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This week in PDF: PDF Office Suite and details on Acrobat 9 released

April 17, 2008

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This week in PDF has seen the release of "The world's first PDF Office Suite", the emergence of some early hints about Acrobat 9 and the launch of a new PDF DRM solution.

First up, Corel Corporation has released the latest version of its popular Microsoft Office alternative. Available for immediate download, Corel WordPerfect Office X4 becomes "The world's first PDF Office Suite", adding a range PDF capabilities to the Office-like functionality of earlier versions. WordPerfect Office X4 allows users to import, edit and export PDF documents (including scanned PDFs), simplifying workflows and reducing the need for additional third-party PDF software.

"With WordPerfect Office X4, we wanted to deliver an office suite that enables users to more effectively communicate their ideas and achieve their best results," said Jason Larock, Director of Product Management for WordPerfect Office. "WordPerfect Office X4 builds upon the unique strengths of WordPerfect, adding more PDF capabilities, more Microsoft Office compatibility and new tools for collaboration, digital note taking and business intelligence. We believe that our latest release provides users with an office suite that responds to their real-world needs and gives them the power to do more with words, numbers, and ideas."

To find out more about the new version, check out the official WordPerfect web site.

In other major update news, Darryl K. Taft reported on eWeek.com that Adobe is expected to deliver Acrobat 9 around the middle of this year. The new version of Adobe's flagship PDF creation, viewing and editing platform looks set to combine features currently delivered by other Adobe products. According to Taft's sources, Acrobat Standard for Mac systems will be discontinued, although it will still be offered for Windows users. It looks as though functionality from the premium Acrobat 3D product will be rolled into Acrobat Professional for version 9. Acrobat 9 Standard will also be beefed up, as it will include the ability to create PDF forms that can be filled by users of the free Adobe Reader product. This last functionality was formerly limited to Professional editions of the product. Finally, Taft's sources claim that form routing and real-time document collaboration, formerly the provinces of third-party solutions providers and Adobe Connect, respectively, will be rolled into Acrobat 9.

If implemented, these features would make Acrobat 9 a significant upgrade, something many have claimed was not true of Acrobat 8. Time will tell, but in the interim, check out Taft's article for more detail.

Last but not least, GigaTrust announced that it will offer a new PDF enterprise rights management product. GigaTrust Adobe Protector converts PDF files to RMS format when the user downloads them, and converts them back to non-encrypted file formats when the user uploads them using Windows SharePoint Services. The product will form part of the Intelligent Rights Management family designed to extend the Microsoft RMS platform from June, 2008. More details can be found on the GigaTrust web site.

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