The Portable Document Format (PDF), which is used worldwide to transfer the same permanence as a paper document into digital space, is the standard file format in the legal sector.
Adobe created the PDF in 1992 with the aim of making it a secure digital document. This eliminates the need to print and edit offline. The PDF allows users to electronically sign, edit, complete forms and remove sensitive information.
This format is gaining popularity and has been required for eFiling in many states such as California, Texas, and Indiana. However, there are still some misconceptions.
Myth #1: Adobe Acrobat works only with PDF
Adobe is the original creator of PDF. Their Acrobat software remains one of the most user-friendly and feature-rich software programs. We took the liberty to compare the most popular software editing options so you could choose the right program for your law practice.
Myth #2: I don’t need the free PDF software.
Every computer comes preloaded now with a PDF reader. This allows users to view and open PDF files digitally. If you plan on doing anything other than reading your files, you will need an additional program. Adobe Acrobat, like other PDF viewers, is not available in a free version. Purchased software has many core capabilities which are particularly useful for eFiling documents.
Myth #3: Is PDF software too expensive for my law firm?
Adobe Acrobat was a costly program until recently. When offices didn’t have as much need for high-end software, before eFiling was available and businesses started to shift towards digital paperwork, such software seemed like a prohibitive financial investment. The market for editing PDFs has grown more competitive since the PDF became an open standard. While still a significant investment, programs such as Adobe Acrobat make it easier to manage than ever. It is well worth the time savings and higher acceptance rate by courts.
Myth #4: The only way to create PDF is by scanning a paper document
In the days when paper documents still ruled and Adobe retained all rights, one way to create a PDF was to print and scan Word documents, or scan multiple files to create one PDF. Since 2007, Microsoft’s conversion feature was introduced, it is now possible to convert any digital file into a PDF by simply scanning it or printing it.
Myth #5 – PDFs can’t be converted to other file formats
Other file formats can be converted to PDF. PDFs can also convert into Word documents. It is actually very simple to save a PDF as a Word document.
Myth #6: PDF files can be larger than other formats.
Although this may seem true at first, the PDF’s size will depend on how it is saved. You can easily save an optimized PDF within a small file with just a few steps. Your choice of type and quality of scanner will impact the file size. Higher quality scanners can help you better control the final document’s size and quality.
Myth #7: An incorrect file format can result in my entire filing being rejected
It is important to adhere to the court formatting requirements as closely as you can.
- Convert the file you have uploaded (WordPerfect, Excel or WordPerfect) into a PDF
- Verify that your document can be searched textually and, if not, make sure it is.
Do you need an extra pair to verify that everything is correct? Try hiring a freelance eFiling expert to review your document.
The PDF is the most widely used file format. However, it still has many misconceptions. It’s much more versatile and usable than 20 years ago.