Design Tips
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How to import a PDF

How to import a PDF

PDF. The most used digital file format in existence. Why? Because that was its original intention.

With a vision to replace paper, the PDF file format was originally created because of a need for a universal way to communicate documents across a wide variety of machine configurations, operating systems, and communication networks. 

These documents should be displayed the exact same way on any device and should be printable on any printer. It’s like the gold standard of documents. If you’re not using PDFs to display your work, be it a presentation, your resume, or your latest logo, first of all -  you’re absolutely in the right place. Secondly, you’ve been missing out! 

So let’s go back to the basics and dive deep into the PDF topic. As we advance, we’ll also look into how you can import a PDF into Vectornator for further editing.


What is a PDF

PDF stands for Portable Document Format, which is a file format that promises documents will be displayed the same way, on every device. 

The magic behind it is the fact that each page of the PDF is basically a digital container that stores all the assets in your document, like fonts, images, links, gifs, and even videos.

If you think about it, PDFs have pushed us further and further away from the mountains of paper being produced by offices around the world. And we’re really grateful for that! But it also has helped our work as designers and changed how we deliver our projects.

Source: Labnol

Print & Web

Because it is a near-universal standard, PDF files are almost always the file format requested by printers to send a final design into production. 

You can set up your PDF to give the printing company all the information they need to print your project exactly as you intend it.

Same goes for online - PDFs are the most common file format on the web. It makes up for around 80% of the total (followed by docx, xls and others).

Source: UXdesign

Why use PDF in design

As hinted before, there are many reasons to use PDFs in your design process.


Fonts, colors, and all design cues remain intact

First of all, we have an accurate representation of the information in your design. 

Imagine designing a layout for hours and hours and then sending it to your client, who sees something completely different than what you spent all that time on. Or even worse, they can’t even open the file. When you use PDF, the formatting options you set will be perfectly preserved.

Color is reproduced with fidelity (especially important for printing) and fonts stay the same. Custom typefaces can be a designer’s secret weapon for setting their designs apart. A PDF file actually embeds the font in the file, so even if the client doesn’t own that super fancy font you like to design with, they can still see it accurately.

Problem solved. World saved. A prime reason why PDFs are the designer’s format of choice for showcasing work.

Source: UXDesign

Easily accessible

You can open your PDF file anywhere, on any device, with any web browser, no matter if it’s a desktop, tablet, laptop, or smartphone. 

It saves everyone the headache. As easy it is to access it, it’s equally as easy to share. Speaking of which ….

Multi-dimensional but also compact

The best thing about PDFs is how you can compress basically unlimited information, in various formats like images, videos, graphics, animations, 3D models, and so on, into a file size that is easy to share or receive without compromising on quality. 

So they store lots and lots of information for not much space.


How to import a PDF into your design tool

So you have a PDF you’d like to read or amend. You can do this in multiple ways.

Double click the PDF or right-click the file and choose ‘Open with,’ then select your tool of choice. The go-to app here is Adobe Reader, but unless you have a paid license you cannot edit it.

If, however, you’d like to do that - choose Vectornator in the ‘Open With’ menu. Or you can simply drag and drop the PDF file into your canvas. The best part when importing PDFs into Vectornator is that some features remain editable, like images for example, and you can even extract vectors from the PDF file by simply isolating the graphic and exporting it, or adding it to a new canvas. 

And did you know that you can use Vectornator to sign PDF files directly on your iPad or iPhone? This obviously works on MacOS as well, but the convenience of being able to edit and sign PDFs (even with your saved signature in your personal template library) directly on your hand-held device will save you lots of time!

You can import PDFs directly from your device, edit them, and save them again as PDFs all without having to use a desktop device.

If you’d like to know more about [working with vector graphics / personal templates], check our Learning Hub article dedicated to the topic.

Download the PDF version here.
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