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Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Standard

Transform PDF files into Intelligent Documents

Adobe® Acrobat® 7.0 Standard software is the simple way to create and share more secure and reliable Adobe PDF documents. Generate Adobe PDF files that accurately represent the original document, and take advantage of robust tools for sharing information and commenting on electronic files.

Acrobat has become an indispensable tool for creating and distributing digital documents, but users have griped about its sometimes sluggish speed. Well, Adobe Acrobat 7.0 (which runs only under Windows 2000 SP2, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003) is finally as fast as it ought to be—and its startling increase in speed in loading and displaying PDF files is only one of many reasons to upgrade to the latest version.

For starters, Acrobat 7’s interface is easier to navigate than ever before. Outlook message folders can be archived as hyperlinked PDF files, you can select part or all of a Web page in Internet Explorer and save it as a PDF file with two clicks, and scanning to PDF is now a one-button operation. The Pro version now includes an XML-based forms designer. Even the free Adobe Reader 7.0 gets a substantial speed boost and new features. Chief among them: Reader 7 users can annotate documents created in Acrobat 7 Pro, a luxury heretofore reserved only for those who bought a full version of Acrobat. This makes it possible for businesses to collaborate on documents with clients, without requiring those clients to buy into the Acrobat system.

The only thing slow about Acrobat 7 is its installation program. But once installed, the program launches at warp speed and eases navigation with a “New Window” feature that lets you view two or more places in the same document at the same time. Searches can now be performed either in the full-featured Search PDF sidebar (also used for searching multiple files that have been indexed with the Catalog feature) or in a new floating toolbar (opened by pressing Ctrl-F) that searches the current document only. Adobe doesn’t explicitly claim any improvements in on-screen display, but we noticed clearer and sharper font rendering in many existing PDF files.

The new PDF viewer and manager, called the Organizer, conveniently lets you scroll quickly through previews of all PDF files that you’ve viewed over the past year. It also lets you build “collections,” which are links to multiple PDF files anywhere on your hard drive or network. Files can be opened, printed, combined, or e-mailed directly from the Organizer, though there’s no one-step way to e-mail an entire collection without combining the separate files into one PDF. Also welcome is a new Security Policies dialog that lets you specify a complex set of password protections (for reading, printing, and so on) that can be applied to a file in a single step.

Acrobat 7 comes in a $299 Standard version suitable for most individual and small-business users, and a $449 Professional version mostly for corporate use. Both versions install toolbars for one-button PDF creation in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, complete with thumbnail views of each page and active hyperlinks. Both versions let you attach the original document to the PDF file created for it.

The Pro version adds similar features to Microsoft Visio and Project and AutoCAD, and you can even put comments into PDF files created from AutoCAD. And as we mentioned, the Pro version lets you e-mail PDF files for review; recipients can then comment on the resulting PDF files using Reader 7.0. When the documents are returned to the original sender, the comments can be combined and used for final editing. With one of our test documents, we experienced a glitch where a mailed PDF generated baffling error messages when opened in Reader; and, when opened in OS X Mail on a Macintosh, it was saved as two separate PDF files, one broken, one working. You may want to experiment with a trial run before making regular use of this system.