Adobe Acrobat Upgrade Hard to Resist

by Kevin Slimp, March 2005

Adobe Acrobat Upgrade Hard to Resist
Honestly, I donít know where my memory has gone. When I heard that Adobe was upgrading Acrobat to version 7.0, my first thought was, ďDidnít they just upgrade to version 6 a few months ago?Ē 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.

Letís face it. PDF files are Adobeís 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. Iíve 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 ďregistration,Ē but so far Iíve 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 ďlabelĒ PDF files with comments such as APPROVED, REVIEWED, or FINAL PROOF. In addition, arrows and comments - which wonít 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 hasnít 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