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.
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
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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Despite the numerous benefits, there can be potential issues with the conversion of paper documents into electronic archives. When scanning paper pages into PDF, it's possible to end up with the odd- and even-numbered pages in separate PDF files. It can be very time-consuming to collate them manually, but there is an easier way. Sean Stewart explains.