For an electronic document to be admissible in a court of law, it must be created in a file format that cannot be altered without leaving an electronic footprint. To satisfy this requirement, the imaging industry has diverged in two different directions:
The PDF File Format
A PDF file is a "read only" document that cannot be altered without leaving an electronic footprint, and meets all legal requirements in a court of law. Furthermore, the PDF format is practical and economical by allowing the documents to be stored on a company's server. This eliminates the need for additional hardware (except for additional hard drive space) and allows for exceptional integration into any network.
Contrast the TIFF, JPEG, GIF File Format
Because these file formats can be easily altered without leaving an electronic footprint, it is necessary to copy them at the time of scanning directly to an optical media (CD-R or DVD). Documents on an optical media cannot be removed or changed, making them legal in a court of law.
PDF Files Provide Document-Level Security
Document security is paramount to businesses sharing information over a network, over an intranet or over the Internet. With the PDF format, organizations are able to put User-Password security at the document level. This allows emailing of documents between people or locations without the fear of an unauthorized person viewing the document.
PDF files are 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. Cross platform acceptability is another reason PDF the document format of choice to use over a network, the Internet or an intranet.
Compression of a PDF File is Substantial
A typed 81/2x11 letter is approximately 1,000 kilobytes in size when scanned into the system, but compresses to 28-33 kilobytes when converted into a PDF document. An electronic document converted into the PDF format compresses to approximately 25% of its original size. For example, a 20 kilobyte word processing document is compressed to under 5 kilobytes. This size reduction allows the PDF document to open quickly at the workstation and makes it ideal for use on a network/Internet/intranet.
The Software to View PDF Files is Freeware
An enormous advantage of PDF files is that they can be retrieved, viewed and printed with freeware called Adobe Acrobat Reader. It can be installed on every network PC for free and people outside your organization can download it for free from the Internet. This is a major benefit of our system because it allows you to share documents easily with anyone inside and outside your organization with no additional expenses.
The PDF format was originally developed by Adobe for the U.S. Federal Government to store its legacy files. Today, the U.S. Federal Government is still the largest user of PDF technology.
In 2000, the U.S. Federal Courts adopted the PDF file as their electronic document format. Many individuals have encountered the PDF format when downloading electronic tax forms from the IRS. This widespread governmental use of the PDF format for archiving and sharing documentation virtually guarantees that the PDF file will remain as a long-term format standard.