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Adobe PDF files

Portable Document Format (or PDF) files are highly compressed page description files. They can contain text and graphics, and they can easily be scaled and displayed or printed. Unsurprisingly, PDF is like an improved version of PostScript, also from Adobe, that is tailered to electronic publishing.

Some things to note about PDF:

The best source of general information about PDF is available from Adobe.

PDF Readers

Like PostScript, PDF is a proprietary language. Adobe distributes a free viewer for PDF files, called Acrobat. It is available for most computer platforms, and is simple to install.

If you want to redistribute Acrobat from you sight (as you probably would if you had many PDF documents online) you can do so after signing a licensing agreement.

Adobe is also releasing a beta version of a new reader called Amber. The Amber reader runs as a Netscape plug-in. One of it's main features is the ability to download PDF files a page at a time. This eliminates the experience of downloading a large, multi-page PDF file only to discover you aren't interested after looking at the first page.

Creating PDF files

Creating PDF files requires purchasing software from Adobe. At the time this page was written, the main options are: These products come bundled together in various groupings. Prices range from $200-$300 at the low end to $1900 at the high end for a single user license. Multi-user licenses are also available at significant discount.

For current product descriptions and prices, consult the Adobe product info page.

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Created: May 05 1996 --- Last modified: May 30 1996