Adobe Enhanced Acrobat
During the past 17 years, the Adobe Acrobat software has undergone various changes and make-overs as user demands and competition from third-parties has increased. The latest version of this software, Adobe Acrobat 9, is no exception. In fact it could be said that this version is the result of a major overhaul with regards to new features and improved performance.
As is standard with Adobe Acrobat, users have a choice of products depending upon their individual needs. This review is based on the top of the range Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended version. This product is only available for the Windows platform as is Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard. Mac users are limited to just Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro which is also available for the Windows platform.
Arriving on two DVDs, this product is made up of the main Acrobat software and Adobe Presenter on one disk with Acrobat 9 Pro Extended 3D Capture Utility on the other. Installation is straightforward although it does require the entry of a 29-character serial number and an online connection for product activation. However you do need to be aware that Adobe Presenter does require the presence of Microsoft PowerPoint before it will proceed with its individual installation.
Following its acquisition of Macromedia, it comes as no surprise to discover that Adobe has integrated Flash technology into this latest version of Acrobat and its freely available Reader offering. When you embed a Flash movie into your PDF document, it will appear as a clickable box so that the movie can be activated without requiring any external software. This new feature includes a Video tool that allows for the conversion of various video file formats, such as the popular AVI, MOV, MPEG and WMV, into the Flash FLV format.
While the integration of Flash will appeal to a broad spectrum of users, businesses and professional developers are the more likely target for the use of Portfolios. This feature is a replacement for PDF Packages. Portfolios allow you to create bundles by dragging & dropping content into a specific group. Various preset layouts are available to add a professional sheen to the content. These layouts include a welcome page, colour scheme and display rules.
For those who need to share content with others in various locations, Adobe has introduced a hosting facility entitled Acrobat.com. Using this feature you can store PDF files for sharing and send invitations to others with viewing privileges and the ability to add comments which are consolidated into the hosted document. Acrobat.com can also provide form filling capabilities with the collected data being handled automatically. Of course you could direct this data to be sent direct to use and use a tracking feature to indicate those yet to respond.
Other new or enhanced features of Acrobat 9 include support for 256-bit AES encryption; a web page conversion feature that captures and retains links; improved OCR (Optical Character Recognition) capability plus increased support for scanners; and the ability to include dynamic maps with latitude/longitude co-ordinates and distance measurement.
As mentioned earlier, Acrobat 9 Pro Extended includes copies of Adobe Presenter 7, which is currently available as a standalone product priced around £300, and 3D Capture Utility. With the former, this is an add-on for Microsoft PowerPoint that allows you to insert Flash SWF animations, record and synch an audio soundtrack for your slides. It can also provide the tools to create interactive quizzes. 3D Capture provides support for 3DS, OBJ and DAE 3D models amongst others. It enables models to be rotated in 3D space within Reader. This software has the capability for re-rendering edited objects and can export 3D models to 2D vector format.
There is no doubt that Adobe Acrobat 9 Plus Extended is an impressive and powerful product. Along with the increased functionality, speed of loading and operation has been improved. However this functionality and performance does come at a rather high price especially for UK residents. The UK price for Adobe Acrobat 9 Plus Extended is £717.58 (Amazon) this compares very unfavourably with the US price of $699. An upgrade will cost £238.99. Acrobat 9 Professional is priced at £453.96 ( upgrade £156.44) while the standard version costs £302.84 ( upgrade £97.72).
There is no doubt that Adobe Acrobat 9 Plus Extended is an impressive and powerful product. Along with the increased functionality, speed of loading and operation has been improved. However this functionality and performance does come at a rather high price. The full Adobe Acrobat 9 Plus Extended is available for $588.49 while an upgrade will cost $209.99. The profressional edition is available for $398.49 ( upgrade for $159.49). The standard edition is available for $265.49 ( upgrade $89.99).
There is no doubt that Adobe Acrobat 9 Plus Extended is an impressive and powerful product. Along with the increased functionality, speed of loading and operation has been improved. However this functionality and performance does come at a rather high price. The full Adobe Acrobat 9 Plus Extended is available for €979,52 while an upgrade will cost €320. The profressional edition is available for €668,56 ( upgrade for €225). The standard edition is available for €414,43 ( upgrade €132,99).
(All prices from Amazon).
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