Adobe Acrobat: What's What and What's New?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Speakers: Steve Werner (with Joe Geraci of Adobe)
Forum organized by Jim Norrena and Karen Asbelle
Summary notes by Karen Asbelle

With Adobe releasing their latest Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, Steve Werner, an Adobe-certified expert, walked us through an onscreen presentation of Acrobat's general capabilities and some of its enhanced features that may be useful to us. He was joined by Joe Geraci, Acrobat Technical Evangelist at Adobe, who helped field various technical product questions that came up. Adobe Systems generously donated a full version of Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro as a drawing prize for those in attendance; the prize was awarded to winning BAEF member Rick Clogher.

Steve provided a detailed handout, including some of his discussion points that follow:

  • Acrobat is an Adobe Systems family of software that provides tools for creating, editing, and manipulating Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.
  • PDF files are compact, platform-independent, application- independent,and usually font-independent. PDF files can be used for many different purposes (one size does not fit all).
  • Acrobat 8 Professional/Acrobat 9 Pro is an application that enables you to do the following with PDF files:
    • View them
    • Perform certain kinds of editing to them
    • Add navigation to them
    • Add comments to them
    • Search them
    • Create security for them
    • Print them
  • The new Acrobat interface is cleaner and less cluttered, is task-based and easier to customize, and includes improved Help and a task-oriented Getting Started panel that helps you learn more about Acrobat as you go.
  • The program's default set of toolbars has changed. Separate toolbars appear at the top of each open document.
  • The names for Navigation Tabs have been replaced by icons.
  • CTRL + right-clicking on the toolbar or a tool provides options for toolbars or tools that are visible. Choosing More Tools lets you customize which tools are visible.
  • Flash runtime is now built into Acrobat 9 and Adobe Reader 9, so you can combine the richness of content created with Flash with the ubiquity, security, and reliability of PDF.
  • Imagine that you have a collection of files: PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, Flash movie, JPEG file, even an Adobe InDesign file. Also, imagine that you want to share these files with a client to tell a story. Instead of sending them as loose files, you can control how someone else views and interacts with them by creating a PDF portfolio in Acrobat 9 Pro, which gives you a way to easily create a compelling presentation that can be opened by your client with the free Adobe Reader 9. You can even create an optional Welcome screen that can include text, graphics, or Flash video to introduce the portfolio.
  • Acrobat has the capability to create live, fillable forms for many versions, with tools for adding different fields: text, combo box, radio buttons, etc. You can quickly create forms, distribute them, and get them back. The Form Editing mode makes it especially easy to create and edit forms. It's also easier to store returned form data: a new Forms Tracker lets you keep track of forms you've sent out, send reminders, add recipients, email all recipients, and set a final response date.
  • Acrobat 9 Pro supports two types of managed reviews: email-based (when reviewers do not share a common server) and shared (when reviewers do have access to a common server). Browser-based review, Adobe's oldest review method, was discontinued in this version. A managed review has an initiator who sets up the review with a program wizard. This avoids the manual aspects of importing comments, enabling Reader users, and tracking comments. Acrobat 9 Pro has added the ability to store a Shared Review on, which is a server hosted by Adobe that makes the process quite reliable.


Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, author, and Adobe-certified expert who has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 30 years. He is the co-author of Moving to InDesign (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) and Real World Adobe Creative Suite 2 (with Sandee Cohen). Steve has taught Adobe graphics applications at many companies, and he has presented at InDesign and Creative Suite conferences, Printing Industry of Northern California (PINC), and AcademyX.



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