Difference Between PDF and HTML

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language .PDF is a document format while HTML is a computer language . They are the two most widely used format of presenting a document be it text or picture, and there are certain differences between the two.


The main difference between PDF and HTML is that PDF is great for print purposes but HTML is only convenient for reading as softcopies and not as hard copies. PDF is a document format and HTML is a computer language. HTML does not require any additional software to be viewed but PDF requires a PDF viewer for the file to be opened.


The full form of PDF is Portable Document Format. The extension of a PDF document is .pdf and it was initially released around 28 years ago, in 1993. PDF can display a variety of format files like simple text, images, encrypted signatures, Vector graphics, rustic graphics, or even weblink.

The full form of HTML is HyperText Markup Language. As it can be derived from the full form itself, HTML is a computer language that is designed to display web documents. The extension of HTML is .html or .htm. HTML was the first release almost 28 years ago, in the year 1993.

Comparison Table Between PDF and HTML

Parameters of Comparison PDF HTML
Editing PDF files are non-editable. HTML is editable.

Category PDF is a format of the file and is great for printing files out as original photocopy. HTML is a computer language great for on-screen viewing of a document.
Additional Software PDF requires a PDF viewer to be viewed. HTML does not need any additional software to be opened.
Labor PDF is much more simple and easier to share. HTML is very labor-consuming to be made.
Utility PDF is used for sharing all kinds of files in a single file. HTML is mainly used for uploading web documents.

What is a PDF?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is a document format containing various elements all at once. The pdf is a non-editable file, which is easy to share. For viewing pdf, one needs to have a pdf viewer. The most widely used pdf reader is the Adobe Reader. PDF was a proprietary format controlled by Adobe until the right was handed over to an ISO Committee.

PDFs may contain various types of files. The files to be mentioned can be, vector graphics, text, and bitmap graphics ,vector graphics for illustrations, raster graphics for a photograph. The text in the pdf is generally stored as content streams which means the text is not encoded just as plain text.

It can be said that the PDF is a much-simplified version of the PostScript language. PostScript is a page description language run in an interpreter to generate an image, a process requiring many resources. It can handle graphics and standard features of programming languages such as if statements and loop commands.

Nowadays PDF is the most used file format for sharing information. For academic purposes, PDFs was taken the place of books for students, especially in online studies. They are also a very cheap alternative to sharing lots of information in convenience.

What is a HTML?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language which is a computer language designed for web purposes. It is great for on-screen viewing but may not be as helpful in printing the whole document accurately. HTML is a labor-efficient language. HTML defines the structure of a web page and its meanings and looks after the appearance of the document.

There are certain building blocks of HTML. Any error in these building blocks will not format the document in the desired way. Every HTML starts with <HTML> and closes with </HTML>. Every tag in the HTML has to be closed with a bracket and the same tag.HTML allows one to insert images with <IMG> tag, paragraph with <P> tag, and like this procedure, list, links, quotes, heading everything can be created in HTML with their respective tags.

For viewing HTML, one does not need any other application because HTML is a computer language itself. HTML documents make it hard to deliver hard copies. With good HTML, the user can choose a font size and a window width so the text is easy to read, and the paragraphs are laid out to match the user’s preference.

Main Differences Between PDF and HTML

  1.  PDFs display the document just like a copy of the final hardcopy of the document but HTML displays the document in a formatted manner.
  2. PDFs always require a PDF reader for opening the PDF file. The most widely used PDF reader is Adobe Reader. HTML does not need any software to be opened in the computer system
  3. . PDF’s printout comes out exactly like it is viewed on screen.HTML is only beneficial for viewing as a soft copy. If an HTML file is printed, it will not be exactly like the original document that is viewed on screen.
  4.  PDF, is not at all labor-intensive.HTML is labor intense file format as it needs proper coding with tags. Any minor error in the HTML file will show an error in the file.
  5.  PDf is not for the web browser. HTML works great for the web. INfact HTML is generally used for uploading web documents in a browse4r from a server.
  6.  PDFs are mostly read-only files when shared whereas HTML is editable.


PDF and HTML have major differences between them, one being a computer language and the other being a document format. Both of them are equally important. and both of them serve different purposes. However, PDF is coming much handier as they can display much more detailed document, the printout of the PDF’s come out as an exact copy of the document on screen.

 PDFs are easy to download and organize according to one’s needs. One can create a PDF of certain files on the same topic so that the files and the information becomes easy to access. PDF’s come with a consistent layout and page orientation, while HTML comes in customizable style and has links embedded in the file.


  1. https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/3237835/PDFViewer_Report.pdf?response-content-disposition=inline%3B+filename%3DPDF_to_HTML_Converter.pdf&Expires=1630789250&Signature=Anm6uMHF8CavNmFID5HrkEka1fRQrfIq-424qeiRlOa5~H-8qBTA03fwox75NWPQ9EV73PsZKXSMVrpJu2z6ZknlcYKZglQCLH8srLr9bZpo-VCJnKHiD4373Z33grcn7g5RaSa9LVBSz3-QtC314EbMzjGREhzzlWAGyLKtLr9NfXYNo~acOzGDbKZfFYFFsjkWVjqQFOSLiYIWyrjNy0H08ErN13pNOBPGQ4Q7p3NtftUE~KzXEnoLB7BVtN5Q3GZyZd~ZJZVWXagBP5U4RQfTPdFdZC-2wvwTY-4XGM1M-kIxx106D1dfTRSAT32kLfaegppR-EnXH~3yR3w-DQ__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJLOHF5GGSLRBV4ZA
  2. https://www.lexjansen.com/mwsug/2014/SS/MWSUG-2014-SS03.pdf
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