Computers / Hands-on Review

Adobe Acrobat X


Adobe Acrobat X is here. It’s the latest version of the software that lets you create, view and distribute documents that appear the same regardless of the available typefaces or platform—print or Web. It’s a powerful bit of software that enables universal document creation and distribution of Acrobat's PDF files.

Most people are familiar with Acrobat Reader, which is software you can download for free from Adobe. You will usually find links to download the software wherever PDF files are distributed. That makes it easy for anyone to download and print out a document or form even if they know absolutely nothing about Adobe Acrobat.

The latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader is called Adobe Reader X. The software lets you view, search and print PDF files, comment on the files with highlighters and sticky notes, sort and filter comments and digitally sign and time-stamp the documents. Unfortunately, Acrobat Reader does not let you create Acrobat files, and that’s the genius behind distributing Acrobat Reader for free. By making Acrobat the world standard for document distribution, Adobe compels people to create documents in that format. And to do that, you have to buy Adobe Acrobat. Fortunately, there are different versions of the software with different levels of functionality—and at different price points, depending on what you need to do.

Acrobat X Standard

Acrobat X Standard is an affordable but powerful version of Adobe’s document creation and distribution software. The software integrates with productivity suites to allow for greater functionality. For example, the software lets you create PDF documents from any application that can print, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Access. You can also scan printed documents into PDF format with the actual text captured by optical character recognition (OCR) software. The software can also convert Web pages viewed in Internet Explorer or Firefox into interactive PDF files.

Acrobat X Standard lets you edit PDF files and save them as Microsoft Word or Excel files, while preserving all of the formatting. You can also combine content from multiple sources into a single PDF file. Forms can be created that users of Acrobat Reader can fill out, and data from those forms can then be exported to a spreadsheet. PDF documents can be password protected to restrict the access, printing, copying and editing of their content. There are many other features buried in this gem of a product. B&H sells Acrobat X Standard for Windows as a stand-alone product, and as a less expensive Upgrade from Acrobat Standard version 7/8/9.

Acrobat X Pro

Acrobat X Pro is Adobe’s top-of-the-line Acrobat version, loaded with even more features and capabilities. In addition to all the features of Acrobat X Standard, Acrobat X Pro also lets you quickly create PDF documents from Autodesk AutoCAD, Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Project. The Acrobat files themselves can be more complex as well. For example, Acrobat X Pro lets you create Acrobat files that contain audio, Flash video and interactive media that can be played back directly in the free Reader software. Other features include the ability to automate multi-step tasks and to allow Reader users to compare different versions of a PDF document and collaboratively comment on them.

B&H carries Acrobat X Pro for Windows as a stand-alone product. There’s also as a less expensive Upgrade from Acrobat 7/8/9 Standard, 9 Extended and 7/8 3D and an even less expensive Upgrade from 7/8/9 Pro. If you are a student or teacher, and can prove it, the least expensive route to this software is Acrobat X Pro for Windows Student and Teacher Edition. B&H has Mac users covered with Acrobat X Pro for Mac, which is also available as a less expensive Upgrade from 7/8/9 Standard, 9 Extended and 7/8 3D and an even less expensive Upgrade from Acrobat 7/8/9 Pro. Again, students and teachers can obtain the least-expensive version, Acrobat X Pro for Mac Student and Teacher Edition.

Acrobat X Suite

Like most of Adobe’s products, Acrobat X can be had as part of the Acrobat X Suite for Windows. The suite includes Adobe’s Acrobat X Pro, Photoshop CS5, Captivate 5, Presenter 7, LiveCycle Designer ES2 and Media Encoder CS5. This suite of applications allows you to create interactive presentations, embed audio and video in documents, capture video from a computer screen and edit digital images, all in the PDF format, which can be viewed by anyone using Adobe's free Reader software. This suite is also available as an Upgrade from Acrobat, Photoshop or Captivate.