PDF In-Depth

Acrobat 7.0 - Our First Look

Paper to PDF



Acrobat 7.0 simplifies the process of converting paper into searchable PDFs, making it a one-step process. As part of this process, you can add tags for improved accessibility for impaired users.

There's also a new range of compressing, cleaning and filtering tools that can be used during the process to improve the quality of the output. You can deskew (rotate the scan so it's totally vertical) and filter the scan using tools like background, edge shadow removal, despeckle, descreen and halo removal.

Object-level info

Acrobat 7.0 and Reader 7.0 now support the ability to view object-level custom properties. This extends what is possible so that individual objects in Visio drawings or diagrams can retain their particular properties. By contrast, past versions limited this to document level properties such as, title, author, custom info fields, etc.

For example, an engineer or architect might like to assign an object (such as a chair, router, pipe, etc.) a name, part number and other custom properties. Previously, their complex diagrams or drawings retained their layers but lost this object-level info once converted to PDF. The only way to view these properties was by using Visio or the free Visio Viewer.

The advantage now is that an Acrobat Professional user can exchange lightweight PDF versions of the documents, but still ensure that all users have full access to all layer and PDF object information contained in the source document. In addition, he can enable the PDF for commenting functionality in the free Reader so that anyone viewing the PDF can review and markup the document.

Attachments & Acrobat as a Secure Container

Acrobat 7.0 extends the PDF as a container concept with more features for dealing with attachments. You can add attachments at the page level using the comment tool, or you can add them at the document level. The page level attachments are displayed on the page on which they're added and in the Attachment palette, whereas document-level attachments are only displayed in the Attachments palette. It's now possible to see at a glance when a document contains any attachments, as a paperclip is displayed in the status bar in bottom-left corner of Acrobat.

The new Attachment palette quickly enables users to make sense of what files are attached, where they are located in the PDF and can let the user search through the attachments as well as the PDF being viewed. You can also work from within the Attachments palette to add, edit, open and delete attachments.

Using the new security policy tools, you can encrypt only the file attachments, allowing you to send what Adobe calls an eEnvelope.

Much like a normal envelope, people can see the outside -- the PDF containing the attachments would be visible -- but not what's inside (the attachments). While a normal user can open the PDF and see that it contains attachments, only authorized persons can access your files. Using the security policy tools makes the process simple as you can encrypt all the attachments at once.

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