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What is the difference between PDL and PDF?

questionPDL (page description language) is a language that specifies the arrangement of a printed page through commands from a computer that the printer carries out. Hewlett Packard's Printer Control Language (PCL) and Adobe's Postscript are the two most commonly used PDLs. PDLs define page elements independently of printer technology, so that a page's appearance should be consistent regardless of the specific printer used.

PDF (portable document format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else. PDF files are created using Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat Capture, or similar products. PDF files are especially useful for documents such as magazine articles, product brochures, or flyers in which you want to preserve the original graphic appearance online.

This was last updated in February 2011

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