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March 20, 2014

How I learned to stop worrying & love Acrobat’s Advanced Search

I lose things all the time. My keys, my cell phone, every pair of sunglasses I’ve ever owned, and (this one happens to me all the time) important documents that I cleverly stash away somewhere, saying to myself “I’ll remember exactly where I put this, because it’s just so clever.” (Cue face-palm.)

Two weeks later, I’m scrambling around at my desk, shuffling “organized” stacks of other important documents, desperately trying to remember just how clever I am. There’s no denying that in the world of paper documents, I am an agent of chaos. Clever chaos, perhaps, but unmitigated, unforgiving, un-document-finding chaos.

This sad state of affairs does not apply to my digital documents, however, because (ta-da!) I’ve got Acrobat. When I need something that I’ve cleverly stashed on my computer somewhere (“I know, I’ll give document this it’s own folder! Tee hee!”), all I need to do is open up Advanced Search in Acrobat – you can find it in the “Edit” menu in Acrobat. I can enter a search term to apply not just to the PDF file I’ve got open, but to any PDF file I’ve got stored on my computer. I can even search through comments or other document attachments in those PDF files. For super big files (and I mean like 5,000-pages-big), there are also some cool tricks you can use to make the search go more quickly. (Since you’re all Acrobat aficionados, I’m sure you’re all already creating searchable PDF files, right? Right. Let’s move on.)

Even better than searching through my documents is the ability to save my search results to a new PDF or CSV file. Once I’ve run a search with the Advanced Search window, I can tell Acrobat to create a new file from those results that will be a hyper-functional summary of the search. Not only will there be automatically-created bookmarks to show me each instance of my search terms, but the results will link to the relevant files on my computer. As long as I’ve got Acrobat doing the searching for me, I’ll never misplace another document.

On a side note: I’ve asked some of the higher-ups on the Acrobat team to consider adding functionality to Acrobat that would find my sunglasses when I misplace those; I haven’t heard back yet, but I’ll post here with any updates.

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6:53 AM Permalink
February 19, 2014

Changes to Shared Reviews & Form Data Collection

In January 2014 we announced that Workspaces on will be retired next year (in January 2015). As a result of this change, Adobe’s online services at will no longer be an option for hosting Shared Reviews with Acrobat versions 9, X and XI; it will also no longer be an option for collecting forms data in Acrobat versions 9 and X. You will notice the change in Acrobat when we publish the next quarterly update, which is expected on May 13, 2014.

To be clear, neither of these capabilities are being removed from Acrobat: you can still conduct Shared Reviews and you can still collect PDF form responses. Instead of using the option, however, you will need to use your own internal server (such as a SharePoint workspace, a network folder, or, for Shared Reviews, a web server). You can also collect comments and form responses via email. In addition to the existing PDF forms functionality in Acrobat, Adobe FormsCentral is a fantastic way to collect responses for both PDF and web forms.

If you have questions about conducting Shared Reviews or collecting form responses with your own server, you can visit our Acrobat community forum: There are also Acrobat XI quick start guides available to help you get started with shared reviews or forms data collection. For other versions of Acrobat, check out the tutorials at

If you’ve got questions about how this change will affect you, you might want to take a look at our Workspaces Retirement forum. You can read the FAQ about this transition and post any questions you might have.

To stay up to date with the latest news on this front (and others), subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the pod to the right. We’ll be posting here soon about some updates and enhancements you can expect in the coming weeks and months, and you can be one of the first to know about them!

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5:00 AM Permalink
February 13, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday, Acrobat User Community!

Well, we are just brimming with good feeling: not only is it Valentine’s Day (which I observe annually as “Chocolate For Breakfast” day), but it was on this day in 2006 that the Acrobat User Community was born. For the past 8 years, the AUC has been bringing us excellent Acrobat-specific tutorials, tips from dedicated Acrobat experts, and vibrant, helpful conversations in the user forums. We thought we’d take a minute today to offer up a little paean to our friends over at by highlighting 8 of their most-loved Acrobat tutorials – one for every year the site’s been around. Happy birthday, Acrobat User Community, and thanks for all the great stuff you’ve given us over the years!

