10 Portable Document Format (PDF) Tips and Tricks You Didn’t Know About

The portable document format file extension or PDF has overtaken the world. There are over 2.2 billion of these files on the internet. 2 billion are saved on Dropbox, and 73 million new ones are saved in Google Drive every day.

Adobe invented the format decades ago as a unified way to save various types of information such as text and images. Most computer and mobile users are familiar enough with this common file type by now to know how to open and save it, but there’s so much more it can do for you.

Read on to learn about 10 PDF tips and tricks you may not know about.

1. Searching

PDFs can be hundreds of pages or more, making it difficult to find what you need within them. Using an app like PDF Search makes it much easier.

All you have to do is enter the search term you need, press enter, and click any of the results to go to the spot in the document where your search term appears.

The best part is that you can search multiple documents at the same time. Check here for more on PDF Search’s features:

2. Ranking Keywords

PDF search doesn’t list pages in numerical order. Instead, it ranks keywords and key phrases by how often they show up and where. This is important for SEO or search engine optimization because it helps you know if the words your potential customers are searching for can be found within your documents.

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3. Interacting

PDF Search is useful for more than finding keywords. Its pen tool allows you to interact with files by highlighting, crossing out, or redacting critical information.

4. Signing

One of the most important types of interaction for any PDF, especially for legal documents, is signatures. PDF Pen allows you to create them directly within the file instead of printing them out and signing them by hand.

5. Scanning

Adobe’s portable document format has always been like a physical version of the traditional paper form. Problems can arise if you have a paper form that’s ready to go but need to transfer it to your computer to be saved or edited.

PDF Pen provides an easy way to scan documents. It uses OCR or optical character recognition that recognizes text in a digital image. This technology allows the app to convert a paper document or image into a portable document format file with text and images in it.

6. Converting

The Adobe portable document format is a useful file extension, but it’s not always the right one.

What if you’re collaborating with someone who doesn’t have a PDF reader or prefers another file type? What if your document needs features that only another file extension can provide?

In this case, you’ll need to turn your portable document format file into another format.

PDF Pen and Prizmo are both useful converters. Prizmo has the advantage of turning PDFs back into other formats as well and making it easier to edit files

7. Reducing Size

Hard drive usage has grown from 500 megabytes in 1986 to 44.5 gigabytes in 2007, an increase of 8,800% in 21 years. That doesn’t even account for the 44.5 gigabytes of space the average user takes up on Google’s cloud servers.

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If you’re beginning to run out of space, you may have to shrink the size of your files without removing any of the information they contain or making them impossible to read.

The easiest way to reduce the size of a portable document file is to use a designated app like PDF Squeezer. It can compress a batch of files all at once or one at a time.

8. Adding Rich Media and Forms

Rich media refers to video or interactive features on the internet. It includes ads that respond to mouse controls, Flash or Java apps, and more.

Adding rich media to your PDFs makes them more entertaining for viewers, especially when they go online. It also makes it easier to add these elements to your websites.

Including forms on a portable document format download can increase the efficiency of your workplace. Workers only have to receive the file and fill in the appropriate information instead of looking around for the right paper forms and scanning them in.

Both of these additions enrich a PDF and make them more interactive for everyone using them.

9. Encapsulating

Encapsulation combines multiple programmed elements into one to protect information. In programming, it ensures that all of an object’s data is hidden within the object with access restricted to other members of its class.

Encapsulation is beneficial because it prevents unwanted access, reduces human errors, and simplifies application maintenance and usage.

An encapsulated portable document format provides all of these benefits. It’s important because a large percentage of these files contain sensitive details such as health or legal information.

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10. Password Protection

Encapsulation helps hide privileged information, but there may be times you need an extra level of protection.

There are many ways to add passwords to a PDF.

For Microsoft Office documents:

  • Open the document
  • Go to File > Info > Protect Document
  • Select Encrypt with Password
  • Enter the password
  • Click OK

For Adobe Acrobat portable document format files:

  • Open the document
  • Go to Tools > Protect > Encrypt > Encrypt with Password
  • Select Require a Password to Open the Document
  • Type the password
  • Choose a version in the compatibility menu
  • Select Encrypt All Document Contents
  • Click OK
  • Retype the Password
  • Click OK

It’s also possible to remove a password from a PDF if you no longer need it. Either way, protecting your files in this manner will ensure they’re only seen by users who are meant to view them.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Files

The PDF or portable document format is one of the most popular file types of all time. It has a wide range of features, many of which you may not even know about.

A PDF is more than a paper document if you use all the features it provides. The right tools will help you search, rank, interact with, sign, convert, compress, scan, add rich media and forms to, encapsulate, or password protect them.

Read the rest of our content to learn how to get the most out of all your files, including PDFs.

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