Adobe Acrobat Upgrade Hard to Resist

Honestly, I don’t know where my memory has gone. When I heard that Adobe was upgrading Acrobat to version 7.0, my first thought was, “Didn’t they just upgrade to version 6 a few months ago?” I was forced to go to my own website to see how long it has been since I reviewed the previous version. 24 months. There you have it.

Let’s face it. PDF files are Adobe’s greatest gift to the publishing industry. One could argue the merits of Photoshop, but PhotoStyler was a worthy competitor before Adobe purchased Aldus. No one appreciates InDesign more than I, but we could lay out pages in QuarkXPress or Pagemaker without it. Without PDF files, however, we might still be paying overnight bills to get our files where they need to be by deadline. Now we have version 7.0. 7.0 Professional, to be more precise.

There are a couple of features that, by themselves, make version 7 worth the upgrade price. The most notable is the ability to convert spot and RGB colors to CMYK. I’ve spent just a couple of hours with this feature, but it seems to hold a lot of promise for those of us who receive errant PDF files from time to time. I wish this feature would convert colors set to “registration,” but so far I’ve found no way to convert these to black. I have had tremendous results with RGB and spot text and photos. In addition, users have the ability to create trap settings when outputting PDF files.

These features, built into the Pro version of Acrobat 7, remind me of Adobe InProduction, a separate - and expensive - application previously available to Acrobat users.

Another characteristic that has greatly improved is speed. Acrobat Professional 6.0 (and previous versions) seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to load. After loading, most features worked quickly but others seemed to drag. When I clicked on the Acrobat 7 icon the first time, I thought I had done something wrong. After closing and reopening the application several times, I realized Adobe had solidified our friendship once again. A fringe benefit of this boost in speed is the ability to edit text more quickly.

Commenting tools have also been improved in 7.0 Professional. Users can “label” PDF files with comments such as APPROVED, REVIEWED, or FINAL PROOF. In addition, arrows and comments - which won’t appear in the PDF file when printed - can be added to pages. This tool could prove useful in a newspaper workflow based on PDF files.

Most of what we do with PDF files in the newspaper industry hasn’t changed. Distiller still works in much the same way as it has in previous version. Preflighting files in 7.0 Pro has been facilitated for the casual user, but newspapers will still want to create custom preflights (using the advanced preflight features), which works in much the same way as Acrobat 6.0 Professional.

Acrobat Professional 7.0 lists at $449/US. Upgrades from versions 4 through 6, Standard or Professional, are $159 US/$199 CA/$209 AU. Owners of Adobe Creative Suite Premium may upgrade Acrobat to 7.0 Professional for $159 US/$199 CA/$209 AU.

Be sure to order the appropriate upgrade. The upgrade to Creative Suite Premium will not upgrade a standalone version of Acrobat. For more information, visit
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March 18, 2005 at 12:00am
Let's not forget John Warnock's invention of Postscript page description language that really built the desktop publishing industry. Aldus couldn't have produced Pagemaker without it and we would probably be using something like Hewlett Packard's PDL to produce pages. The Portable Document Format is a great advance, but Postscript is arguably the most important gift to publishing from Adobe.
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