  1. How to edit text in a PDF file
    We love that you can fix a typo, change a font and even add new text—all without leaving Acrobat.
  2. How to break a PDF into parts
    Why send an entire PDF file when you only want to email one or two pages?
  3. How to edit PDF files
    Still uncertain how to edit PDF files? Then this tip is for you.
  4. How to add page numbers at the bottom of PDF files
    Don’t know how to add page numbers to your  files once you’ve already converted to PDF? No worries.
  5. How to convert PDF to Work, Excel or PowerPoint
    Remember the “good old days” when you had to retype a PDF because you didn’t have the original source doc? Well, thank goodness those days are gone!
  6. How to sign PDF files electronically
    Do yourself a favor today: learn how to sign PDF files electronically. It’s fast. It’s green. It might even start an office romance!
  7. How to edit images in PDF files
    It’s hard to believe anything could be this simple, but it really, really is: Just click the image you want to edit and the tool you need appears in the editing panel. Sweet!
  8. How to edit a scanned PDF file
    The important thing to remember about editing scanned PDF is no matter what your original source document, a scanned PDF is just an image, not editable text. Here’s how to fix that.
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3:00 AM Permalink
January 17, 2014

Bookmarks: Easy functionality and structure for your PDF files

The way I see it, there are two kinds of people who create lengthy PDF files: Those who include bookmarks, and those who don’t.

The individuals who neglect to add bookmarks (and I’m sure this couldn’t be you, because you would never do anything like that) put their readers through inconceivable inconvenience; when those readers need to scroll page by page until they get to chapter 23, they’ll be cursing the document author all the while. I’m sure the first 22 chapters were just fascinating to glance at as they flipped by, but when all these poor readers need is a particular paragraph, it can be a pain in the neck to try and find it without bookmarks.

Now, those of us who do add bookmarks to our PDF files know exactly why it’s a good idea to do so: not only can you mark pages for your own use and come back to them later, you’re doing a favor for anyone who will be reading the PDF file and needs to skip straight to chapter 23. And then back to Chapter 16. And then on to Chapter 144. With bookmarks, you’re empowering your readers to navigate a PDF file just like they might a website or an ebook: with one easy click.

What you might not know is that adding bookmarks actually improves the functionality and accessibility of your PDF documents. Your bookmarks honor the view you were in when you made the bookmark, so when you click it you’ll be taken straight back to the page, section, and magnification you were at originally. You can also use bookmarks to split a PDF file into component pages or chapters. Whoa! All of a sudden, your PDF is structurally intelligent!

There are all kinds of ways to use bookmarks with Adobe Acrobat beyond just marking pages (although that’s still a nice thing to do for your readers); check out these tutorials and Q&A at (you can also post your own question to get an Acrobat expert’s help). You’ll be making structured, navigable PDF files by the end of the day.

How to add PDF bookmarks to a document using Acrobat X or XI

How to create structured bookmarks

How to split a multipage PDF from bookmarks

How can I copy bookmarks from one PDF to another and maintain links?

Is there a way to automatically collapse all bookmarks to the first level?

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8:08 AM Permalink
January 16, 2014

An interactive PDF editing guide? Yes, please!

In a perfect world, you’d never have to edit a PDF file. All the text would be perfect. All the images would be perfect. Even your hair would be perfect. This is the real world, though, and it’s far from perfect; we all have our bad hair days, and sometimes PDF files need to be edited.

While we can’t do much about that haircut, we can help you learn to edit your PDF files. Our friends at the Acrobat User Community have built an interactive and easy-to-use PDF Editing Guide to help you quickly find the editing solution that works for you. All you need to do is tell us what you want to edit (e.g. a word or sentence, or maybe a few pages of a document) and what version of Acrobat you’re using (Acrobat XI or X? Pro or Standard? Maybe you’ve just got Adobe Reader!). The solution-oriented dowsing rod will point you at just the right tutorial you should watch (or read) to learn how to edit your PDF file most efficiently.

Thank you, Acrobat User Community, for bringing us one step closer to that perfect world – or at least the perfect PDF file. Now if only someone would build an online hair de-frizzifying tool…

Acrobat User Community PDF Editing Guide

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9:22 AM Permalink
December 12, 2013

Announcement: FormsCentral and CreatePDF for Teams are retiring

Attention all subscribers to FormsCentral Team and CreatePDF Team:

As of January 15, 2014, team subscriptions to these two services will be retired, and all the seats of existing subscriptions will be converted to individual accounts. For more information, please read the FAQs in our forums:

CreatePDF Team FAQ

FormsCentral Team FAQ

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8:20 AM Permalink

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