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Why PDF Is Used for Archiving Electronic Documents?

Preserving and archiving electronic documents for extended periods of time requires attention to both technology and business issues. With the increasing software that can produce electronic documents nowadays, there's no doubt that needs for storing those documents in a standard electronic format are growing.

Printing those documents to paper for long-term archiving may be a convenient and reasonable solution when documents must be retained for 10 years or more. Printing documents avoids the need to address long-term technology and data storage issues. However, storing documents in paper format requires large amounts of space for storage and lengthy time for retrieving even thoroughly indexed documents. In addition, conversion to paper format negates many benefits of managing records electronically, such as the ability to search document content and to transmit documents over computer networks quickly.

To store documents electronically for a long time, several issues must be addressed to ensure that documents produced and retained are available and readable in the distant future. Hardware and software that can read the documents must be available. Data files must be sufficiently standardized to enable those other than the document's creator to view its content. Otherwise, the record's usefulness is compromised. Because most office automation products, such as word processors, spreadsheets, graphics, and database software, produce data files in formats that are proprietary to their vendors, there is an increasing need for these files to be stored in a common standard file format that can be easily created and viewed by the general population.

To be universally usable, a document format must be readable without regard to the specific software available on individuals' desktops. Users, then, must not be required to have a specific vendor's software nor be bound by software versions, operating systems, and other local computer infrastructure issues. If someone external to the organization sends a document, the recipient should be able to accept, read, and print it. In addition, everyone should be able to produce documents themselves in a format universally usable by others.

Portable document format (PDF) files can be created from most any desktop application with Adobe Exchange software, a product increasingly hailed as a De Facto standard for universal access to electronic documents over the Internet. They can be to created, distributed, and stored easily. So that's why PDF is widely used for archiving electronic documents. Click here to learn more about PDF.