A pdf file extension is mainly used for Adobe Portable document format, commonly referred to as PDF. All programs that create some sort of documents or projects offer the possibility to export their format to PDF format. A free PDF viewer (Adobe Reader) is available for download from Adobe website.

There is one other file type using
the PDF file extension!

empty icon.pdf - ArcView preferences definition data

Detailed description

Software that open pdf file

Add comment

Bookmark & share this page with others:

PDF file extension - Adobe Portable document format

What is pdf file? How to open pdf files?

File type specification:

Document file type icon Document file type

E-book file type icon E-book file type

pdf file icon: pdf filetype icon

The pdf file extension is first and foremost associated with Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) documents. Other file formats with PDF file extension in our list are very rare and it would not be an exaggeration to say that 99,99% of PDFs found on the Internet are Adobe Portable documents.

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format proprietary to Adobe Systems for representing two-dimensional documents in a device-independent and resolution-independent fixed-layout document format. Each PDF file encapsulates a complete description of a 2D document (and, with the advent of Acrobat 3D, embedded 3D documents) that includes the text, fonts, images, and 2D vector graphics that compose the document.

PDF files do not encode information that is specific to the application software, hardware, or operating system used to create or view the document. This feature ensures that a valid PDF will render exactly the same regardless of its origin or destination (but depending on font availability).

Anyone may create applications that read and write PDF files without having to pay royalties to Adobe Systems, however, Adobe holds several patents relating to the PDF format and claims that it is an open standard, licensing them on a royalty-free basis for use in developing software that complies with its PDF specification.

PDF files are most appropriately used to encode the exact look of a document in a device-independent way. While the PDF format can describe very simple one-page documents, it may also be used for many pages, complex documents that use a variety of different fonts, graphics, colors, and images.

PDF readers for many platforms are available, such as Xpdf, Foxit, and Adobe's own Adobe Reader. There are also front-ends for many platforms to Ghostscript. PDF readers are generally free.

There are many software options for creating PDFs, including the PDF printing capability built into Mac OS X, the multi-platform OpenOffice, numerous PDF print drivers for Microsoft Windows, and Adobe Acrobat itself. There is also specialized software for editing PDF files.
MIME types used for PDF file type:

Updated: February 3, 2023

The default software associated to open pdf file:

Adobe Acrobat Reader icon

Adobe Systems Incorporated logoAdobe Acrobat Reader  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (formerly Adobe Acrobat Reader or Reader X) is a PDF documents viewer-only software from Adobe.

Adobe Acrobat icon

Adobe Systems Incorporated logoAdobe Acrobat  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe Acrobat is fully featured document solution that works with PDF format and is able of both opening and editing of existing PDF documents, or creating new ones from scratch. Acrobat DC is the last version after Acrobat XI. You can purchase it as standalone desktop software. 

Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac icon

Adobe Systems Incorporated logoAdobe Acrobat Reader for Mac  Apple macOS / Mac OS X software

Company or developer:
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC for Mac software is the free global standard for reliably viewing, printing, and commenting on PDF documents.

Adobe Acrobat for Mac icon

Adobe Systems Incorporated logoAdobe Acrobat for Mac  Apple macOS / Mac OS X software

Company or developer:
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Much like its Windows counterpart, the Mac version of Adobe Acrobat is software used view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in PDF document file format. Acrobat is available in three editions - Acrobat XI Pro, Acrobat XI Standard and Acrobat XI Suite as well as part of Creative Cloud.

Related articles:

Extract images and texts from PDF files

Beware of emails with attachments

Best online converters

Top websites to download free ebooks

Print anything to PDF using virtual PDF printer

Why ePUB format is better than PDF for iBooks

Software for working with PDF documents

How to convert PDF to Word

Convert ebooks for free

Convert DWG to PDF

How to find PDF search results only in Google

Help how to open:

PDF is a very common document format and thus is supported by all productivity software. A free viewer from Adobe is also available to open pdf files, its unable to edit them though.

How to convert:

Conversion of this file to another text/graphic file format is possible. Still, it has some limitations based on content/security permissions in the document and features of the application that you use to convert PDF documents into another file format.

Many applications can export their documents to PDF.

You can also create PDFs from any application that can print using any virtual PDF printer software available on the Internet.

Find conversions from pdf file:

pdf to cbr

pdf to cdr

pdf to dst

pdf to inpage

pdf to midi

pdf to pmd

pdf to tns

Find converter to pdf file type:

indd to pdf

inp to pdf

oxps to pdf

pkpass to pdf

pmd to pdf

ris to pdf

xmind to pdf

File identification strings:

HEX code: 25 50 44 46 2D 31 2E
ASCII code: %PDF-1.

List of software applications associated to the .pdf file extension

Recommended software programs are sorted by OS platform (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android etc.)
and possible program actions that can be done with the file: like open pdf file, edit pdf file, convert pdf file, view pdf file, play pdf file etc. (if exist software for corresponding action in File-Extensions.org's database).

Click on the tab below to simply browse between the application actions, to quickly get a list of recommended software, which is able to perform the specified software action, such as opening, editing or converting pdf files.

Software that open pdf file - Adobe Portable document format

Programs supporting the exension pdf on the main platforms Windows, Mac, Linux or mobile. Click on the link to get more information about listed programs for open pdf file action.

Microsoft Windows:

Main software associated with pdf file by default:
Adobe Acrobat Reader small icon Adobe Acrobat Reader
Adobe Acrobat small icon Adobe Acrobat
Other suggested software:
PDF Architect small icon PDF Architect
Adobe Illustrator small icon Adobe Illustrator
Nitro Pro small icon Nitro Pro

Apple macOS / Mac OS X:

Main software associated with pdf file by default:
Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac small icon Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac
Adobe Acrobat for Mac small icon Adobe Acrobat for Mac
Other suggested software:
Adobe Illustrator for Mac small icon Adobe Illustrator for Mac

Previous file extension
PDE file extension

File-Extensions.org > Document file types

Next file extension
file extension PDFA


Enter any file extension without dot (e.g. pdf)
Search for file extension details and associated application(s)

RSS feed