Later in this book, you get an introduction to Adobe Acrobat and its capabilities. Acrobat is the default program for creating and reading PDFs. The benefits of PDF are numerous, but its greatest strength is that a PDF naturally contains all the items you need to print or view a document remotely. That is, if you send a correctly prepared PDF to your printer or service bureau, you do not have to send any fonts, graphics, or linked images, because those items are all embedded in the PDF file. What you see onscreen should look essentially the same as what comes out when ink is put on paper.
Sounds easy, right? It can be, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you create a PDF, especially if it is to be output. First, because all the peripheral files are embedded in the PDF, you still need to know where everything is. If you have a lot of problems losing links or not sending the correct fonts with your job, you might still have problems when creating PDFs. It's still important to be organized.
The other thing to be aware of is how the PDF fits into your commercial printer's workflow. As you will see, there are many options when creating PDFs, and most commercial printers have their own set of preferred specifications. Therefore, don't send a PDF to your printer without first making sure you prepared it correctly for them. If not, what you see may be completely different from what you get.
What if you're not printing documents, but you just want to share them with a wider audience while still preserving their appearance? This is a little easier because you don't have to worry about output. The compact PDF files are a great way to share information via the Internet, or they can also serve as an archiveone that is fully searchable and retains all the formatting of the original document.