WWF (file format)

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WWF File Logo.jpg
Filename extension .wwf

WWF is a modification of the open standard PDF format for document exchange endorsed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (also abbreviated WWF) Germany.[1] The WWF format is promoted as being more environmentally friendly than other comparable document exchange formats (e.g. PDF or DOC) since documents in this format are designed to be more difficult to print. The motivation behind the use of the format is to prevent unnecessary printing of documents. The website claims that the file format will be able to be read by most programs that can open ordinary PDF files.[2] At present, the software for creating WWF files is available for Mac OS X 10.4 and for Windows XP and later.[3] An Open Source equivalent is available for Linux and for Windows XP and later.[4]

Technical details[edit]

WWF files are simply PDF files with the security settings for printing set to "not allowed",[5] and the file extension ".wwf".

Thus, the inability to print the files comes from the DRM built into Adobe Reader, which looks at a flag in the PDF to see whether printing is allowed.[6] Other PDF readers, such as Ghostscript, may not honour the no-print flag, rendering WWF files printable.[5]


The initiative has been criticised[5][7][8] for restricting users rights, being ineffective (as non-Adobe readers such as Ghostscript can print documents in the format), for violating the BSD license,[9] for being incompatible with the goals of the free and open source software movement and for the software contacting the WWF without the user's consent.[10] It was criticised by WWF International director of corporate relations Maria Boulos for being "misleading" and having been launched as "a global product" despite being created by the WWF's German division without consultation with WWF International.[1]


  1. ^ a b "WWF Germany's 'saveaswwf' PDF anti-printing campaign exposes internal rifts". printweek.com. Archived from the original on 19 December 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "WWF FAQs". WWF. Archived from the original (FAQ) on 4 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "A New Green File Format: WWF". WWF. Archived from the original on 23 December 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  4. ^ ".wwf toolkit". Freshmeat. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "World Wildlife Fund WWF format cracked!". Hans Bezemer. 4 December 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Create Adobe PDF Online: Security Settings Help". Adobe Systems. Archived from the original on 23 December 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  7. ^ tracyanne. "Email sent by a member of the FOSS community to the WWF". Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  8. ^ April. "Letter sent by the April organization to the WWF" (PDF). Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  9. ^ "Sourceforge Skim forum". Christiaan Hofman. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Facebook entry". Save as WWF. 7 December 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 

External links[edit]