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August 20, 2014

How well do you really know your PDF file?

It’s time you knew: No matter how long you’ve been working on that PDF file, it may be keeping some secrets from you. Sure, you wrote the copy, formatted the images, arranged them very nicely on the pages, and then exported to PDF. It seems like a perfectly nice file, not the type that’d withhold information or anything like that. And yet… nearly every PDF file has information that you can’t see just by looking at the page (don’t worry, it’s not at all sinister). Let me tell you what I mean.

When you create a PDF file, you’re doing more than just adding “.pdf” to the filename. Not only does the PDF file retain information about where it comes from and how it was made, it can also include layers: text that you might continue editing in Acrobat; images that can be exported or edited in external apps; tags and structure to make sure that PDF is accessible; even hidden information like attachments or document properties. If you plan to share that PDF file around, don’t you want to know if it’s got personal or sensitive information stored invisibly? Acrobat can find and remove that sensitive content, even if you don’t see it when you’re reading through your newly minted DPF file.

You can also trust Acrobat to help you optimize your PDF. Why share a 350 MB file when you can trim it down to, say, 75 MB? Even if you don’t know what kind of content is safe to remove, Acrobat can take a look under the hood of the PDF file to clear out some of the unnecessary content that’s weighing you down.

The Acrobat User Community has got a lot of great information to help you get to know your PDF file inside and out. Check out some of these tips, and learn what your PDF file is really made of:

Why is my PDF so large?

Get a detailed report of everything that’s in your PDF file

Find (and remove) hidden content in your PDF file

How to optimize a scanned PDF file

Determine the DPI of images in your PDF file

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July 24, 2014

Using JavaScript in your PDF forms = Easy!

jave to pdf

I think we’re all pretty well-versed in just how awesome PDF forms are. First, you create a form in any program you want (I always use InDesign, but Microsoft Word is another great place to start). Next, you convert to PDF and let Acrobat find all the potential form fields (and oh my gosh, that looks like magic every time!). Finally, you add custom JavaScript to make the form fields behave just the way you want them to.

Wait a minute, are you telling me you don’t use JavaScript to customize your PDF forms? Oh my, how embarrassing. You’d better take a look at some of the tips our Acrobat experts have over at the Acrobat User Community and pretend you’ve been doing this all along.*

*Or, frankly, you can do what I do and get someone else to write the JavaScript for you. We’re all good at different things, okay?!

 

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10:39 AM Permalink
June 26, 2014

Best Practices: Converting PDF content to Microsoft Office

When it comes to storing all the content I’ve created, I always use PDF files: they’re searchable, efficient, and easy to share at a moment’s notice. My computer’s hard drive (and my Acrobat.com account) is full of blog posts I’ve written, old data tables, even shopping lists – all stored as PDF files. This is great when I have to search for a file on my hard drive or view it on a mobile device, but what about when I have an old piece of writing that I want to edit or update?

The easiest way I know to make whole-sale changes to PDF content is simply to export that PDF (or just a piece of it) to a natively editable format: Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. Acrobat makes it easy to seamlessly convert one of my old blog posts to a usable Word document, or save a data table from a PDF file as an Excel spreadsheet so I can do a few calculations. Acrobat will even recognize common elements in the pages of a PDF file to use as template images in your converted PowerPoint.

So instead of retyping all that content you’ve got stored in a PDF file, why not just export to Microsoft Office? Here are a few tips from our friends at the Acrobat User Community to help you get started. They even have a ready-made tool set so your Acrobat interface will be all set up to support your PDF-to-Office conversions!

Convert PDF to Microsoft Office formats
Export the comments in a PDF file to Microsoft Word
How to convert part (not all!) of a PDF file to Microsoft Office

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May 12, 2014

Adobe Send is here!

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a really exciting new service we were working on: Adobe Send. Well folks, the wait is over! Adobe Send is here, and oh boy, are we glad to see it. It’s got everything you need in a file-sending-and-tracking service:

  • Adobe Send hooks into your Acrobat.com account, so you can send files from cloud storage or from your desktop.
  • The tracking features for personalized links show you exactly who’s previewed the file, who’s downloaded it, and when.
  • Adobe Send even lets your file recipients read most types of files in preview mode — often eliminating the need to download them at all.

If you’re already a SendNow customer, then congratulations – your subscription automatically gives you access to Adobe Send, so you can check out the new service immediately. It’s fully integrated with Acrobat.com and other Adobe document services, so we think you’ll find that you can send and track files even more easily.

Now, for all of you who are wondering what’s happening with the transition from SendNow to Adobe Send, we recommend you start by reading the initial blog post. We’ve also got a few FAQs up in the SendNow forum, so you can read those or post a question of your own for the team. We’ve also put up a brand new Adobe Send forum with a few FAQ and how-to tips, so head on over there if you want to learn more about the new service or ask a question about it.

