What is a PDF?

An overview of Portable Document Format (PDF) files

Last Updated: May 31st, 2022

A PDF (Portable Document Format) file is an electronic document that may utilize text, graphics, and/or areas to enter your own text. Like an electronic magazine, they can contain multiple pages that you can flip through, zoom in/out to view, and search through for a specific text. PDFs can also function like a form by allowing you to enter information, save it, and submit.

PDF files are universal formats; that is, they are designed to be compatible across multiple platforms. A PDF format represents a document independently of the hardware, operating system and application software used to create the original PDF file. It was designed to create transferable documents that can be shared across multiple computer platforms (licensed, shareware, and freeware alike). It is widely accepted as the preferred format to send and share documents in.

Your instructors at Lane Community College may choose to provide syllabi, assignments, and other resources in PDF format. You will need Adobe Reader to view PDF files, which you can download from Adobe's website. To learn how to download a PDF file from Moodle, please click this Knowledgebase article: Downloading a File from a Moodle Course

It is also possible to save a document or properly formatted information on a web page from an internet browser as a PDF.

  • On Chrome
    1. Follow the above steps to open printing options
    2. Do not hit print. Instead, under destination, select Change...
    3. Select Save as PDF
    4. Select Save, and save file to desired location on computer.
  • On Safari
    1. Take the above steps to open printing options
    2. Do not hit print. Instead locate and click on the drop down menu labeled PDF.
    3. Select Save as PDF
    4. Select desired file location and hit Save

Student Help Desk Support (SHeD)

The student help desk is located on main campus in the Library (center building).

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