Pdf Vs. Png | Which File Is Best For Your Needs?

Navigating the labyrinth of file formats for your project? Stuck between the reliability of PDFs and the allure of PNGs? Fret not, as this blog post is your compass through the maze of image formats, offering clarity on the intricate dance between PDFs and PNGs. Delve into the nuances that set these formats apart, unravelling their distinctive merits and pitfalls. 

PNG is also a top choice if images will be edited and saved multiple times. PDF images are ideal for printing, especially for graphic design, posters, and flyers. PDF images are also an ideal choice for storing images online when you intend to download them. Image quality, file size, and the essence of each format will be demystified, empowering you to make a choice that aligns seamlessly with your unique project needs.

What is PDF?

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format developed by Adobe in the early 1990s that allows users to view documents with text, images, and vector graphics in an easily readable manner. As an open file standard, PDFs are widely used for creating digital books, reports, presentations, and forms, among many other uses, and is the go-to format for any kind of online document sharing.

In addition, PNG has inbuilt transparency and can display higher color depths. This results in millions of colors.

Best used for:

  • Web graphics
  • Images with transparent backgrounds
  • Digital photos


  • Larger file size – PNGs slightly reduce the size of images, keeping all their data, thus resulting in high-quality images after compression. This makes them perfect for use on the web.
  • High-quality images after compression – The PNG format uses an LZW compression which results in lossless quality. Hence, the image can be opened, edited, and saved over and over again without losing its quality.

Special features:

What makes PNGs one of the favored image formats is that they have built-in transparency which allows you to “remove” the image background by making it transparent.

What are the benefits of using a PDF?

What are the benefits of using a PDF?

PDF is the go-to file format for several reasons. Explore the ideal file format for your needs with PDF vs. PNG, considering their versatility in holding text, raster, and vector images. Plus, find out how long photographers take to edit photos, allowing them to be scaled more easily, it also supports multiple pages, sports high compatibility among all devices and browsers, and can be easily edited for additions like signatures and dates. With access to both lossy and lossless compression, PDFs can also have flexibility in their size. Finally, PDF files can be encrypted, requiring a digital key to open and edit, granting them a level of security and resistance from tampering that most other file formats would not have.

What is PNG?

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is an image format that relies on a lossless compression algorithm to reduce file format size without sacrificing image quality. As a file standard developed in the mid-1990s, its versatility, small size, and high quality makes it widely-used for web-based graphics.

Best used for:

  • Sharing
  • Storing images, including screenshots
  • Storing text documents containing images or photos.
  • Direct output of scanned images and content creation apps
  • Creating a digital version of printed files
  • Downloading files (images and documents)
  • Link embedding
  • Files you want to protect
  • Legal documents
  • Signing documents
  • Making files accessible from all browsers


  • Small file size – When you save a file with graphics as a PDF, it takes much less space than saving it in its original format. It’s because PDF is made to “naturally compress” files without actually compressing them. Still, all files keep their original content (images, graphs, multimedia) and at the same quality. And if your PDF is large in size, and makes it difficult to share, try our powerful PDF compressor that offers four different compression levels.
  • High quality – Images saved as PDF are customizable and allow you to export and optimize them for editing, sharing, and printing. And, the prints will be identical to their digital versions.
  • Simple compression with high-quality – PDFs unlike most other formats used for images can be additionally compressed without losing any data or details of the image. There are many online tools (most of which are free) to compress your PDF without a hassle. And, best of all, the compressed file will have great quality.
  • Reliable – Images saved in PDF are identical to their originals, which means that you can share them without worrying they will be altered in any way.

Special features:

PDFs are known as the most secure file format because some tools associated with the format allow you to protect your files from unauthorized access, editing, and copying. You can do that by simply adding a password to the PDF or a watermark. Also, you can restrict access to specific groups of users.

When to use PDF?

