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Why use PDFs for your work? 15 reasons

The PDF—a popular file format that presents text and images without software or applications—is the digital version of a comfy old pair of shoes. PDF files are handy, free to create or use, and easy to convert, store, and share using Dropbox. Here’s how they can benefit your day-to-day work.

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PDFs are nearly as universal as email. Ideal for both work and play, they’re as easy to use for contracts as they are for reading magazines. The main benefits of PDF files for business come in three important categories.

You can probably send a PDF to the 20-year-old computer at your grandparents’ house and they’ll be able to open it without issues: As a file format, it’s pretty robust. 

PDFs are crucial for small or large businesses. Got an important document? You can use Dropbox Sign for a legally-binding signature. See? PDFs are boosting your business already!

15 benefits of PDFs for your business

PDFs are easy to create, read, and share. Did you know that you can read and edit PDFs with Dropbox? Read about ‘How to Edit PDFs in Dropbox’ for more detail.

But what is so great about them for business? The following are some practical ways that using PDFs can help to enhance your productivity:

PDFs are better for compatibility

Sure, “PDFs are so compatible”, we hear this a lot—but really, how compatible are they? There’s no answer other than “very.” If an alien finds a laptop in a thousand years, chances are they can load up a PDF just fine.

Thanks to its resilience as a format, converting files to PDF can be an excellent way to future-proof your finished work. To help you get started, we’ve created free online tools that allow you to convert files from Word, PPTJPG, or PNG to PDF—no Dropbox account required

You get it, compatibility might sound broad and difficult to pin down. So, here are some practical ways that utilizing the uber-compatible PDF will boost efficiency/workflow within a company:

Never hassle or fuss opening a document

Not every business uses the same systems, making it a real pain when trying to share files. 

The solution? PDFs. Pretty much everyone can open them on their computers or devices, so that’s one less frustration for the day. Check!

Conquer the world with multiple languages/scripts

PDFs give you a universal translator in your pocket, making global collaboration a breeze. 

Whether you're creating, reading, or sharing, PDFs have got your back in multiple languages, diverse scripts, and alphabets. So long language barriers, hello seamless international business!

Become a master of persuasion during sales and pitches

PDFs are a breeze to send out, giving everyone a front-row seat to your captivating presentation.

You can sprinkle those PDFs with hyperlinks, leading your audience to other essential documents and files that seal the deal. It’s like sharing a treasure map with all the info they need to say “yes!”

Juice up your workflow with app integrations

You don’t have to be tech-savvy to see your favorite apps and PDFs are made for each other.

Many apps have a 'Save as' or 'Export to' PDF feature, which lets you convert your content into a trusty format. Do that and you’ve got a universal format for all your digital creations.

Be the ultimate team player and smash silos

This supercharged format lets you foster collaboration and efficiency—and maintain a united front.

PDFs are awesome bridge builders for cross-departmental communication. You can easily share important documents, ensuring everyone's on the same page, literally! No more silos.

PDFs work on a phone or computer, Windows or macOS, and other tech or operating systems, so their compatibility makes them a very robust format—no matter what device you are using.

Dropbox also helps with compatibility, thanks to some powerful conversion features. See ‘How to convert Dropbox files’ to learn about converting files to PDF.

PDFs offer excellent data security

You can set a PDF’s security features to stop people from sharing, copying, printing, and doing other things to the file. Security may be the most promising feature of the format for business. Keep prying eyes away or just make accidental meddling impossible.

Pay scales, job information, personal details, sensitive customer data, and other things are safe from prying eyes in a PDF. PDF security can benefit your business in the following ways:

Be a secret agent of data protection

PDFs have a killer feature—encryption. Apply the settings and you keep data under lock and key.

Those trusted with the code can access and view your top-secret files, but you’re in charge of who gets the VIP pass. It’s the best of gadgetry and gizmology, paired with high-tech efficiency.

Safeguard document integrity

When it comes to protecting your files from unwanted editing, PDFs have some serious muscle.

With a legion of security settings at your fingertips you can fence off those important documents like contracts, making them untouchable by unapproved hands.

