Adobe Acrobat 9 document-creation software is adding dynamic features such as integration of animation, dynamic maps, 256-bit encryption, and improved forms. We've been playing with the beta edition of Acrobat 9 Pro Extended.
Acrobat 9 comes in three versions, which are set to hit store shelves in the coming weeks: Standard at AU$425 or AU$139 to upgrade, Pro for AU$639 or AU$225 to upgrade, and Pro Extended for AU$995 or AU$325 to upgrade. Pro Extended also comes with Adobe Presenter, which plugs into Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 for adding interactivity to presentations.
Acrobat 9 features PDF Portfolios, which let you package video and animation alongside audio content and even 3D models.
Integrating with Acrobat 9 is Adobe Systems' beta release of an online community, Acrobat.com. It includes the Buzzword word processor with collaboration features as well as 5GB of file storage, and conversion of five documents to Portable Document Format. Its ConnectNow Web conferencing and desktop sharing tool enables chatting via text, video, and voice. The site also can host data from forms created in Acrobat software.
The Portable Document format is moving from its focus on print-readiness to a venue for multimedia content. For the first time, PDFs will play movies. Acrobat users can convert MOV and WMV files to Flash content that can be embedded within PDFs alongside audio content and even 3D models. The free Acrobat Reader 9 will play the movies, eliminating the need to open other media players. Developers can tweak layouts with Flex Builder 3 or Flash CS3.
The new PDF Portfolios feature in Acrobat 9 lets users drag and drop content into a portfolio, then choose from myriad layout and presentation options. Adobe also tried to make it easier to for companies to make pages match visually with themes and custom logos, and it improved tools for comparing documents.
Geospatial mapping is cool in this update, but it's only available in the pricey Acrobat 9 Pro Standard.
Mapping features only in Acrobat Pro Extended 9 preserve geospatial coordinates and let users mark locations and measure distances. These tools are cool, but we wish you didn't need to pay almost AU$1000 for Pro Extended to use them.
The next Acrobat will take snapshots of Web pages and convert entire pages or chunks of them to a PDF that preserves links and animation.
For creating online forms, Acrobat 9 adds intelligence to recognise content for conversion to fillable fields. And a forms-tracking dashboard will show, for instance, the status of responses to a mass party invitation e-mail and let a user send reminders to guests. Responses can be sorted, filtered, and exported to spreadsheets.
Acrobat 9's security enhancements enable users to add 256-bit encryption, used by banks online, to PDFs. Business users could opt to access documents at Acrobat online or via SharePoint work spaces, network folders or WebDAV.
Redaction tools, a key selling point of Acrobat 8, will offer searches for numeric patterns in addition to multiple words and phrases. A company could, for example, find every accidental mention of a Social Security number or top-secret product being developed and black out the potential leaks from a PDF with one blow.
We'll have a review of Acrobat 9 software once we receive final code.