF files may contain a variety of content besides flat text and graphics including logical structuring elements, interactive elements such as annotations and form-fields, layers, rich media (including video content) and three dimensional objects using U3D or PRC, and various other data formats.
PRC (Product Representation Compact) is a 3D file format that can be used to embed 3D data in a PDF file.

JavaScript

javascriptJSclient-side JavaScript
PDF 1.7, the sixth edition of the PDF specification that became ISO 32000-1, includes some proprietary technologies defined only by Adobe, such as Adobe XML Forms Architecture (XFA) and JavaScript extension for Acrobat, which are referenced by ISO 32000-1 as normative and indispensable for the full implementation of the ISO 32000-1 specification.
Initially only implemented client-side in web browsers, JavaScript engines are now embedded in many other types of host software, including server-side in web servers and databases, and in non-web programs such as word processors and PDF software, and in runtime environments that make JavaScript available for writing mobile and desktop applications, including desktop widgets.

Adobe Acrobat

AcrobatAdobe ReaderAcrobat Reader
PDF files may be optimized using Adobe Acrobat software or QPDF. There are many software options for creating PDFs, including the PDF printing capabilities built into macOS, iOS, and most Linux distributions, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office 2007 (if updated to SP2) and later, WordPerfect 9, Scribus, numerous PDF print drivers for Microsoft Windows, the pdfTeX typesetting system, the DocBook PDF tools, applications developed around Ghostscript and Adobe Acrobat itself as well as Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe Acrobat is a family of application software and Web services developed by Adobe Systems to view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in Portable Document Format (PDF).

XFA

Adobe XML Forms Architecture
PDF 1.7, the sixth edition of the PDF specification that became ISO 32000-1, includes some proprietary technologies defined only by Adobe, such as Adobe XML Forms Architecture (XFA) and JavaScript extension for Acrobat, which are referenced by ISO 32000-1 as normative and indispensable for the full implementation of the ISO 32000-1 specification.
It can be also used in PDF files starting with PDF 1.5 specification.

Font embedding

font embeddingembeddingfont-embedding
Font embedding has been possible with Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word for Windows and some other applications for many years.

PostScript

PSPostScriptPSCRIPT
Based on the PostScript language, each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a fixed-layout flat document, including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and other information needed to display it. PDF was standardized as an open format, ISO 32000, in 2008, and does not require any royalties for its implementation. In the early years PDF was popular mainly in desktop publishing workflows, and competed with a variety of formats such as DjVu, Envoy, Common Ground Digital Paper, Farallon Replica and even Adobe's own PostScript format.
By 2001, few lower-end printer models came with support for PostScript, largely due to growing competition from much cheaper non-PostScript ink jet printers, and new software-based methods to render PostScript images on the computer, making them suitable for any printer; PDF, a descendant of PostScript, provides one such method, and has largely replaced PostScript as de facto standard for electronic document distribution.

PDF/X

PDF/X-1a:2001, PDF/X-1a:2003, PDF/X-3:2002, PDF/X-3:2003, PDF/X-4, PDF/X-4p, PDF/X-5g and PDF/X-5pgPDF/X-4PDF/X-4 or PDF/X-1a
Standardized subsets of PDF, including PDF/A and PDF/X, prohibit these features.
PDF/X is a subset of the PDF ISO standard.

PDF/A

ISO 19005 standard
Standardized subsets of PDF, including PDF/A and PDF/X, prohibit these features.
PDF/A is an ISO-standardized version of the Portable Document Format (PDF) specialized for use in the archiving and long-term preservation of electronic documents.

Universal 3D

U3DUniversal 3D File Format3D viewing
Today, PDF files may contain a variety of content besides flat text and graphics including logical structuring elements, interactive elements such as annotations and form-fields, layers, rich media (including video content) and three dimensional objects using U3D or PRC, and various other data formats.
The format is natively supported by the PDF format and 3D objects in U3D format can be inserted into PDF documents and interactively visualized

QPDF

PDF files may be optimized using Adobe Acrobat software or QPDF.
QPDF is a free command-line program that can convert one PDF file to another equivalent PDF file.