Earn trust points like a pro

Digital IDs and secure certificates give your files a gleaming badge that screams “This is legit”.

When you add digital signatures to your PDFs, you're like a trusted advisor with an official stamp of authenticity. Goodbye skepticism! Recipients will know that your PDFs are the real deal.

Keep discretion paramount

PDFs are a trusty sidekick for intellectual property, copyright, or juicy embargoed news stories.

The security features let you lock down your valuable or sensitive content. No more worries about unauthorized access or accidental leaks—everything is under wraps until the big reveal.

Nourish your inner GDPR guru

PDFs let you handle sensitive data, protect privacy, and keep in the good graces of the regulators.

They help you comply with those all-important data protection rules. Ensuring you stay on the right side of the law and dodge pesky penalties—something businesses can have huge exposure to!

You can store your PDFs and many other file types on your Dropbox account for extra security.

Choose a Dropbox plan and keep all your files under secure encryption.

PDFs have very small file sizes and easy compression

PDFs are small. In PDF, an entire novel will barely make a dent in your cloud storage. So they’re ultra compact! On Project Gutenberg, the epic novel ‘War and Peace’ is less than 5 MB. This is why PDFs are the go-to format.

Whether it’s extensive records of customer transactions, client profiles, or just historical data, the small size of PDFs makes them handy. Here’s how small files sizes help facilitate better business:

Optimize for speedy distribution

PDFs are the sprinters of the digital world, zipping through the interwebs with their agile form.

Defy sluggish internet speeds or file compatibility issues. PDFs make it a breeze for your recipients to receive documents, images, or other goodies. It’s an attachment turbo boost!

Manage your cloud storage

PDFs stop you from waiting around for bulky files to load or getting irked by them hogging up your precious storage space. 

Whether you're transferring, uploading, or downloading those trusty PDFs, they're like nimble acrobats, effortlessly gliding through your Dropbox.

Run teams like a well-oiled machine

PDF files keep teams moving to the same beat. Updates sync up at lightning speed in your Dropbox account.

Imagine someone updates a PDF to an important new version or makes some snazzy changes. Guess what? It’s effortlessly sharing and syncing their PDF masterpieces. No more hitting refresh.

Get things done on the go

With small file sizes, you can power through your work without breaking a sweat.

PDFs are the saviors of solopreneurs and digital nomads, especially when you're counting on those less reliable or lower bandwidth internet connections. No more frustrations.

Share your awesome stuff with the world

PDFs are one of the best tools to have in your quest for maximum reach and exposure.

Whether it’s a job listing, a cool video clip, or stuff you want to share with your mailing list, PDFs are the go-to format. You can get files into the wild knowing virtually everyone can download and view them.

Overall, the small size of a PDF makes it manageable. Smaller files can help boost productivity, save space, and make interacting with files smoother. PDFs can pack a lot into a tiny package!

A GIF showing how simple it is to send a PDF for signing with Dropbox Sign.

Are there any disadvantages to using PDF?

There aren’t many drawbacks to using PDFs for business, but sometimes their beneficial features might cause an issue. Possible disadvantages of using PDFs in business include the following:

  • PDFs can be difficult to edit—though this isn’t an issue with Dropbox’s built-in PDF editing features, available on all plans
  • Using a PDF to present can feel much less engaging than a slide deck
  • The ‘letter’ look of a PDF can make them difficult to read, they often require lots of scrolling

So, there are a couple of potential problems using PDFs—but these are quite easy to manage. We won’t see PDFs falling out of favor any time soon—the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

To work better with the PDF format in your business, read ‘Long live the PDF’—a resource that showcases how Dropbox features can help you get the most out of your files.

Get more from your files with Dropbox

Size, security, and compatibility make PDFs excellent for business. If you use PDFs or any other file type you can make the most of your data with Dropbox. It’s the perfect tool for good business.

You’ll get intuitive data storage, sharing, and collaboration features suitable for any company. Choose a plan and enhance your productivity with Dropbox to get the most from your PDF files.