Using Acrobat in Writing Classes: Features
Acrobat 5.0 Features
Some of the biggest changes in Acrobat 5.0 are applicable to people who collaborate or require digital signatures and security. For example, users can collaborate on documents and comment on them within their Web browsers. This section will focus on changes to the most commonly-used features and those most useful to educators:
The Preferences menu gives you
more options for determining how Acrobat will work on your computer. However, these settings are
not associated with documents you create. For example, you can use Preferences
to define a default page layout, set an author name for comments, select a
browser for Web links, and customize Acrobat in other ways.
5.0 gives you more control over printing PDF documents. You can print comments,
shrink oversized pages to paper size, expand small pages to paper size,
automatically rotate and center pages, print pages as bitmaps, and specify how
fonts will be downloaded to increase speed and require less printer memory. You
can also print reviewer’s marks.
tools are easier to access. Now you can also drag toolbars into the document
window to become floating palettes. There are also new toolbars for Commenting
Bookmarks, Thumbnails, Comments, and Signatures Navigation Panels are now tabs
displayed along the left side, as shown here. Each palette now has a drop-down
menu that makes it easier to select options.
The Bookmarks palette can now differentiate bookmarks, such as subheads, with color, bold, or italics. In addition, the Thumbnails palette generates thumbnails of pages in an Adobe PDF file on the fly. Thus you can make long documents without thumbnails easier to navigate, as well as use thumbnails to move, copy, and delete pages.
have always been able to annotate files. This feature is useful for making
comments in the form of colorful electronic “sticky notes” in sample
documents. If students create PDF files to submit homework electronically, you
can annotate them and return them. The new Free Text Tool
now open Acrobat files from within a browser and access the tools. Thus users
can view and add comments to the same Adobe PDF document from within their Web
browsers, which makes it quicker and easier to review files.
can also generate a synopsis of all the comments in a document by selecting
Comments from the Tools menu. After selecting a sorting and filtering option,
you can then generate a summary. This comments summary lists each comment’s
text, location, type, author, and date and time of creation.
can view Comments in a document and sort them by Type, Page, Author, or
Date, as shown in the illustration.
Another useful editing feature is the ability to compare two documents and find the most minute differences between them—down to the pixel level. You have options for the amount of sensitivity and the types of things you want compared page-by-page: visual differences, text only, and text with font information.
of the biggest changes to Acrobat is the ability to use the contents of PDF
files. Acrobat 5.0 makes it easier to extract text, images, and embedded objects
in a PDF file. However, you cannot copy or export text and graphics from
any PDF file if the security settings for that file are set to prevent copying.
the Save As command, you can extract all the text in a PDF file and save
it in Rich Text Format (RTF). You can then use the text elsewhere, such as
documents or presentations. For example, once you save an Adobe PDF document as
RTF, you can open it in Microsoft Word. You can also save a PDF file as a
PostScript or Encapsulated PostScript file and select export settings. Another
option is to convert the PDF file into graphics such as TIFF, JPEG, or PNG. Each
page is then converted into a separate image file.
(See Working With PDF Files.)
(See Working With PDF Files.)
the Extract Images As command, you can extract images and save them in TIFF,
JPEG, or PNG format for use in other applications. In addition, you can select
export options, such as the amount of compression.
the past you could do some minor edits to text. The TouchUp Object tools
can see a list of embedded data objects in the PDF file (these are other types
of files that are contained in the PDF). You can then export and save any listed
data object to a new location.
File Attachment Tool
so the reader can open it. This file then becomes embedded as part of the
PDF document. For example sound files can by physically embedded in a PDF
document. This might be useful if you want to comment on a document. However, movie files
cannot be embedded; you associate a pointer with the movie
new Open As command lets you convert graphics (BMP, GIF, JPEG, PCS, PNG,
TIFF), HTML documents, and text files into a new Acrobat PDF file or add them to
an existing PDF file. You choose File > Open as Adobe PDF, then select the
file you want to convert to Adobe
can now batch process large quantities of Adobe PDF files by creating and
executing a series of commands (such as adding security, cropping and inserting
pages, or preparing documents for the Web) on one or more documents. A
you can send an e-mail message with a PDF attachment from within Acrobat. When
you select File>Send Mail, Acrobat automatically opens your e-mail program
(or prompts you to open it). The PDF document is automatically attached when you
send the message.
has always allowed you to add special effects to PDF documents. If you want to
enhance your documents, Acrobat has several tools that are simple to use. You
or a page action.
can add several interesting new features such as buttons and interactive
graphics to your documents using the Form Tool
fields can include both graphics and text. Because you can alternately show and
hide a graphic form field, you can create interesting visual effects within a
document. For example, when a user moves a cursor over a city on a map, a detail
map of the city could be displayed. When the cursor moves away from the city,
the detail map could disappear.
One of the most useful features of Acrobat 4.0 was the ability to download one Web page or an entire site into PDF. There are many advantages of downloading and saving a Web site in PDF format:
Acrobat Distiller is a
powerful “simulated printer” that converts files to PostScript, then PDF.
You have always been able to change the settings to optimize output, such as
amount of compression, font embedding, and quality of graphics. However, many users did not
realize they could change Distiller settings for better output. You have output
options for ebook, screen, Web, and print that optimize the document for
compression or resolution based on its intended purpose. It is now
easier to change Distiller options. For example, there is now an Acrobat menu in
Microsoft Word that allows you to change conversion settings.
enhancement for output is called Fast Web View PDF. This output option lets you
optimize PDF files for distributing them on the Web. This feature minimizes file
size and restructures the document for page-at-a-time downloading. With
page-at-a-time downloading, the Web server sends only the requested page of
information to the user, rather than the entire PDF document, so large documents
load more quickly.
new aid, PDF Consultant, lets you access Adobe and third-party plug-ins called
“agents.” They inspect, analyze, and repair PDF documents before you
optimizing a file, you can set other properties before you save the PDF file.
The Document Properties menu, shown here, has been enhanced. The Summary dialog
box lets you provide a title, a subject, an author, and one or more keywords for
a PDF document, which lets users search for information. You can also specify
how the document appears when users first open a PDF document. For example, you
can use Full Screen view for presentations. These can include automatic page
advancement and transitions. You can also convert PowerPoint slideshows to PDF
format and display them full screen like any presentation. You can set a
background color, hide the toolbars, and set other options.
Another output option is
“locking” your document. Posting Acrobat files on the Web for anyone to
access has always raised security issues. For example, even though Acrobat 4.0
let you “lock” your documents, there are products available, such as
Elcomsoft Advanced PDF Password
Recovery, that let you decrypt password-protected files. Acrobat 5.0 now
supports 128-bit encryption and lets you assign passwords to better control
access to your documents. You can also decide what readers can do with your
document: edit, repurpose, print, or add comments. You can also use certificates
(public encryption keys) that let only specified people open documents.
5.0 now supports XML (extensible Markup Language). This feature allows files to
incorporate metadata or forms data. Document content can then be repurposed,
formatted for use with eBook readers, or made accessible to users with
advantage of tagged files is that documents can be displayed on devices
such as eBook readers; the tagged Adobe PDF document is reflowed one page at a
time in the document window. Your documents can also be made accessible to the
motion and vision challenged through using a Windows screen reader.