Sophia Howard Sophia Howard is part of the Marketing, Sales and Website development team at IDRsolutions

What is a PDF file?

1 min read

IDRSolutions has spent the last 20 years writing PDF Developer libraries to Display, View and Convert PDF files. So sometimes take them for granted. Here we try to provide a simple explanation for those learning about PDF files for the first time.

What are PDF files?

PDF Files were developed in the early 1990s and they were used to share documents such as text formatting and in-line images. They still remain complex binary files that have been created according to the version of the Adobe PDF reference guides.

You’ll often see product manuals, Ebooks, job applications and all sorts of other documents available in PDF format. This is because they can contain images and text, interactive buttons, hyperlinks, embedded fonts, video and more.

People mainly use PDF files because they do not rely on the software that created them. This makes sharing PDF files across platforms easier. For example, if you open a PDF on a mobile or tablet device you will be able to view it’s the same way as you would on a Linux or Windows machine

What is the file structure of a PDF File?

PDF files consist of various objects which can be read very quickly. Each object has its own ID, most of the time the generation is zero but not always. There are lots of different types of for example a ‘page’ object will describe a particular page,  a ‘Font’ object contains all the information about specific font, etc. However, objects can reference other objects. For example Page object 5 0 R might reference resources object 10 O R which contains a list of Font objects for the page.

How much support does Java have for PDF files?

Unfortunately, there is very little support the Java and PDF files. However, Java can still do a brilliant job with PDF files when you have the right tools. As I mentioned above PDF files can be quite complex and without the right tools, it can make it difficult to do things such as viewing, printing and extracting text, etc.

What would you like to know next about PDF files?

Are you a Developer working with PDF files?

Our developers guide contains a large number of technical posts to help you understand the PDF file Format.

Find out more about our software for Developers

Sophia Howard Sophia Howard is part of the Marketing, Sales and Website development team at IDRsolutions

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