Adobe Acrobat 10 review

Posted by Kathleen Maher on February 7th 2011 | Discuss
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Tags: adobe publishing acrobat

With the introduction of Acrobat 10, Adobe has fine tuned its positioning of Acrobat to emphasize collaboration and communication in a company's business operations. The company has also added considerable functionality to aid process and management.

Focus is a good thing. The Adobe Acrobat team will concentrate on what it does best—optimizing document work flows for knowledge workers. This latest version expands on the ability of Acrobat Pro to package data into interactive portfolios. Portfolios let users combine documents in their native formats or in PDF with a choice of simple and attractive interfaces. Acrobat has added new designs and templates, but users and developers can also create custom interfaces and use their own art work and backgrounds. Users can add Flash content and, thanks to new functionality from Adobe's integration of the Captivate technology, they can link to web content and create instructional content.

The newest features cluster around collaboration. For instance, Acrobat has enhanced its form creation tools allowing users to create forms from PDFs. In Acrobat X, documents can be more easily distributed, you can request signatures, and monitor who has opened the document, filled out forms, etc. In addition, the data in forms can be collected and analyzed.

Adobe has improved the Portfolio feature in Acrobat. It’s easier to use, supports audio, Flash, and web content, and there are new designs and templates. (Source: Jon Peddie Research)

Acrobat has added new action tools to take interactivity further and enable users to add step by step processes or instructions via the Action Wizard. So, for instance, users can create documents that include information for team members, with sign-off instructions and information about who has done what with the documents. New security features support permanent removal of information or redaction and has tools to help people be sure they've found information in bookmarks, annotations, metadata and other places they might have otherwise missed. This too might be something people would want to automate with an action—for instance, tell users to read this section and redact it.

Adobe has also been extending the use of the web so that users can collaborate online and use the web to send documents, especially large documents. It has added a SendNow feature that lets users send files that are up to 100 MB for free and up to 2 GB with a subscription to Acrobat.com.

There is a lot more. Acrobat X is a major release, but sometimes it is the simplest things that make a difference. Acrobat has been a very powerful product for users willing to explore all of its capabilities. One of the best things that Adobe has done with this latest version is to put its capabilities up front where people can easily find them. The toolbar has a Create tab on the right side, and on the left side there are three tabs: Tools, Comment, Share. Poking around in these three tabs will help users unfamiliar with the power of Acrobat discover the most commonly used features and put Acrobat to better use. For example, I really liked the ability to create Portfolios which came in Acrobat 9, but I wouldn't always think of using it. It's much more obvious now.

Adobe suggests Acrobat be run on a system with at least a 1.32 GHz processor Windows, XP Home or better, 512 of RAM (1 GB is recommended), and 1024x256 res. As it turns out, I'm writing this using a Netbook with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor and 1 GB of RAM. It works, but it's not exactly snappy. In particular, it takes a while to create or edit Portfolios.

Continuing the drive toward Suites, Adobe will now offer a suite package for Acrobat that includes Acrobat X Pro, Adobe Presenter 7, Captivate 5, Photoshop CS5, Media Encoder, and LiveCycle Design. The suite will sell for $1,199.

Acrobat X Pro is $499, Acrobat Standard is $299 and all products are scheduled to ship midto late November. Acrobat X will be available in three packages (all prices based on estimates released by Adobe): Acrobat X Standard ($299), Acrobat X Pro ($499), and Acrobat X Suite ($1,199). All Acrobat X products are scheduled to ship within 30 days.

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