Review: Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional

...the best of breed in PDF creation and manipulation (May 17th, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: Adobe Systems

Price: US $449 ($159 Upgrade from previous versions)

The Good

  • Adobe Reader users can now add comments to PDF files. Cool new organizer tool. Improved performance.

The Bad

  • Some Windows only features. No advanced form design tools in Mac version. No Mac trial version.

The release of Acrobat 7.0 Professional is a testament to Adobe's commitment to improve the depth of their tools for creating and managing PDF (AdobeŽ Portable Document Format) documents. While this upgrade is a requirement for those who live and breathe PDF documents, many Mac users will be disappointed with the lack of feature parity between the Mac and Windows version. Adobe still has some work ahead to match the platforms.

New Features

Even with the disparity, Acrobat 7.0 Professional for Macintosh has some terrific new features. The new Organizer tool manages PDF documents stored anywhere (internal or external hard drive, networks, or other media). The tool helps locate, preview, and group PDF documents in a familiar iTunes-like way. The commenting tools now have their own menu and the new Attachments tab simplifies managing documents attached to PDFs. You can embed 3D objects within PDF documents and even add JavaScript to control how the document is viewed. 3D content must be saved in a new Universal 3D (U3D) format for this to work and adding 3D content can affect viewing performance of PDF documents.

The most outstanding new feature is the ability to include Adobe Reader users in the document review process. Previously when you sent a PDF file to others to verify the content, those users needed the full version of Acrobat in order to add comments and changes to the distributed PDF document. Now, any user of Adobe Reader 7.0 can add comments and corrections, provided that option was set when the PDF document was created in Acrobat 7.0 Professional. This feature alone can save companies substantial funds.

Disparity Among Platforms

Some features such as one-step PDF conversion (to create PDFs of documents with one mouse-click) for Windows only programs like AutoCAD or Visio are not critical, but one-step conversion of individual email messages or entire mailboxes would be terrific in any email client. Currently this is only available for the Windows version of Outlook. Also Mac users lack the advanced PDF form design provided in Adobe LiveCycle Designer, included only with the Windows version of Acrobat 7.0. Also, comments added to PDF documents cannot be imported into MS Word on the Mac yet.

While Mac OS X includes good built-in PDF abilities, including the ability to add comments to documents in Preview, you still need the full Acrobat to edit those comments. Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional remains the best of breed in PDF creation and manipulation.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by James Alguire


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