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PDF, JPG or WEBP - Learn The Differences

The dominance of the PDF format in terms of e-magazines and other similar publications has slowly but surely lost its relevance in certain contexts, which is why there is no direct reason to use this format unless you need to utilize the capabilities to embed movies or other interactive elements. If the only uses are reading or displaying graphics, then the PDF format becomes more of a hindrance since PDF files almost always take longer to load and the files also become larger. How can this be? Let us explain:

The PDF format, which was created to ensure that documents could be viewed and printed regardless of hardware, operating system, and software, has long been the ideal format for sharing documents that need to look the same across all platforms. This included embedding both pixel-based graphics and vector graphics to ensure that documents looked the same in terms of layout on screens, prints, and in printed materials. However, the problem of the limitations of screen resolutions at the time and the inadequate resolution of pixel graphics persisted. This problem was never solved by the PDF format for obvious reasons and has to this day never really been an argument for using PDF because pixel graphics do not become more readable just because they are embedded in a PDF. Significant zooming of pixel graphics has always been equally problematic regardless of the file format. Over time, however, screen technology has advanced, and high-resolution screens now make it possible to display pixel graphics without visible pixelation even at deep zooming if the resolution is good enough. In addition, internet and computer capacity have significantly improved, which reduces the problem with long loading times for high-resolution images.

Despite this, the PDF format continues to play an important role in many contexts, especially where it is important to preserve the exact layout and appearance of documents across different platforms and devices. It is still the standard choice for many types of official documents, e-books, e-magazines, and other publications that require uniformity in presentation.

Meanwhile, the JPG format has retained its relevance for image storage and sharing, thanks to its flexibility in balancing image quality against file size. It is still a popular choice for digital images, especially for those to be published online or sent via email.

The WebP format, developed by Google, however, offers efficient compression that enables faster loading of images on the web without the quality loss associated with older image formats like JPG. Its ability to offer higher image quality at lower file sizes, as well as support for transparency and animation, makes WebP an attractive option for web developers and designers. Its rapid acceptance and increased use suggest that WebP is likely to dominate the image format for web use in the future, even though JPG will still have a place for certain applications. The downside of WebP is that the format has not yet become a natural part of various operating systems' ability to save images directly as WebP. We will therefore have to rely on the software available for the purpose, such as Photoshop and other graphic tools, for a while.

In summary, in certain contexts, there are still arguments for the use of PDF viewing in various e-publications, but it is important to think through what needs you have before making a decision about what is best for oneself. Our product is adapted for reading and viewing as well as extremely fast publishing, which we know are the most common needs.

(HTML5 is the format that competes with PDF as an increasingly relevant alternative to PDF, but that's another story.)