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Reimagining PDF

All new version of Adobe DC reflects changes in the way people work. James Goulding reports

PDF has been a business standard for more than 25 years, during which time there has been a transformation in working practices, with the emergence of more flexible, collaborative and mobile work-styles driven by reliable mobile communications, portable computing devices and, latterly, the cloud.

The new version of Adobe Document Cloud (Adobe DC) reflects these changes, making it easier for people to work together on PDF documents across and between multiple devices including touchscreen tablets and smartphones.

The changes affect Adobe Acrobat DC, the complete PDF solution for creating, editing, converting, sharing and signing documents, and the free Adobe Reader DC, with which anyone can read, comment on, sign and share PDFs.

Adobe Director of Emerging Business (EMEA) Mark Greenaway said that with the new version of Adobe Document Cloud, Adobe had ‘reimagined what’s possible with PDF’, particularly in relation to four pain points identified by customers:

Collaboration – working on documents with different stakeholders;

Mobility – being able to work anywhere, on any device;

Digital transformation – making the transition from paper to digital documents; and

Usability – having access to familiar tools across multiple devices.

PDF Review

In the context of collaboration, PDF Review is a stand-out new feature designed to simplify working together on any project that requires the collection of information and feedback from different parties.

Provided automatically as part of an Adobe DC subscription and free to use by document reviewers via web browser or Acrobat Reader client, it keeps comments in the context of the document being worked on and removes the need to ping emails back and forth.

The Review File function, an upgrade from the previous View File function, is accessed via the share tool on Acrobat DC Home. Here, the user can create a PDF distribution list; set reminders and deadlines; send out invitations to reviewers; and keep track of who has seen the document.

Document reviewers receive an email notifying them that they have a document for review. They also get notifcations in Reader or crobat and in their To Do Card, a new feature of the DC Home centralised hub that highlights a user’s pending tasks. By clicking on the Review button, they can review and add comments to a document using any device – PC, notebook, smartphone or tablet. If they don’t have Acrobat Reader installed on the device, they can access documents in a browser.

Documents can be reviewed by an account holder (i.e. those with a subscription) or a guest. Anyone can be added as a guest and reviewing is free. Reviewers can add comments to documents or make them directly to the person who sent out the invitation, to which he or she can respond in real-time, creating a multi-party conversation within a document.

Touch-enabled PDFs

To support the growing mobility of today’s workers and their preference for tablets and smartphones when on the move, Adobe has touch-enabled PDFs and extended the ability to edit PDFs to any device through the Acrobat Mobile app.

Familiar, touch-enabled tools accessed via the Acrobat Mobile app (now available for Android as well as iOS) bring new flexibility when away from the office. For example, before a meeting a salesperson could personalise their presentation by changing the date, company name, image or text.

DC Home

Another new feature that makes it easier to work across multiple devices is DC Home, a central hub for all PDF activity within the Acrobat DC desktop app, Acrobat Reader mobile app and Adobe DC web app.

This lets users see all the PDF documents they are working on in one place, so instead of using their email as a content management system, they can access DC Home to see their PDFs and where they left off, regardless of what device they were using at the time.

For ease of use and continuity across devices, DC Home provides direct access to editing and other tools. Select a file and it will automatically present the ones you might need.

Adobe Sign for all

To help organisations work productively with digital documents without having to switch between multiple applications, Adobe Sign is now available from within Adobe DC and Acrobat Reader. This makes it easy for users to sign documents digitally and send documents to others for signature, from within the application they are using and across all devices.

AI assistance

Other time-saving elements within Adobe Acrobat DC (desktop and web app) and Acrobat Reader include new features powered by Sensei AI technology, for example autofill capabilities that speed up the filling out of forms by automatically inserting name and address details.

Sensei also lies at the heart of a new feature in the Adobe Scan image capture app, which lets users capture a batch of two to 20 business cards in one go.Sensei automatically cleans up the images, saves them and, because it recognises that they are business cards, gives users the option to save extracted details in a contacts list in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. In the case of multiple scans, the user can pick and choose which ones to add to their contacts.

Last year more than 200 billion PDFs were opened in Adobe products. With these enhancements, the enduring standard for sharing documents becomes even more compelling.

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