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September 18, 2013 /How-To's /

5 time-saving PDF tips that really work

Now that we’re past Labor Day, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get through everything we’ve got on our list. Where did those lazy summer days go?! Well, there’s no time to spend wondering. Instead, take five minutes to read through these five time-saving tips; once you start using these super handy Acrobat XI tools, we think you’ll end up with a little extra time in your work day. Here’s a choose-your-own-adventure guide to common time-wasting activities that can be fixed with Acrobat XI:

Situation #1: You need to edit the content of a PDF file, but don’t have the source documents. Do you just have to recreate the content from scratch and then convert to PDF again?!

No way! You’ve got Acrobat XI, silly. Instead of starting over, try editing the PDF content directly. When you’ve got a typo in your PDF file, just open your Tools pane and click on the Content Editing panel; you’ll see a tool titled “Edit Text & Images”. When you select it, Acrobat will highlight all the editable content on the page – all you need to do is click and type to correct an error or add copy to a document. You’ll notice lots of formatting tools in the Tools pane whenever you’ve got text selected. You can use those to reformat the content of your PDF files – without ever leaving Acrobat. The editing tools also work with pictures; rotate, crop, or replace an image altogether with the built-in photo editing tools (which you can also access with a simple right-click over the image). Don’t even TRY to tell us that this doesn’t make you feel like a ninja. We’ve been there. We know how it feels.

Situation #2: You need to create a form to put on your website, but don’t know how to code.

Creating a new form can seem scary to those of us who have never written a line of code in our lives; even if you know everything there is to know about Javascript, sometimes there’s just not enough time to design and implement a fully-functional form. How can Acrobat help? Glad you asked. Use the FormsCentral app that comes bundled with Acrobat XI Pro (or, if you prefer, sign into the service from your web browser at http://formscentral.adobe.com). It comes pre-loaded with dozens of beautiful and professional form templates that can be customized and distributed as PDF forms or on the web. All you have to do is choose the template that works best for you, customize it as much or as little as you want, and you’re ready to send it out to collect data from clients, coworkers, or customers. Again, let us just stress that there is no coding necessary. You just saved yourself a full day of pulling your hair out over a single form. Congratulations!

Situation #3: You have sensitive content in a PDF file and want to keep it safe from prying eyes, but don’t know where to start.

“PDF Security” sounds so serious, doesn’t it? Well, security is not to be taken lightly: your data is at stake! That doesn’t mean, however, that it should be difficult to secure your documents. In fact, it can be as simple as a few clicks. In your Tools pane, open the Protection panel. The first item in that panel is “Restrict Editing”; by clicking that button, you’ll be prompted to apply a password to the document to prevent anyone from making changes to the file without permission. For more stringent security, you don’t actually need to go much further; just choose the next item on the list, “Encrypt”. You can tick a few boxes to prevent viewing, printing, editing, copying… and all you need to do is choose a password. Document security can be critical, but only takes a minute or two. Now go ahead, you’ve got time to give yourself a pat on the back!

Situation #4: You need to get a signature on a contract, but think it will take forever.

Time-sensitive contracts can keep you staring at your inbox all day, wringing your hands as you wait for a new fax or email attachment with that all-important signature. Do yourself a favor and try Adobe EchoSign; you can send a document off for signature and go about your day, and be notified as soon as that document is securely electronically signed. There’s even an iOS device that you can use to collect signatures on documents with a finger or stylus! What could be speedier than mobile e-signatures? Get out and start a petition, just for the pure signing fun of it!

Situation #5: You’d like to get some comments on a document, but don’t want to spend time collating and managing all the different versions of the document people will send back.

Oh man, we’ve all been there: when more and more comments keep coming in from everywhere, all in different formats, all of which you end up typing out by hand into a single document. Hint: that process doesn’t work for you. Try using Acrobat’s commenting tools. All PDF comments are tracked in the Comments List and can be organized by author, by what page they appear on, or type of annotation (and more!). Next time you’re summarizing comments someone emailed to you, stop yourself and send that person a PDF version of the document that needs reviewing. They can add their comments and send the file back, or add their comments and export them for you to add to your own version of the document. Either way, it’ll probably save you enough time to get a few more items checked off that to-do list. Win!

Categories: How-To's