Since Adobe created the PDF file format in 1993, much has changed. Adobe itself has grown into a multinational company with a brand-name recognition that rivals that of giants such as Cisco and Intel. Its PDF software lines have similarly grown in complexity and scale. Adobe now specializes in muscular PDF software with high-powered features — at the expense of price and ease-of-use.

With the frontier days of PDF solutions at a close, however, the technology has become an increasingly integral part of everyday office work. Consumers now expect PDF software to be affordable and intuitive. Several PDF solution providers have entered the market to meet this demand. Solutions – like PDFelement – contain all the core features of Adobe Acrobat to create, edit, convert and combine PDFs, but at an affordable price point.

On top of affordability, here are three other trends that will drive the adoption of lightweight PDF solutions beyond 2017:


The costs of badly designed software are hard to quantify, but they are undeniable; wrestling with clunky interfaces or elaborate feature menus wastes time, increases errors, and slows productivity. It imposes a tax on user time and mental bandwidth. The average employee only operates with around 70% competence with respect to their company’s technical software. Conversely, with lightweight PDF solutions, this competence can easily be improved. The streamlined interfaces designed after familiar software such as Microsoft Word makes learning and using the new software a breeze.

Bad design also hurts paperless reform. Employees discouraged from using digital alternatives will continue to print to read and sign. In 2017, the average American office worker uses 10 000 sheets of paper every year. This is a huge drain on monetary and physical resources. Companies that are honestly committed to paperless reform will want to equip employees with the most efficient tools to ensure workers won’t relapse into printing for basic tasks.


Workforces are becoming increasingly mobile and time-stressed, as clients come to expect real-time service. Mobile phone adoption was over 80% in 2016, and has only continued to rise. These devices ensure that their users are able to access emails, new tweets, and other information hot off the press. As a result, employees are required to meet this demand through the capabilities of their office tools. This includes tools to edit, fill, sign and send electronic documents across a variety of OS and devices so that clients may receive files as soon as they are completed.

Part of effectively exploiting one’s content in the cloud and on mobile devices involves implementing versatile, cross-platform document tools that work anywhere. The compactness and flexibility of lightweight PDF software like PDFelement gives companies a special advantage here: PDFelement is the only other solution next to Adobe to have versions available for all three major platforms — Windows PC, Apple Mac and iOS.

Simplified File Storage and Document Workflows

The rush to office digitization, rather than simplifying as promised, has introduced its own complexities. According to 2013 Cottrill surveys, employees spend 30% of the work day searching for information. This includes research as well as files in archives. This inefficiency is largely due to fragmented document workflows and labyrinthine file architectures.

Businesses need document tools that will reintroduce simplicity. Businesses need tools that result in opening fewer tabs and windows, clicking fewer buttons, and taking less steps until the creation of a final product. Lightweight PDF software achieves this by simply equipping employees with conversion tools to assemble numerous file types into a single PDF for convenient presentation or storage. This improves productivity and efficiency, thus reducing errors associated with duplicative work.

Software fit to the needs of your average knowledge worker

The reality is that many companies require document solutions software, but face obstacles from overly expensive and complex programs. Lightweight PDF software meet the demands for more intuitive and mobile document solutions that simplify workflows and file storage. As we shift from 2017 to 2018, these technologies have the potential to expand access to robust PDF tools to a far greater number of consumers, further normalizing the technology as a part of everyday office work and facilitating paperless reform.

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Posted by Faisal Khan

Faisal connects market and document trends with PDF technology. ​ His focus is on growing our global market reach and impact so that we can make a meaningful difference for our business clients. Outside of work, he enjoys volunteering, wildlife photography, hiking, playing games, and travel.

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