The PDF will be 30 years old this year! In this article, we will introduce you to the history of PDFs and show you how to test the popular Adobe Acrobat Pro program for free.

Adobe developed and launched PDF in 1993. Back then, nobody realized that 30 years later, PDF would become the most popular file format in the world. The PDF accompanies us every day and still has a special status at Adobe, even after all these years.

The history of the PDF

In the early 1990s, Adobe co-founder John Warnock formed an elite team called Camelot. Its task was to develop a file format with which recipients could read and print out a document exactly as the sender had created it.

The PDF should serve as a universal language for the exchange of documents, across the borders of operating systems, software applications and devices.

Charles M. Geschke and John E. Warnock, the inventors of the PDF (Image: Adobe)

In January 1993, Adobe introduced the format to a broader public for the first time. This was followed in June 1993 by version 1.0 of Adobe Acrobat, the first program that could read PDFs. It was precisely at this point that the success story began and the PDF became one of the most popular formats in the world.

In 2008, Adobe gave the PDF over to the care of the ISO (International Organization of Standardization). At the same time, the PDF was recognized as an ISO standard (ISO 32000). With the ISO release, Adobe makes the PDF available to the public free of charge. And the Acrobat Reader is also available free of charge from this point in time.

Over the 30 years, versions with new functions, plug-ins and browser integrations followed again and again. Today, PDF and Adobe Acrobat are the industry standard for exchanging electronic documents.

Try Adobe Acrobat Pro now for free

30 years of PDF – 30 years of innovation

Links, bookmarks, embedded fonts and RGB images are already supported in the first PDF 1.0 version. By the year 2000, many features had been added to PDF and Adobe Acrobat, including article threads, security features, comments, the search function, and digital signatures. From 2001, the PDF will also be compatible with Microsoft formats and a large part of the Microsoft formats can be converted into PDF.

The last major update brought Liquid Mode, which enables a revolutionary PDF reading experience in Acrobat. Liquid Mode improves PDF layout and offers on-the-fly features that make it easier to read documents on smartphones and tablets. Thanks to AI technology, the function learns over time, constantly improving the Liquid Mode experience.

Adobe has been passionate about the format since day one. The experts are constantly developing it and making it smarter and safer. Adobe has developed an entire ecosystem for digital document management over time. In 2022 alone, more than 400 billion PDF files were opened in Adobe products and more than 8 billion electronic transactions and digital signatures were processed through Adobe Document Cloud. Adobe Scan is the leading scanning app on iOS and Android with more than 150 million downloads and 2.5 billion documents created.

Adobe is PDF: Try Adobe Acrobat Pro for free now

After 30 years of history and development, one thing is clear: Adobe is PDF. No other provider or freely available tool can match the expertise. The security that Acrobat provides its users cannot be compared to any web tool. Even after 30 years, Adobe continues to innovate the PDF format and the Adobe Acrobat application.

Adobe Acrobat Pro

The functions of Adobe Acrobat Pro (Image: Adobe)

You can open and view PDFs with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. With Adobe Acrobat Pro, you also have many other functions at your disposal, including text and image editing, converting PDFs and other files, and creating and merging PDF documents. When you’re on the go, you can use the associated app for Android and iOS to be able to easily edit your documents from your smartphone or tablet.

Take the chance now to test all functions of Adobe Acrobat Pro for 7 days completely free of charge.

Try Adobe Acrobat Pro now for free


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