Adobe AcrobatX Pro is a multitalented business application. You
can use it to lock down electronic documents, create press-ready
color pages, or produce form-laden documents that feed data to a
database. Judging from the beta I tried, the latest iteration will
be much more Web-aware, and it will be able to bring new life to
formerly staid, static electronic documents.
PDF portfolios, introduced in the previous Acrobat version,
remain the program’s highlight. It’s useful to be able to import files of
many different types into a PDF portfolio–an electronic
document that contains, for example, a Word document, images,
PowerPoint presentations, and video files. Acrobat X greatly
improves PDF portfolios, allowing you to import live Web
content–including streaming video–into a portfolio.
Acrobat X Pro’s greatly revised interface makes portfolios and
simpler documents easier to assemble and to share, too. The company
obviously put some thought into their organization, and the
addition of collapsible toolbars and some icons really helps clean
But the new layout has some limitations. For example, you can
specify colors that you want to use in your document(s), and simply
click in a palette of color bars to change colors. But it’s a
little difficult to figure out what will change when you click on a
color. Furthermore, Acrobat X Pro has no color picker. You can
select from a wide assortment of hues, but you can’t use an
eyedropper to match a shade that’s already in your doc. You can’t
import a color-swatches file, either, as you can in Photoshop.
The ability of collaborators to insert comments into PDFs isn’t
new, but now even users of the free Acrobat X Reader can insert
comments. You can also set up a PDF to track reviewers’ comments by
using Acrobat.com, your own internal network server, a Web server,
or a Microsoft SharePoint workspace. Then you can see who has
responded to your document invitation, get alerts from Acrobat or
Windows when people make comments, filter comments by reviewer, and
even export all the reviewer information to an Excel spreadsheet.
And if you frequently process PDFs with the same commands, Acrobat
X’s new Action Wizard may save time and keystrokes.
If you’re trying to pull content from already-produced PDFs,
improvements in Acrobat X make that chore a little easier. For
example, you can now highlight text or a table in a PDF, choose
‘Export As’, and send the content to a Word file, an Excel file,
HTML, or XML. I found this approach worked very well, with the
minor exception being that the background color of a table’s header
row didn’t accompany the table into an HTML file. That’s easily
fixed, however, and I now have an easier time selecting the right
Other improvements: Adobe says that Acrobat X’s scanning feature
creates smaller files, and that the optical character recognition
engine is more accurate than before. In my use, it did a great job
of creating searchable text within the documents I scanned.
Keyboard shortcuts now work when viewing PDFs in a browser, and
Protected Mode Security puts PDFs into a secure “sandbox” whenever
you’re looking at them online. When you’re password-protecting
PDFs, you’ll see a new password strength meter.
Acrobat X Pro strikes me as a substantial upgrade–and Adobe has
done well in making its upgrades more accessible to the
nonprogrammers among us.
Note: The Download link takes you to the
vendor’s site, where you can download the latest version of the
software. To read PCWorld’s full review, please see Adobe
Acrobat X Pro Gets a Face-Lift and Improves Features.