6 Good Reasons NOT to Use PDF Files

What’s the big deal with PDF’s? Since they were first introduced by Adobe back in  1993, Portable Digital Files have dominated all other file formats for sharing information on the internet. Maybe Adobe’s fancy marketing campaign for promoting PDF’s—including the gratuitous use of “acrobats”—has had something to do with the world-wide popularity of PDF’s. Or maybe they just got lucky. Ask just about anybody what all the fuss is about and they’ll promptly provide you with a laundry list of reasons for using PDF’s. But no file format can be that good, can it? Judge for yourself as you ponder 6 very good reasons NOT to use PDF files.
  1. Too many platforms: You’ve got your favorite platform—a trusty desktop computer— and that’s all you need. Why complicate things? Just because PDF files can be opened on any platform—mobile devices included—does that mean you have to run out and buy a new laptop, a fancy tablet or smart phone, just so you can open PDF’s more conveniently?  And when you send a file off to someone, either personally or in the course of doing business, if the receiver can’t open your file, that’s their problem. Why conform to some universal standard format just to make their lives easier by sending them a PDF that they can open up on any platform with any software?
  2. What’s with the “freeware”: Speaking of software, if PDF’s are working out so great for Adobe, why do they have to give Adobe Reader away. Why not make  people pay for the privilege to open, review and print their precious PDF files? Yes, there are other PDF Readers available as freeware, but Adobe Reader is the only one that can handle any PDF content, along with forms and multimedia. So shouldn’t they be charging for those extra benefits?
  3. Shrinkage: When it comes to reformatting document files, size should matter. And yet, when converting large files to PDF format, like big word files, photos and spreadsheets, size makes no difference. Apparently, PDF conversion allows large files to be automatically compressed to anywhere from ½ to 1/8th their original size. This can be very useful when working with files that have lots of graphics. And get this, PDF compression allows users to combine and even merge multiple files which can then be opened and viewed on any platform.
  4. The universal creation hoax: How’s this for the plot of a science fiction novel? A file format called PDF is created, allowing any type of document from any application to be converted into said format while totally retaining all visual elements in the process—text, images, graphics, you name it. To bring about such a file, a tool known as a PDF Creator is needed. Although such tools can be had for free or very inexpensively, they are capable of creating PDF documents that are, for all practical purposes, identical to the source documents. Not even H.G. Wells could have dreamed this stuff up.
  5. Too much support: Aside from everything else they do, PDF files are said to be able to support Multi-media and Interactive functions. Do users really need that much support? Do they really need PDF formatted documents that, on top of the necessary functions, also contain file attachments and hyperlinks? Not to mention music and movies. And how much can our professional, buttoned-up businesses really benefit from websites with the capability to import and export data using so-called interactive forms? Come on folks, let’s keep it simple.
  6. Password paranoia: Digital documents were doing just fine until the PDF came along with its password protection feature. Suddenly it was safe to transmit sensitive documents over the internet, in the form of files that could only be read by those with the proper security clearance. And if that’s not enough, PDF’s are also “Read Only” documents, which means that any attempts to alter or edit them in any way can be detected via a telltale electronic footprint. Come on, how paranoid can you get? Sure, PDF files are the preferred document format of the  U.S. Federal Courts system, but do individuals and businesses really need that kind of document security? Next thing you know PDF’s will have the capability to carry digital signatures and watermarks to further guarantee document authenticity. Oops, they already have that feature. And then there’s the issue of viral protection. There’s something exciting about downloading a file you’ve just received, knowing that the file might contain some kind of malware, like a virus, a worm or a Trojan Horse. PDF files are almost impervious to viral infection, making them totally safe to share with others. Where’s the fun in that?


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