Most manufacturers like General Electric and Whirlpool offer online PDF manuals that require a user to register with the website or provide a model number before initiating a download; some manufacturers like Ford allow anyone to download a product's PDF manual. PDF files help reduce paper consumption.
Manufacturers save money by providing customers with digital manuals instead of sending printed manuals in the mail. The nature of a downloadable PDF manual also reduces the time it takes to receive the manual from a few weeks to minutes. Viewing a PDF manual also helps potential customers explore a product's features and decide in advance whether buying the product is the correct choice.
Adobe created the Portable Document Format in response to demand for a digital-document exchange solution independent of any specific operating system. A PDF file is a complete description of its contents and includes layout, text and graphics. Adobe's PDF business model in the 1990s hindered the format's rate of acceptance; the decade's slow download speeds were also responsible. The PDF format gained greater acceptance once it became open-source in 2008.
Two PDF readers are Adobe Reader and Foxit Reader. Operating systems like Apple's OS X have built-in PDF readers. PDF-reading add-ons for Web browsers like Google's Chrome are also available for download.