Difference between PDF and PMF

Key difference: PDF (Portable Document Format) and PMF (most commonly used for ESRI published map files) are advanced file formats; which enables the users to view and read the electronic documents on the internet in offline or online mode. The PDF files are defined by Adobe Systems, while PMF files are created and defined by ArcGIS Publisher, which is an extension included with ArcMap. These file formats have distinctive characteristics from each-other.

The advanced information technology and systems have enabled the users to read any internet document from any mode, which may be either online or offline.

In 1991, Adobe Systems co-founder John Warnock outlined a system called "Camelot", which was further evolved into the PDF formats. PDF file formats are Portable Document Format, which are used to represent the documents. These documents are not concerned with the type of application software and the operating platforms; hence the name “portable”. A PDF file combines the complete description in a finite layout, which is of a flat document format. This document consists of the essential text, fonts, graphics, and other information which it needs to display. The Adobe PDF represents the 2-D viewing of the electronic documents.

Along with these file formats there are also other file formats which work similarly, but differ in their features and functions. One such format is the PMF file formats; which possess the read-only versions of map files, created with ArcMap for the ArcReader software.

The PMF (Process Management Files) often applicable for the ESRI published map files, created with the ArcMap map creation software. These file formats allows those users who have not paid for the ArcMap, to only read the maps that have been created with the ArcMap applications. Hence, as per the user needs the PMF file formats can only be read and not modified. In this file system, the data views while navigation printings, formatting into layout, panning and zooming or broadening the features of map files are sometimes synchronized into a limited format when the maps are saved in the PMF format.

If compared, then it states that the PDF file formats are more common in use as compared to that of the PMF file formats. But in the security aspects the PMF file formats are more secured than the PDF file formats as they have the capability of protecting the content and hence providing the appropriate confidentiality to the data. They both also resemble in functionality that is the non-licensed users can only read the respective format documents.

Comparison between PDF and PMF:




Developed by

Adobe Systems

ArcGIS Publisher, an extension included with ArcMap.

Broader terms

Portable Document Format

commonly used for ESRI published map files

Some characteristics

  • Reliable
  • Open standard
  • Trusted
  • Multiplatform
  • Rich in file integrity
  • Simple to sign
  • Searchable
  • Accessible
  • Broadly adopted
  • Secured
  • Network oriented
  • Confidentiality
  • View, navigate, and print
  • Deploy
  • Zoom, pan, and switch
  • Communicate more efficiently
  • Print published map and globe documents

File extensions

.pdf files

.pmf files


It is more known than PMF

It is not that known than PDF

Image Courtesy: against-the-grain.com, fileinfo.com

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