1. The Software Used to View PDF Files is Widely Accessible for Free
The most common problem that I faced when trying to transfer documents to other people is the fact that they used a word processor that was incompatible with my document or they lacked one at all. This gave me a headache time and time again, which is why I wish I'd known about PDF files sooner.
PDF files would have accomplished the same kind of accessibly that converting a 129-page document into separate JPEG files by hand did on one late night.
Most modern operating systems come bundled with a reader capable of interpreting PDF files. Because the person you sent your documents to may already have a reader installed, this means that they don't even need Internet access in order to view your files. This may seem minor, but it's extremely important when you deal with international clients on a regular basis.
2. PDF Files Can Do Everything Your Office Documents Can
Something I always relied on with documents was the ability to create rich documents that contained text and images.
After all, a quarterly report isn't worth the digital paper it's printed on if you can't line up explanations alongside rich-colored graphs and charts to make your bosses and investors happy.
That's one big advantage of PDF documents. When you convert to PDF, your media files get converted into a format that allows them to be embedded inside of the PDF. You don't have to worry about having other software installed to view charts or graphs.
This simple fact made my life so much easier. I could make rich documents that everyone could read with detailed photographs, easy-to-read charts and everything else that I could ever have wished for.
3. PDF Files Are Read Only
By now, I've brought up that infamous example of being forced to resort to using images in lieu of a proper office document a few times now.
There's one big problem with that solution that solution that made my quiver in my shoes after realizing it. If I gave those images out to people, then anyone could edit them. That could get me in a large amount of trouble and likely get me fired.
The reason I swear by PDFs is the fact that they're read only. You can't change what's in a PDF document unless you set it up with a password or if you have the original document you used to create the PDF.
The fact that PDF files are so hard to alter is another reason as to why they're widely used in the legal and business worlds.
4. Password Protection is an Option
It's one thing to use passwords to prevent unauthorized users from changing your PDF documents, but it's an entirely different thing to keep prying eyes off of sensitive material.
The PDF file structure is created in such a way that it's nearly impossible to view if you have it protected by a password. The entire document is encrypted. There's no peeking at text or any images by using a sneaky method such as disassembling the file in a hex editor.
This makes PDF files ideal for sending sensitive data, especially in a world where cybercrime is on the rise.
5. PDF Files Work on Every Platform
When you work with certain office document programs, you can quickly run into a situation where other people can't read your documents simply because that software isn't available for their operating system.
PDF files are different. They can be read regardless of the system that they're opened on. You can even open PDF files in mobile devices, provided that device has a proper PDF reader available for it.
PDF is synonymous with ease, accessibility and system-wide compatibility. You also gain access to one of the most secure ways to send documents to other people.
I know that just one of those listed above was enough to change my mind. I found that since switching to PDF files, I haven't had nearly as many headaches nor have I had any late nights staying up to save files as JPEGs.