Adobe Systems Inc. is updating and diversifying its Acrobat product line when version 6 ships in mid-May. But instead of one Acrobat, there’ll be three: Standard, Pro and Elements. The first two, and a new Acrobat (now Adobe) Reader, will support Mac OS X and Windows, while the latter will support just Windows.
“With Acrobat 6, we’ve sought to integrate the PDF document format into the enterprise desktop,” Gray Knowlton, product manager of Acrobat for creative professionals, told MacCentral.
Adobe Acrobat is Adobe’s PDF, or Portable Document Format, authoring software. Adobe developed PDF to provide consistency in document appearance between platforms and software applications, with layout, fonts, links and images intact.
Acrobat 6.0 Standard
Acrobat 6.0 Standard is an entry level application that offers electronic review management and commenting tools. It allows users to initiate, participate in, and track the review of documents. The review tracker automatically creates a list of people to whom a document is sent and tracks whether or not feedback was received; reviews can be initiated using e-mail.
Digital signatures can be added to Adobe PDF documents from within a Web browser or Acrobat 6.0 Standard, enabling mobile professionals, remote workers, and others to officially approve documents they’ve reviewed. You can also secure documents against unintended use or output with password protection and 128-bit encryption. Acrobat 6.0 Standard costs US$299 for an electronic download; upgrades are $99.
Acrobat 6.0 Professional
Acrobat 6.0 Professional is targeted to business, engineering, and creative professionals. It offers all the features of Acrobat 6.0 Standard, as well as tools for modifying the structure of tagged Adobe PDF files, creating Adobe PDF forms, and checking document accessibility for people with visual disabilities.
For engineering professionals, Acrobat 6.0 Professional offers one-button Adobe PDF creation from specialized applications. It also provides beefed up commenting tools designed specifically for engineering professionals and intuitive methods for implementing Adobe PDF document reviews.
For creative professionals, Acrobat 6.0 Professional adds enhanced preflighting and previewing tools for examining Adobe PDF documents to ensure proper output, including PDF/X compliance and PostScript level compatibility. Users can embed preflight information into Adobe PDF files. There’s a tool for previewing color separations as well as a transparency flattening preview. You can also view and print color separations and set marks and bleeds.
Acrobat 6.0 Professional is $499 for the boxed version. Upgrades are $149.
Acrobat 6.0 Elements
Available through volume licensing, the Windows-only Acrobat Elements helps Windows users convert business documents into Adobe PDF files for distribution across various hardware and software platforms. Adobe PDF documents can be created from within Acrobat Elements, by right-clicking any file icon and via one-button creation in Microsoft Office applications.
Acrobat 6.0 Elements requires a minimum of 1,000 seats. The price for 1,000 seats are $29 per set.
Acrobat Reader — the downloadable software that lets you view and print Adobe PDF files — is being rebranded as Adobe Reader, but will remain free.
“People were confused about difference between Acrobat itself and Acrobat Reader, so we felt that renaming it would help,” Knowlton said. “We also changed Reader to accommodate more things.”
With Adobe Reader 6.0, you can, of course, view and print Adobe PDF files that look just like the original documents, with all fonts, formatting, and colors intact. Adobe Reader also lets you fill in Adobe PDF forms and, now, view Adobe Photoshop Album Slide Shows and eCards.