Adobe Acrobat

Published Date
01 - Apr - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Apr - 2006
Adobe Acrobat
Everyone has encountered PDF files, and in all probability, you have Adobe Reader installed. Reader often urges you, on the top right of the screen, to get the full version of Acrobat. So what can you do with Acrobat apart from just converting documents to PDF? Actually, there's so much you can, it would require a tome to tell you. Here, we're just giving you a flavour for the variety of functions Acrobat is capable of.

Capturing Content
Combining elements from different sources to create organised, searchable documents is one thing Acrobat can do for you, but that doesn't even scratch the surface.

A first example of how you can use Acrobat is Web capture. When you convert a Web page to PDF-simply by going to Create PDF > From Web Page-you supply the Web page address, and specify various parameters, including how deep (in terms of levels) you want to go. Acrobat will faithfully create a PDF of the site, with all images and links intact and in place. What's really cool is that each page header gets a convenient bookmark. And you can nest the bookmarks according to your convenience.

Want to move towards an office that uses less paper? OCR all your documents by going to Create PDF > From Scanner, and build up a collection of searchable documents. The OCR is reasonably accurate, and suspect words can be incorporated as bitmaps without being OCRed! And there are plenty of options under "Image Settings," which let you tailor the capture according to the type and quality of documents being OCRed.

You can capture in two modes-"searchable image" and "formatted text in graphics." The former is an image file of the document that retains searchability by cleverly keeping the OCRed characters in a layer "beneath" the document. This format is useful if you want your PDFs looking exactly like the original, while still being searchable. Remember, using either of these formats, you'll be building a searchable document collection-in Acrobat, you can search for all occurrences of a word in an entire folder.

Modifying Content
After you've converted documents to PDF-whether by OCRing them or by converting them from other formats-there's plenty more to do. You can add headers, footers, and watermarks, all under the Documents menu. If a particular part of a document needs special attention, you can copy that section as an image using the Snapshot Tool on the the standard toolbar. You can add list boxes, combo boxes, and more, all from the Advanced Editing Toolbar, under "Advanced."

You can, of course, take pages off one document and add them to another and so on, building up your document collection exactly as you want it. And you can export all images in a document to a folder, by simply going to Advanced > Export All Images. As another example of Acrobat's versatility, you can even do things like using a radio button to access part of another document!

Restricting access is well implemented in Acrobat. You can password-protect documents so they can't be opened, or altered, or printed. These features are under Document > Security. And from the Document > Digital Signatures menu, you can digitally sign a document before sending them so the receiver knows it's you who's sent it.

Explore the Comments menu: once a document has been sent out for review, you can collate all the comments from all reviewers and merge them into a single PDF document. Comments can be managed using the sorting and filtering tools. They can even be exported to Word! Besides, using the Tracker tool, again under the Comments menu, you can track the progress of the document review process: the Tracker keeps track of the reviewers you've invited to take a look at your document, and of when they responded with their comments.

New features in version 7 include the option to import e-mails from MS Outlook and sort them within a PDF document

A new feature in Acrobat 7 is that if you're conducting your review over the Web, the Tracker acts as an RSS reader!

Web And E-mail
Acrobat is truly Web-ready. Using the Advanced Editing options, you can add links and annotations, forms and security options, and even video and sound to your PDFs.

Acrobat can be used as a cross-platform image viewer. Using a plug-in, you can convert images in different formats to PDF files.

A PDF file can act as a container for files of almost any type-you could attach the original Word document from which the PDF was created, so the reader can compare and figure out what changes were made. Besides, since you can attach a range of document types, the PDF format can be used as a medium for secure delivery of any sensitive content!

You can edit any part of a document before you publish it-the Touch Up tools (under Advanced Editing) can be used to edit text including fonts and sizes, move graphics around, and so on.

New Features And More
New features in version 7 include the option to import e-mails from MS Outlook and sort them within a PDF document. The new Organizer makes it much easier to, well, organise documents: for example, with the History feature, you can see which PDFs you opened when, with thumbnails!

Probably the best thing about all this is that in the end, regardless of what system and platform and applications you used to create your PDFs, your documents look exactly the way you created them-to anyone, on any platform, using the free Adobe Reader!

Help in Acrobat is extensive, and we'd advise you to go through the full help file to get a real feel for what you can do with this do-it-all software.

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