Open standard

open standardopen standardsopen
PDF was a proprietary format controlled by Adobe until it was released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 32000-1:2008, at which time control of the specification passed to an ISO Committee of volunteer industry experts.

Extensible Metadata Platform

XMPeXtensible Metadata PlatformXMP metadata
In PDF 1.4, support was added for Metadata Streams, using the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) to add XML standards-based extensible metadata as used in other file formats.
It also provides guidelines for embedding XMP information into popular image, video and document file formats, such as JPEG and PDF, without breaking their readability by applications that do not support XMP.

Transparency (graphic)

transparencytransparenttransparency (graphic)
The basic design of how graphics are represented in PDF is very similar to that of PostScript, except for the use of transparency, which was added in PDF 1.4.
This includes SVG and PDF.

Document Structuring Conventions

DSCDSC comments
In order for a PostScript print file to properly distill to PDF using Adobe tools, it should conform to basic DSC standards.

PDF/UA

An ISO-standardized subset of PDF specifically targeted at accessibility; PDF/UA, was first published in 2012.
PDF/UA (PDF/Universal Accessibility) is the informal name for ISO 14289, the International Standard for accessible PDF technology.

DjVu

djvuDjVu formatDjVuLibre
In the early years PDF was popular mainly in desktop publishing workflows, and competed with a variety of formats such as DjVu, Envoy, Common Ground Digital Paper, Farallon Replica and even Adobe's own PostScript format.
Due to its declared higher compression ratio (and thus smaller file size) and the ease of converting large volumes of text into DjVu format, and because it is an open file format, it has been considered superior to PDF.

Zapf Dingbats

The ITC glyph set is included in Unicode and it is one of the "Basic 14" typefaces guaranteed to be available for PDF files.

Ghostscript

ghostscriptghostviewgsview
There are many software options for creating PDFs, including the PDF printing capabilities built into macOS, iOS, and most Linux distributions, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office 2007 (if updated to SP2) and later, WordPerfect 9, Scribus, numerous PDF print drivers for Microsoft Windows, the pdfTeX typesetting system, the DocBook PDF tools, applications developed around Ghostscript and Adobe Acrobat itself as well as Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop.
Ghostscript is a suite of software based on an interpreter for Adobe Systems' PostScript and Portable Document Format (PDF) page description languages.

Poppler (software)

PopplerPoppler-utils
Inkscape version 0.46 and later allows PDF editing of a single page through an intermediate translation step involving Poppler, then the document can be exported again as PDF.
Poppler is a free software utility library for rendering Portable Document Format (PDF) documents.

Prepress

prepresspre-pressdigital prepress
Raster image processors (RIPs) are used to convert PDF files into a raster format suitable for imaging onto paper and other media in printers, digital production presses and prepress in a process known as rasterisation.
In today's prepress shop, the form of delivery from the customer is usually electronic, either a PDF or application files created from such programs as Scribus, Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice BaseLibreOffice ImpressLibreOffice Online
There are many software options for creating PDFs, including the PDF printing capabilities built into macOS, iOS, and most Linux distributions, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office 2007 (if updated to SP2) and later, WordPerfect 9, Scribus, numerous PDF print drivers for Microsoft Windows, the pdfTeX typesetting system, the DocBook PDF tools, applications developed around Ghostscript and Adobe Acrobat itself as well as Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop.

Dochub

Dochub, is a free online PDF editing tool that can be used without purchasing anything.
DocHub is an online PDF editor and document signing platform.

DocBook

DocbookDocBook XML
There are many software options for creating PDFs, including the PDF printing capabilities built into macOS, iOS, and most Linux distributions, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office 2007 (if updated to SP2) and later, WordPerfect 9, Scribus, numerous PDF print drivers for Microsoft Windows, the pdfTeX typesetting system, the DocBook PDF tools, applications developed around Ghostscript and Adobe Acrobat itself as well as Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop.
As a semantic language, DocBook enables its users to create document content in a presentation-neutral form that captures the logical structure of the content; that content can then be published in a variety of formats, including HTML, XHTML, EPUB, PDF, man pages, Web help and HTML Help, without requiring users to make any changes to the source.