PDF History – Brief Story about the Universal File Format


It goes without saying that the Portable Document Format or PDF, as it’s most commonly referred to, is without a doubt amongst the most universally used file formats out there. People use it for a wide range of different things but mostly to send scanned documentation. It is so popular that it has become something like a euphemism. “Send me a PDF”  has become a commonly used phrase and people hardly stop to think about what PDF actually stands for, and what are easies ways to convert PDF to Word document online. However, it’s worth noting that the history of this file format is just as interesting and it’s most certainly worth digging into.

PDF History: Things to Consider

The first thing that you need to know about the PDF is that it was first conceived by John Warnock, who had a vision for print and graphic technology which led to the formation of an independent page description language. Upon using the language, you can retain the graphics, fonts and the formatting as you see them on the screen. This scripting language was incorporated and released all the way back in 1984 and it carried the name Adobe PostScript.

In any case, later on in the early 1990s Adobe developed this particular scripting technology even further and came up with a file format which was capable of performing in the same particular way. In 1991 the format was officially introduced as Carousel, yet it went on to be renamed to PDF 1.0 the following year.

History PDF: The Early Usage of the Format

Following up the format history, we will see that it began to function with simple features. Some of them included internal links, RGB color spaces and bookmarks. Of course, they were gradually upgraded and by 1994 it already supported specific pre-press industry features like CMYK color spaces as well as some other OPI specifications. This happened back 1994.

In between 1999 and 2001 the company took even farther steps and massively expanded the functionalities of the PDF for the corporate users by introducing digital signatures as well as tools for minor PDF editing which was something unheard of up until then.

pdf history

Image credit: tekrevue.com

The Usage of the PDF Today

Today, we use PDF file formats and PDF to Word document online are in our everyday routines, being professional and leisure. Every time you need to send in a file to someone you are likely to scan it and send it in the default PDF format. As a matter of fact, it has become so popular that it’s hard to imagine us using something else as an alternative.

Even though there are some tries every now and then, the PDF is universally renowned and overly used. It’s particularly hard to imagine that another file format would be even remotely capable of taking its place to help people with f.e. typing manuscripts

Learn about format history and avail our professional typing services today!