Difference Between PDF and EPUB

PDF (Portable Document Format) and EPUB (Electronic Publication) are two common digital document formats. While both formats allow for the creation and distribution of electronic documents, their intended use, features, and capabilities differ significantly.

Read this article to find out more about PDF and EPUB Score and how they are different from each other.

What is PDF?

Adobe Systems created the PDF (Portable Document Format) digital document format in the 1990s. It is a file format that preserves a document's layout, formatting, and fonts across different systems and platforms, making it an ideal format for document sharing and printing.

PDF documents have various advantages over different types of digital documents. They provide precise formatting and consistent style, making sure a document looks the same no matter the device or operating system used to view it. This makes them perfect for printing papers that require accuracy and consistency, such as contracts and legal documents.

PDF documents can also include interactive elements such as hyperlinks, bookmarks, and forms, which can enhance the user experience and make it easier to navigate throughout the content of the document. PDFs can also be password- protected to prevent unauthorized access or changes.

PDF documents, however, have several limitations. They are not suitable for papers that need to be changed or modified regularly, as altering a PDF document without the use of specialised software can be difficult. They are also larger in size than other document formats, making them slower to load and more difficult to share over slow internet connections.

What is EPUB?

EPUB (Electronic Publication) is a digital document format that was created specifically for ebooks and can be read on a number of devices, such as e-readers, tablets, and smartphones. The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) developed it as an open standard format that is widely supported by ebook readers and software.

EPUB files are created using HTML, CSS, and XML, allowing for more flexible formatting and text reflow. Reflowable text adapts to different screen sizes and orientations, making EPUB publications easy to read on a variety of devices without the need for frequent zooming or scrolling.

EPUB's ability to handle a variety of interactive features such as embedded audio and video, interactive quizzes, and links to external resources is one of its primary advantages. EPUB is therefore suitable for educational and multimedia-rich publications like textbooks, magazines, and comic books.

EPUB publications can also be optimized for accessibility by including features such as text-to-speech and customizable font sizes, making them more accessible to those with visual or reading disabilities. EPUB files can also be encrypted to protect copyright and prevent unauthorized sharing.

Adobe InDesign, Calibre, and Sigil are among the software programs that can be used to create EPUB documents. They can be viewed on a variety of devices by using dedicated ebook reader software, such as Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Google Play Books, or by using an EPUB viewer in a web browser.

Difference between PDF and EPUB

The following table highlights the major differences between PDF and EPUB −





Documents that need to be shared and printed

Ebooks that are intended for digital reading


Precise formatting and consistent layout

Reflowable text that adapts to different screen sizes and orientations


It can be created from various sources, which include Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign, or scanned documents.

It can be created using HTML, CSS, and XML, often with specialised software such as Adobe InDesign, Calibre, or Sigil.


PDF is widely supported across different devices and operating systems.

EPUB requires dedicated ebook reader software or an EPUB viewer on a web browser.


It can be secured with passwords or encryption.

It can be encrypted to protect copyright and restrict unauthorized sharing.


Limited accessibility

EPUB can be optimized for accessibility with features like text-to-speech and adjustable font sizes.

File Type










Adobe Acrobat Reader and various PDF editors

Ebook readers and software, various ebook creation tools


In conclusion, PDF is best suited for documents that need to be shared and printed, whereas EPUB is best suited for ebooks that are intended for digital reading on a variety of devices. While PDF provides precise formatting and a consistent layout, EPUB provides reflowable text and greater interactivity.

Updated on: 15-May-2023


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