PDF In-Depth

Acrobat 7.0 - Planet PDF's Take

Top Features and Changes

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Below we'll highlight some of the biggest and best to come out of the new Acrobat.

Commenting in Adobe Reader

The most significant new functionality for Acrobat. The great functionality aside for Reader users, this new feature should make Adobe Reader users think about buying a complete copy of Acrobat. In the long run, it could well mean that PDF becomes a de facto standard for document review/markup as well as exchange.

Performance/Usability

Very noticeable improvement (particularly for Windows users). We flagged slow load times and bloating as a potential issue at the Acrobat 6.0 launch, but there's been a very significant improvement for Windows users with the speed launcher program. The interface also continues to improve with better grouping of tools and more task-oriented functionality that guides the user away from distractions and towards completing their tasks.

Security made easy and powerful

Acrobat now features the ability to create, manage and apply security policies, and features a wizard that makes it easy to get it right. The policies can be re-used and are simple to apply. Users are stepped through the process of securing a PDF by passwords or certificate. Acrobat Professional users in organizations running Adobe Policy Server gain more advanced control, being able to revoke access to documents, make them time out, and so on.

Accessibility

New functionality will continue to make PDFs more usable more accessible. Giving users preparing PDFs for exchange a set of tools that is easy to use (the Reading Order tools) and then giving impaired users an improved interface (including the new Accessibility Setup Wizard) will continue to help bridge the gap from both directions.

Print production

Creative professionals will be happy with the new range of related tools and the fact that they're now grouped together on the Print Production toolbar. New to Acrobat 7.0 are Trap Presets, Convert Colors, Ink Manager, Add Printer Marks, and Fix Hairlines. The Crop Pages and Transparency Flattening have both been improved.

Forms

Let's just say that form designing has been improved by the incorporation of LiveCycle Form Designer 7.0 with Professional as well as Reader users being able to do much more with forms under the right circumstances. Stay tuned for Planet PDF's detailed coverage on Forms with Acrobat 7.0.

Developers

A good release for developers includes viewer control and .NET support for IAC and JavaScript via IAC. What may well be the most desired functionality by Acrobat developers is the Adobe Reader OCX, which enables developers to incorporate Adobe Reader quickly and easily into an application, programmatically controlling such things as the user interface, printing, navigation and more.

Issues and Considerations

Windows Activation

Windows users will no longer be able to copy software and serials as Acrobat 7.0 requires activation (not that we're saying you do it!). Activation tends to annoy some people, but it's hard to argue against it too vehemently if the activation process works smoothly.

Upgrading/Pricing

As with any Standard/Professional tiered versions, the Pro version always gets the majority of the coolest and most powerful new features. The pricing difference between Acrobat 6.0 Standard and Acrobat 7.0 Standard is modest

when the upgrade difference between Standard and Professional is only US$60, we have to recommend upgrading to the full version of Acrobat.

Adobe LiveCycle Designer

This is only available for Acrobat 7.0 Professional on the Windows platform.

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