Acrobat Professional 6.0 Takes Publishing to New Level

by Kevin Slimp, July 2003

Acrobat Professional 6.0 Takes Publishing to New Level
This has been quite a month for publishing software. My mailbox has been filled almost daily with new titles and new versions of popular software and hardware for newspaper designers. Most months I give a lot of thought concerning which product to feature in this column. This month was a ďno brainer.Ē Adobe released Acrobat Professional 6.0 and the resulting cheers from the publishing community will be heard for months and years to come.

Adobe was kind enough to allow me to serve as a beta tester for Acrobat 6.0, meaning Iíve had several months to test its new features. Most notably, version 6.0 is easier to use than the previous versions, although most of the things newspaper users do with Acrobat havenít changed drastically. Itís also not a single product anymore. When you go to your favorite online software vendor, you will find three versions of Acrobat. Publishing professionals will find it necessary to shell out a few extra dollars for the Professional version, which runs $139 US / $189 CAD / $209 AUD to upgrade from a previous version. Not kitten feed, mind you, but well worth the investment in a 6.0 upgrade.

Two features alone make 6.0 Professional worth the price. Possibly the most impressive is the ability to view color separations quickly while viewing a PDF document in Acrobat Professional. This can be especially helpful when trying to locate color problems which show up in the printing process.

Last week a press association sent a problem file to me. The file contained a gray area which came out as black on the press. The advertiser insisted they had designed the file correctly and wanted a reprint. Upon inspection of the PDF file using the color separations feature, it was easy to see that the gray area had been saved as an RGB graphic instead of grayscale. More impressive than the ability to view color separations is the ability to convert spot colors to CMYK using this function.
Another feature which makes printing PDF files much easier is the ability to print color separations directly from Acrobat Professional 6.0. CMYK and spot colors can be printed as separations or composite directly from the print dialog box. In addition, spot colors can be converted to CMYK with the click of a button. This is especially helpful to folks printing from a Level-2 Postscript device.

While Level-3 RIPs have always separated PDF files in CMYK separations, users with older printers were required to place the PDF file in another program to print out the separations from earlier versions of Acrobat.

Hundreds of new capabilities means thereís a lot more to Acrobat Professional than can be covered in one column. However, the program is very intuitive and users will find themselves learning to use these features with little effort.
Other functions of this new version include an upgraded capability in the forms creation area.

While not used by most newspapers, one of Acrobatís most impressive features is its ability to turn any document into an online form. I convert all the forms I use in my office into PDF files, which can be filled out online using Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.

Excited? You betcha. Acrobat Professional is something for the publishing professional to get excited about. For more information concerning Acrobat Professional, visit www.adobe.com.


Kevin Slimp serves as director of the Institute of Newspaper Technology, a training program for newspaper professionals sponsored by the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Press Association. In addition, Slimp speaks at newspaper conferences throughout the United States and Canada. His previous columns can be found at www.kevinslimp.com.