This article explains the misnomer, Adobe Writer, which has developed over the years to refer to any utility that produces Portable Document Format (PDF) files and especially to the Adobe Acrobat PDF Writer. The article then goes on to discuss the Adobe Acrobat PDF Writer, including a short history about the product, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. The benefits and uses of PDF files, in general, are also discussed.
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Let's start this off by saying that there never was a product called "Adobe Writer". This has become a misnomer for the Acrobat PDF Writer and any utility that produces PDF files. Over the years, the term "Adobe Writer" has become synonymous with utilities that let users produce and distribute PDF files. The name "Acrobat Writer" has also been used to refer to this product, but, again, this is not the actual name.
The PDF Writer is a PDF creation tool that used to come as part of the Adobe Acrobat software. The Acrobat PDF Writer would install on your computer as a printer driver, letting users easily create PDFs to distribute to their customers. They would simply print to this so-called printer and a PDF would be created. The PDF Writer was a quick way to make PDFs, but did not give a full-functioning PDF. It is no longer distributed with Acrobat.
According to a presentation given by James C. King (PDF architect and principal scientist, Advanced Technology Laboratory at Adobe Systems Incorporated), the shelf life of Acrobat PDF Writer was from 1993 to 2001. One of the slides in this presentation refers to the product as a poor solution and he gives a number of reasons. He writes that it's a "faux print driver" and the user only gets what they print. When the Acrobat PDF Writer was used, the PDF did not include the table of contents, hyperlinks or notes. It allowed for only a little structure, used glyphs and not Unicode and provided the lowest level of graphics with no EPS.
To include some of the missing functionality, the Acrobat Distiller had to be used. Nowadays, Adobe sells a different product, Adobe Acrobat, which includes the same functionality along with many other features.
So, why would someone even need to create a PDF? Once a PDF is created, other people can read it using the Adobe Reader, which Adobe makes available for free. PDF files make it easy to share content with others, since the document will appear the same on every computer.