PDF has a unique number of advantages:
- It is a cross platform standard. This means that somebody can create a PDF file on a Unix workstation and you can open it on a Mac or PC and still see the document just like it was intended to be viewed.
- PDF files can be device independent: they can be printed on a cheap ink jet printer as well as on an expensive imagesetter. This does not necessarily mean that the output will be optimized for each device. A lot depends on the way the document is created.
- PDF files are compact. PDF supports a number of sophisticated compression algorithms as well as a clever file structure to keep the file size of PDF files down to an absolute minimum.
- PDF files can contain multimedia elements like movies or sound as well as hypertext elements like bookmarks, links to e-mail addresses or web pages and thumbnail views of pages.
- PDF supports security. The creator of a PDF file can set various security options. It is possible to lock a PDF so it can only be opened with a password. It is also possible to forbid changing the content of a PDF or disable the option to print a PDF file.