November 14, 2004 9:00 PM PST

Adobe to update PDF tools

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Put away the red pen, because publishing software giant Adobe Systems plans to change the way businesses share comments on documents.

The software maker is set to announce on Monday new versions of Acrobat and Reader, the company's main tools for creating and viewing files based on the PDF (Portable Document Format) standard. New features include expanded collaborative functions intended to improve the exchange of information between businesses and customers or partners.

Until now, folks who wanted to add comments to a PDF document had to have a version of Acrobat, Adobe's collection of PDF authoring tools, said Pam Deziel, director of Acrobat product marketing for Adobe. The new version 7 of Acrobat Professional will allow document creators to switch on commenting functions, which can then be accessed by anyone using the new version of Adobe Reader, the company's free application for viewing--and now interacting with--PDF files.

Deziel said the additions are meant to benefit businesses that have already centered on PDF for internal communications and now want to expand PDF exchange outside the company. Adding functions to the free and widespread Reader ensures that everyone can participate, she said.

"When you're dealing with customers and suppliers, you can't always be sure they have a certain piece of authoring software," she said. "Our strategy is to use the tremendous installed base of Reader...to really move PDF beyond simple distribution of reliable documents into more round-trip work flows and solutions."

The new version of Acrobat, which is still set to arrive, as previously reported, before the end of the year, will also include enhancements for engineering, design and other technical documents, an area where Adobe has been challenged recently by drafting and design software leader Autodesk.

"We've continued to enhance those engineering-specific features," Deziel said, "making sure we're not just capturing the image of the document but the underlying intelligence." A diagram of a network layout, for example, would include not just a graphical representation of a Cisco router but information on properties of that device.

Version 7 continues the strategy Adobe initiated last year to offer different flavors of Acrobat for light, average and power users. The new versions of Acrobat Professional and Acrobat Standard are set to ship for Windows and Mac OS X by the end of December. Acrobat Professional will cost $449 for the full version or $159 for those upgrading from a previous edition. Acrobat Standard will be priced at $299 for the full version and $99 for the upgrade.

Version 7 of the light-duty Acrobat Elements is available now, for Windows only, under volume-licensing programs that start at $39 per seat.

Version 7 of Adobe Reader, which will include new online services offered through a partnership with Yahoo, will be available for free download from Adobe by the end of the year.

6 comments

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I hate reader.
Seriously, my current install of Reader 6.0.1 is 44.25 Meg, with the added features in 7.x it will probably be 50+ Meg. All I need it to do is display PDF files, it should be 500 Kb instead. Reader is also the only thing that crashes IE on my otherwise perfect running system. Why can't Acrobat produce even a 2 meg version of Reader since that is all 95% of its users would need.

PDF reading is one area where Ghost View for Linux is far ahead of its Windows competitor. Maybe Microsft should add PDF ability to IE and just remove Adobe from the picture.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
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A hate Reader too!
Hey, Adobe Reader is a piece of bloated junk on the Mac too! It
takes eons to load and is slow as hell. If I want to print
something I can go boil water and have a cup of tea before it's
done.

Luckily, I have Apple's built-in Preview program that views PDFs
super fast (as well as JPEGs, etc.). Printing? The same file that
seems to freeze Reader starts printing in seconds.

Of course there are some features in Reader that I need at times,
but having a stripped down PDF viewer like Preview is a exactly
what most people need for quick viewing of files. If Adobe
doesn't provide it then someone else should (like Apple did).
Posted by chavonuevo (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oops! Wish I could type better... :-)
The subject line should read, "I hate Reader too!"
Posted by chavonuevo (2 comments )
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Oh, Goodie
Online services with Yahoo! I guess that means we will be getting spammed through Acrobat now. Just what we needed another bloated, buggy, nearly un-usable version of Acrobat. I can't wait!

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
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Can you do better?
I have read the above comments and I have to say that your views of Adobe Reader are rather narrow minded. I was trained as a programmer and believe me when I tell you that it is not as easy as it sounds to make a simpler viewer. You have no idea what it takes to develop and package a piece of software. Also, you may not think so, but you need many of the built in features of Reader for things like security. You don't want Joe Shmo reading your confidential documents do you? Also, you forget the main reason we have pdf. It is a reliable and quite literally portable format that can be viewed on any platform. A lot of times we need things behind the scenes that we do not know we need. People complain about Microsoft and their security updates, but no one has done anything about it. They cannot develop or do not want to develop a better piece of software. If anyone here would like to try and build a better viewer, be my guest.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Thnk you the teamto have a great oppurtunity to use this prograame in my daily activities
Posted by nadukkunnu (1 comment )
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