If you’ve been following the Acrobat.com press, or reading our marketing materials, or checking our blog and forum, you’ve seen that we are very focused on enabling collaboration – especially when documents are involved. Here’s a quick look at the ways we enable collaboration.
Collaboration in Authoring
The story begins with document authoring, and in Buzzword we’ve heard countless people indicate that Buzzword is the finest online writing experience currently available. Many have told us they’ve even abandoned Word – some use the expression “liberated” – in favor of Buzzword as their primary writing environment.
Buzzword is indeed a simple and elegant word processor, but it really differentiates from Word and other desktop applications when you want to collaborate with others in the writing process. Instead of pushing documents out to others via email, you simply invite your collaborators to the only instance of the document, online, where they can contribute content or just add comments.
With everyone working on the same document, rather than multiple, disparate copies of the document, then collaboration is smoother and you can keep track of everyone’s involvement. The image below shows the Buzzword collaborator bar, which displays who has read the document, when they read it and which version they read. Now that’s getting everyone on the same page!
Collaboration as Reviewing
Often in the course of creating and revising a document, you need to work directly in real time with your collaborators. Whether you’re clarifying comments, discussing various approaches related to your document, or just soliciting immediate feedback, it’s useful to bring everyone together at the same time.
For this part of the collaboration process, we offer ConnectNow. When you create an Acrobat.com account, you will also get a ConnectNow meeting room – a web-accessible environment that is always available to you. Here you can invite your collaborators to meet in real time, share your screen so everyone can view the document as you all discuss revisions.
ConnectNow offers webcam and audio connectivity, so you don’t even need a telephone. When sharing your screen, ConnectNow also provides annotation tools and the ability to upload and download files to be shared.
Collaboration as Sharing
Sometimes collaboration simply involves providing document access to your colleagues. We share files as reference material, or as artifacts that contribute to reports or other deliverables; sometimes the shared document is the end product of a group’s effort. The shared document could be captured as a PDF file to preserve the formatting and polish, or it could be shared in the format from which it was originally created, such as PowerPoint or Excel.
Typically, we send these documents around as email attachments, which is sometimes convenient but also often clumsy as a way to manage your files. Some work groups have access to a shared file server, or an Internet-based content sharing site such as eRoom or Box.net. These both can represent an improvement over email.
Acrobat.com offers a similar capability but goes even farther in making the shared documents accessible. Like Internet content sites, you can upload your documents to Acrobat.com so they can be accesses from most connected computers. But Acrobat.com takes another step by converting many common file formats for convenient previewing – right in your browser, without having to load the original application. Every document is assigned a unique URL (web address), so you can point your collaborators at the document. For example, a PDF version of the Acrobat.com At a Glance document – originally created in Buzzword – can be previewed and downloaded by clicking here.
The final step enabled by Acrobat.com is the ability to take the uploaded content and embed it in a web page. This is a way to add immediate access and richness to content on blog posts, wiki pages, or any other html-based system.
For example, here’s an embedded version of the aforementioned At a Glance document.
To learn more about sharing and embedding documents, try it out with an account on Acrobat.com. You can also visit our marketing pages, or join an e-seminar on the topic tomorrow, June 17th, at 11:30 am EDT. Details available on our forum site.