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Portable Document Format or PDF is a file format created by Adobe Systems to allow the exchange of documents independent of one's computer hardware, software, or operating system. Documents published to PDF retain their formatting and appear on the recipient's monitor or printer as they were created. While not all software programs allow you to save (or print) a document to PDF, Adobe does provide free software, which can be easily downloaded, allowing anyone to read a PDF file.

PDF allows genealogists to create and share family history documents over the Internet, ensuring they can be read by others, regardless of their computer system. PDF documents can be easily printed, but they cannot be edited or changed, which retains the integrity of information shared.

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