If you’re curious as to how this new-fangled service looks, here are a few shots of Adobe Send in action – but it’s even better to check out how it works first hand! Go on and send yourself a thing or two at http://cloud.acrobat.com/send.

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April 29, 2014

Adobe Reader: The Perfect Study Tool for Finals Week

reader blog 1

College students know all too well what time of year is fast approaching – Finals Week! Since we can’t buy each and every one of you a mega-sized cup of your caffeinated-beverage-of-choice for those imminent all-night study sessions, we thought, why not try to help you avoid all-nighters altogether?  Oh, who are we kidding – there’s nothing we can do to help you avoid those. But we can help you avoid unnecessary stress!  Here’s a list of Adobe Reader tips and tricks we compiled to help you sort through those lengthy PDFs your professors assigned you to read over the course of the semester. And remember, Adobe Reader is a free service, so you can save your money for … well, realistically, more coffee.

  1. The Read Aloud Function- Are your eyes zapped or are you too tired to actually read what y
    ou were assigned? Let Reader read your PDFs for you. Or even better, if you turn any of your final papers into a PDF, have Reader proofread it using the read aloud function to pick up on any grammatical errors.
  2. The Highlighter Tool- Just like you would in any text book, highlight important phrases, sentences or definitions to easily refer back to so you’re not wasting time searching through text for the important stuff.
  3. The Typewriter Tool- Quickly add comments to your PDF for note taking with Reader’s Typewriter tool. Just select the Add Text Comment tool from the Comments panel, click the Add Text Comment tool, click the page where you want to add your text, and type away.
  4. The Comments Tool- If you’re working on a group project, the comment tool might be the better way to go. It makes collaboration much easier because there is no need to print and mark up.
  5. Reader for Mobile- Don’t be confined to the library, take your files with you wherever you go to maximize your study hours.

With these tools, there’s no need to hit the panic button when you see a 150-page PDF file.  Even better, these are just a few of the tools Reader offers for its users. Check them all out here.  Most importantly—good luck with finals! We know you’ll ace them all with Adobe Reader in your back pocket.

College                        reader blog 2

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12:29 PM Permalink
April 24, 2014

The Best of Both Worlds: When it makes sense to use FormsCentral instead of Acrobat

Being a super-famous international Acrobat mega-star* has its perks. For instance, I get to decide where I want to spend my summer this year: my chalet in the south of France, or my bungalow in St. Lucia?** Wherever I choose to go, I know I’ll be happy.

You might find yourself in a similar decision-making position if you’ve been using Acrobat to work with PDF forms; what about FormsCentral, you might say to yourself? Sure, you can use Acrobat for all your PDF needs (forms included!), but FormsCentral has a few perks of its own when it comes to working with forms. Let me explain what I mean.

First of all, you can use FormsCentral to create PDF and web forms. Publish as an HTML form and people can fill it out in a browser on their laptops, smartphones, or tablets; you can also download the PDF form to broaden your distribution options and let form recipients work offline – something I do when I’m on my little island. You don’t have to choose one format or the other.

Moreover, you can create these forms quickly, easily, and beautifully. When I say it’s “easy”, here’s what I mean: Choose one of the dozens of form and survey templates. Tweak the language, add or remove a question here and there, maybe toss in your logo or change some colors… and you’re ready to go. FormsCentral lets you collect information – on the web or with a PDF form – and look darn good while you’re at it. Let’s check in with ourselves for a second: so far, all you’ve done is logged into FormsCentral and decided which template you liked best – and you’re already close to done. St. Lucia, here we come!

If you’re using FormsCentral to put a form on the web, you’ve also got a few extra options to work with: you can collect payments securely through PayPal, show or hide form fields based on answers to previous questions, or change the language the form communications go out in. You also get to write messages for people to see at different stages: when they submit the completed form, when they get an email confirmation after submitting the form, and when they need extra information while they’re actually filling out the form. You get to talk to your form respondents at every stage of the game. One of the real joys of using FormsCentral, though, is what you see when the data starts rolling in. Real-time responses. Organized automatically in a data table. That you can filter and sort through. I mean… “easy” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Since the data is collected in real time and automatically stored in FormsCentral, you don’t have to lift a finger to collate or organize it. You also get to take advantage of the auto-generated summary reports, which are easy to drop into presentations or reports (again, with no actual work required of you). Sure, life can seem tough when you have to call your staff in Marseilles to let them know you won’t be joining them for baccarat this summer; but when you start using FormsCentral to manage your form creation and distribution, it sure does get a lot easier for you.

*By which I mean, “Sometimes my mom calls me when she needs help with the printer.”

**Obviously, this is not my life. But hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

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