  • When you want to print images since many printers prefer PDF as a primary delivery format.
  • When you want to display visual files on the web, such as flyers, posters, booklets, and magazines. Having it saved as PDF, your materials will be all in the same package, which makes them easy to view, download, and print.

When not to use PDF?

For editing images – Although PDFs are perfect for storing all sorts of images, they aren’t suitable for editing them. Instead, you should use other apps, such as Photoshop, for that.

When should I use PDF and when should I use PNG?

Regarding PDFs versus PNGs, the answer will depend on your project’s requirements. A PDF is the better option if you need text and images in a document, or if you need multiple pages, such as sharing multiple standalone images in a single file. Posters or flyers are also better in PDF due to easier scalability.

However, PNG would be more suitable when you need high quality images with high compatibility or transparency. If you are creating a website or digital presentation that requires images or graphics, then using PNGs is the better choice.

JPG vs PNG vs PDF: Comparison

JPG vs PNG vs PDF: Comparison

Now that we’ve looked at each file format separately, it’s time to compare them. To provide you with a clear idea of the features they share and differ in, we’ve created a table containing the formats on one hand and the features on the other. So, let’s check it out.

Small file size
High quality
For web
For printing
Raster image
Vector image

How to Choose the Right Image Format?

Ok, so we’ve looked at each image file format and compared them in the table above. Now, you know which format is best used for what kind of image and in which scenario. While this can serve you as a guide, it’s still up to you to make the final decision.

So, which image format is the right one?

Not sure???

Here are tips on how to choose the right image format!

  • Consider your needs / the needs of your company – What do you want to use those images for? Are you going to upload them online on your website/blog/social media, use them as graphics, or print them out? Whatever you need them for, first, consider it. Depending on your answer to these questions, you’ll be able to identify which format(s) is suitable for that use.
  • Consider the type of image – Is the image raster or a vector? Is it a photo, a graphics, or a screenshot? These things affect your decision greatly as not all image formats are good for all types of images.
  • Consider the image quality you need – What’s the resolution of the original image? What resolution do you need it to be? Are you ok if the image loses its quality or does it have to maintain the same? Ask yourself these questions to help you determine the format that’s most suitable for your image(s).

Choosing the right format is important for a successful job. It plays a great role in managing and storing images. In order to make sure you choose the most suitable image file format for your images, take a good look at each of these three formats, their features, uses, and compare them. Then, ask yourself the questions proposed in the section above and choose the format that ticks most boxes for the type of image, its features, and your needs.


Is It Better To Save As Png Or Pdf?

It depends on your needs. Choose PDF for multi-page documents or flyers, while PNG is ideal for single images requiring transparency, compatibility, or archiving.

Is Png Or Pdf Better For Printing A Poster?

PDF is generally better for printing posters, ensuring high quality and compatibility, while PNG may be suitable for specific design elements or single images within the poster.

Which Is Bigger, Png Or Pdf?

PDF files tend to be larger due to their capacity for multi-page content, while PNGs are generally smaller, making them efficient for individual images or graphics.

Is Jpeg Or Pdf Better Quality?

PDF is typically better for preserving document quality and formatting, especially in printing scenarios, while JPEG is more suitable for web-based images with smaller file sizes.

Which Is Higher Quality, Png Or Jpg Or Pdf?

PNG offers higher quality for images with transparency, while PDF excels in maintaining quality for documents and multi-page content. JPG is more compressed, sacrificing some quality for smaller file sizes in web applications.


In conclusion, navigating the realm of image formats involves a thoughtful consideration of project requirements and desired outcomes. PDFs, with their versatility in accommodating text and images, prove invaluable for printing and multi-page documents, offering security features and compatibility. 

On the other hand, PNGs, renowned for transparency and high color depths, shine in web graphics and scenarios demanding uncompromised image quality. The JPG vs PNG vs PDF comparison underscores the unique strengths of each format. To make the right choice, assess your specific needs, image types, and desired quality. With these considerations, you’ll wield the power to seamlessly align your chosen format with the demands of your creative endeavor.

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