The Fun Side of Adobe's Acrobat 9 Pro

Adobe is renowned for its professional high-end software applications; Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro is no exception. Well, I should add, no exception except for one...Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, is fun. This serious application is still a workhorse when it comes to creating PDF files. The fun side comes from its user-friendly interface and array of interactive functions.

 


Three versions of Adobe's Acrobat 9

 

There are three versions of Adobe's newest software: Acrobat 9 Standard, Acrobat 9 Pro, and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended. Each version is worthy of praise; bringing PDF creation to an innovative and exciting level of performance. This review is based on Acrobat 9 Pro, which is the midrange version, and the perfect application for the majority of users.

New to Acrobat...interactive PDF files that include: audio, video, Adobe Flash, as well as convenient fact-gathering forms. Grabbing web content has never been easier. This is an exceptionally valuable function, especially for students writing term papers. With a few simple mouse clicks, a whole web page can be formatted into a PDF file. If you only need a portion of a page for a specific citation, just highlight that section, and add it to either a new or an existing PDF file.

 


Capturing a website and converting it into an interactive PDF document

 

Adding to Acrobat's versatility is the built-in OCR scanner application. In the past, scanning an OCR document was a test of patience. If the scanned document was slightly askew, the document appeared sloppy and amateurish. Now documents can be scanned with confidence using Acrobat's OCR built-in scanner application and "clear scan." The function also auto-aligns documents, which in turn, creates an extremely professional final output. The new OCR scanned PDF document is now also fully searchable.

If you have several documents that need to be converted into separate PDF files, it can be accomplished by bringing all the files into one folder and highlighting each of the files that you wish to convert, and as easy as one click, all the files are instantly converted.

However, why settle for a PDF from a single file, when creating interactive multi-files are equally easy...and fun. The capability to include multimedia within a PDF file is groundbreaking. Making it even more fun (yes, there is that "f" word again)... all the interactive files embedded within the PDF file are fully functional, even when viewing offline. With the new and improved Acrobat 9 Pro, PDF files can include Flash, video, and audio. The advanced interactive feature alone brings the PDF document into a new and exciting realm.

Different versions of the same PDF document can be compared side-by-side for changes from one document to another. This function alone would make Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro a must have for any student or writer...saving hours of searching for the revised copy and enabling the incorporation of one document into another.

 


Comparing an older version of a PDF document to a newer version.

 

For the professional or soon to be professional, the Portfolio function is a can't live without application. The best part, once an Adobe Acrobat 9 PDF Portfolio is created; it can then be viewed by anyone, using Adobe's free Acrobat 9 Reader. A Portfolio is an especially invaluable function for artists, writers, animators, and musicians. For example, if you are a writer or artist, you can add your personal bio, a presentation containing a slide show, or chapter samples and cover art (there are several interactive layout options to choose from), and a "Flash" story or artist "trailer," or even a personal video interview. Let your imagination go wild. The provided professional templates, allows the artist to customize his or her portfolio with ease. Creating the Portfolio is easy, and yes, fun...with a nearly flat-line learning curve.

 


Creating a Portfolio is easy and fun

 

Collaboration is the highlight of Adobe's Acrobat 9 Pro features, which also allows anyone who has Adobe's free Acrobat Reader to interact with the collaboration process. Students and/or artist groups can benefit from this additional function, especially for group projects...where, group data from comments and reviews can easily be gathered and compiled.

To assist users with the collaborative process, Adobe established the Acrobat.com community. The public meeting place is in its "Beta" infancy. Unlike Acrobat 9 Pro, the beta version of Acrobat.com has a few flaws, most of them relating to file email sharing. Even with minor problems, Acrobat.com still runs smoother than Google's "document sharing" application. Also, if you are in need of a word processor, Acrobat.com includes Adobe Buzzword. Although not as powerful as Microsoft Word, Buzzword is a word processor application that gets the job done.

 


Buzzword...Adobe's newest "free" word processor, available on Acrobat.com

 

Next to creating PFD files, my favorite Acrobat function is creating forms, and the improved forms function is yet another "how did I live without it" feature within Acrobat 9 Pro. The new form wizard far surpasses that of Acrobat 8 Pro and is easy to use. Acrobat, not only creates forms, but also tracks responses and gathers information. Interactive forms can easily be created from a scanned document, a computer generated word processor document, or a web page. Not only does Acrobat 9 Pro recognize the potential form fields, it also makes them functional for anyone using Acrobat 9 Reader to utilize. Once the form is filled-out and returned, the data can be exported into a spreadsheet for evaluation. My favorite form function is importing a "static" form into a PDF document and then turning it into an interactive form. In Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, the form function possibilities are endless.

The new security functions can also find (and if needed, remove) hidden file information, such as meta tags or sensitive information included within documents or image file data, such as the name and address of the creator of a document.

Along with the new and improved, Adobe has brought back Acrobat's familiar and easy to use workspace. I was especially glad to see that Acrobat's Read Out Loud function was still available. This function reads aloud the text within a PDF document (the Read Out Loud function is also available in Adobe Reader 9).

Who would benefit from the Adobe's newest version of Acrobat? Everyone who works with documentation would benefit from the new and immensely improved Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro: artists, authors, publishers, animators, students, teachers, webmasters...from professionals in large conglomerates to the mom and pop home-business owner...Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro is a must have utility for your software library.

Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard: $299 Full Version/ $99 Upgrade
Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro: $449 Full Version/ $159 Upgrade
Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended: $699 Full Version/ $229 Upgrade
* Student versions are also available at a reduced price for those who qualify

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August 25, 2008

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