Adobe Creative Cloud

The Creative Cloud Chronicles: Say Hello to Acrobat XI

By Chris Dickman, Founding Editor,

More Insight articles

Earlier Chronicles
Adobe Launches Edge Tools and Services
The Digital Publishing Suite Arrives
A Cloud of Confusion
Are You Special?

Say Hello to Acrobat XI
Announced October 1, the latest version of Adobe's venerable Acrobat is now available to Creative Cloud subscribers (Creative Suite users will have to make do with Acrobat X). I say venerable because, as with Illustrator and Photoshop, Acrobat is now at the 20-year mark. After all this time you may well wonder just what functionality Adobe could still add to Acrobat. The new feature set is actually quite robust but most of it is clearly geared to the office environment — Adobe seems to have forgotten that PDF-based workflows, from approval through output, are the bedrock of the print design and publishing industry. So you'll have to use your imagination to figure out what in the new release will prove useful for you.

There's the free Reader, as well as a Standard version, but the focus here is on the Pro version included with CC, which retails for a substantial $950. For the everyday user probably the most significant new capability is finally being able to modify text or images. One can only wonder why it took two decades to add this functionality to a product that costs almost a thousand dollars — in contrast, the free Nitro Reader (Windows only) has been providing text editing for some time. You can now move, crop, resize or replace graphics right within Acrobat or, as before, open them in Photoshop. Also in the better-late-than-never category is document-wide search and replace. And the ability to reflow paragraphs via click and drag is great.

Forms are never much fun to create, so being able to build PDF or web forms with FormsCentral, which is included with the Pro version of Acrobat XI should make a lot of people happy. You can either work from a template or start from scratch using a drag and drop form editor. New is the ability to get signature approval on a PDF and track this online using the Adobe EchoSign service. We've all been faced with the hassle of having to sign a PDF. Those days are over thanks to "E-sign" functionality that lets you type or draw your name, insert an image of your signature or use a certificate signature. The previous version of Acrobat could convert HTML web files to PDF but this has received a boost, with Adobe claiming that such conversions will result in PDF pages that "will look and act like the original," including layout and formatting. In fact, conversion forms quite a large part of this upgrade, including improved conversions between PDF and Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Finally, Acrobat's ability to generate the PDF/X files used for print production has apparently been enhanced but details of this remain elusive. The clip below provides an overview of the new functionality, with details available on the Adobe site.

New Dreamweaver Functionality
It doesn't seem well known but CC members using Dreamweaver have been the beneficiary of a recent update that provides enhanced HTML5 support for forms and semantic tags, integration with Edge Animate, improved FTP upload, Retina support, the ability to insert HTML audio and video into projects, and quickly find files with real-time search results (Mac only).

Better Preview of Edge Web Fonts
Adobe Edge Fonts is a collection of 500 font families from the familiar Google Web Fonts library, along with some additions, such as Adobe's open source Source Sans Pro and Source Code Pro. Adobe will be working with Google to improve the quality of the fonts in both libraries, in such areas as hinting and performance. That's great but by now you may be asking yourself why you'd want to use Edge Web Fonts, rather than Google's collection. First up, the Edge Web Fonts are already integrated into Adobe Muse and Edge Code, with Edge Reflow soon to follow. So if you use any of the new Edge tools, the choice is simple enough. If not, there is some attraction to the idea of using the Typekit-hosted Edge Web Fonts, since Typekit has been doing this a long time, while hosting web fonts isn't really a priority for Google. Finally, the Edge fonts are very easy to implement — just add a line of JavaScript to your site and then use the font's font-family name in your CSS.

However, this ease of use is currently hampered by Adobe's poor font preview capabilities, which suck the life out of the initiative. So hats off to Tony Stuck, who has taken the initiative to provide a decent preview, as shown below. Hopefully Adobe will take notice and add something similar to its own site. It's worth noting that you don't need even a free trial CC membership to use Edge Web Fonts on your site, just copy a few code snippets and you're in business. Why not give it a try?

Win a Year of Creative Cloud
Subscriptions to Creative Cloud are starting to show up as sweepstake prizes and I'll share these here as I come across them. To get started, Denver Adobe Training Center is giving away a sub on its Facebook page, as is book publisher Peachpit Press. Good luck!

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