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Apple Insider's "sneak peek" at Acrobat 9

May 29, 2008

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AppleInsider's Ron Freedom has published his first impressions of Acrobat 9 for Mac, whose launch is expected later this year. So what new functionality can we expect from the next version of Acrobat? "Surprisingly little," according to Freedom.

He claims that many features touted by Adobe as "new" are in fact relabeled features already contained in existing versions of the software. In his words:

Adobe has renamed some features that have been around for quite some time, added a few enhancements to existing features, and baked in other features previously available from third party developers. Overall, my initial impressions are that Acrobat 9 falls far short of groundbreaking.

Among the updates introduced in Acrobat 9 are, according to Freedom, largely cosmetic changes to "PDF Packages" -- now called "PDF portfolios" -- "Compare PDF documents" and "Search across multiple PDFs." Features currently available from third parties that have been "baked in" to Acrobat 9 include interaction with PDF maps, redaction, and the online collection of form data.

Freedom notes some solid upgrades to existing functionality, such as the new optical character recognition (OCR) engine that makes scanned PDF documents electronically searchable, improved online document collaboration using Adobe servers, forms-tracking and the addition of native 3D functionality, the last having been inherited from Adobe's existing premium offering, Adobe Acrobat 3D.

While Freedom doesn't exhort existing Acrobat 8 users to rush out and buy what he characterizes as "Acrobat 8.5," he still recommends owning some version of the software. Specifically, he recommends waiting until the official announcement of Acrobat 9 before purchasing version 8 to take advantage of the expected free upgrade.

To check out Freedom's full article complete with screenshots, visit AppleInsider.com.

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