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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
December 5, 2013

Attention SendNow Customers: Head to your browsers!

Announcement for all Adobe SendNow customers: 

As part of several functionality upgrades being made over the next few months, the SendNow service soon will only be accessible and usable as a web app, from Acrobat and Reader, and from Microsoft Outlook. Beginning December 12, 2013, SendNow will no longer be offered as an AIR-based desktop application. If you’ve got the SendNow desktop app installed, now’s a good time to remove it from your computer (uninstall instructions here) and continue your SendNow activities with the SendNow web app: http://sendnow.acrobat.com. We recommend that you bookmark that page for easy access.

Just to be clear: you’ll still be able to send and track all your large documents and multimedia files with SendNow; you’ll just be doing your sending and tracking from the web app. You can also send files directly from Acrobat & Reader or Microsoft Outlook and then track them in the web app. The point is, you can go on using SendNow!

We’ll share more information here on the blog once we’ve got information to share; keep your eyes on this spot over the next few months to keep in the loop. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions!

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11:02 AM Permalink
November 19, 2013

A Match Made in PDF Heaven: Adobe Acrobat & Microsoft Office

Today’s blog post comes from Lori Kassuba of the Acrobat User Community. Thanks for the tips, Lori!

With Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office, there are many tricks you can perform with your PDF files. No more flipping back and forth between applications, because with one-click ease you can create files, send them in an email, start a shared review, or even run an Action directly within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Check out these high-performance tips for working with Acrobat and Office on Windows.

Tip #1: Incorporate edits and track changes in Word from an Acrobat shared review. PDF is a great format to send to others for their feedback, because anyone using the free Adobe Reader can send you their comments electronically. Incorporating the comments back into Word, however, can get messy. You can clean up the whole process simply by round-tripping all the comments. Learn more here.

Tip #2: Import data from an Excel spreadsheet directly to a fillable PDF form. As Acrobat User Community Expert Karl Heinz Kremer  will tell you, it’s just a matter of matching names between Excel and Acrobat to eliminate needless data entry in your forms. Simply match the names that you are using in your PDF form so that they match the column names in Excel, and your form data will flow seamlessly from one application to the other. Learn more here.

Tip #3: Build a client PDF Portfolio from information in Outlook. We all know that Outlook can do so much more than email, with all the calendar and task tools. But how can you take a snapshot of all this important information? This is where the Combine dialog in Acrobat comes in handy. You can build PDF Portfolios from all your emails, calendars, and tasks in Outlook. Lean more here.

 Tip #4: Save your PDF slides as editable PowerPoint presentations. Can’t find your original PowerPoint presentation files, only a PDF copy? No worries, now you can save your PDF to PowerPoint and preserve critical items like background layouts, formatted text and tables, bulleted lists, speaker notes, and even transitions using Acrobat XI Pro. Learn more here.

Tip #5: Streamline the process of creating accessible PDF files from Word. With just one-click in the Acrobat Ribbon in Word, you can be steps closer to creating content that is accessible to those with disabilities. Sure, it’s easy to tag a PDF file when you create it using the Acrobat Ribbon in Word, but did you know you can also run the Acrobat “Make Accessible” Action directly from Word? This handy Action will take the guesswork out of creating accessible PDF files. Learn more here.

Tip #6: Copy a table in Acrobat to Excel and maintain the layout. Tired of getting irregular columns and rows when you paste a table from your PDF document to Excel? Learn more here about how to maintain table layouts when pasting or exporting data to Excel.

 

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11:56 AM Permalink
October 14, 2013

FormsCentral Pro Tip: “For Internal Use Only”

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve encountered a few different individuals who’ve asked me the same interesting question: they had to add a section to their forms that wouldn’t be filled out by the form respondents, but by the people who’d be working with the data. This would be the section you sometimes see on forms called “For Internal Use Only”; it’s a way for administrators and data collectors to categorize or qualify form responses as they read through the submissions. How could they do that with FormsCentral?

As we all pondered the issue, it occurred to us that this was a really, really easy thing to do: all you need to do is add a few extra columns in the response table in the “View Responses” tab. Here’s what I mean:

Internal Use Only columns

All I had to do was add a few extra columns at the end of the response table; I colored them red so I’d know where the form stopped and where my internal-only information began. In this example, the columns were to write down a student’s grade on the quiz, who graded the quiz, and any extra notes about the student’s work. (It’s also worth noting that since the FormsCentral response table supports basic formulas, you could use these columns to compute data using the responses to the form. Fancy!)

The extra columns also allow you to filter your responses according to your own categories instead of having to choose from the questions people answer on your form. If you create a list of categories to apply to each form response as they come in – for example, a grading system like A, A-, B+, B, and so on – you can then go back in and filter the data to show only those quizzes that received grades of A- or better; basically, you’re filtering data according to information you applied to the responses after they were submitted. Here’s how you format a column to restrict the entry options:

  • Open up the “table” menu; it’s the third button from the left when you’re in your View Responses tab:

"Table" menu

  • Click “Choices”, then click “Include a list of choices…”:

Include List of Choices

  • Add choices to populate the list that you’ll be able to choose from when categorizing form responses; when you’re done, click “Close” to return to your responses.

Add Choices

  • Back in your response table, use the drop-down that appears in the selected cell in that column:

Drop down of choices

Forgive me for being a FormsCentral geek for a minute here, but I think that’s SO COOL.

What makes this so helpful is that these columns won’t show up on the form, so there’s no risk of your form respondents seeing the categories or criteria you’re using to organize the submissions; whether you’re grading quizzes, fielding employment applications, or just tagging data, it’s a great way to keep your responses organized and neatly filed on your own terms.

Psst.. do you have a FormsCentral use case you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear it! Let us know how you’re using FormsCentral by leaving a comment below.

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5:59 AM Permalink
September 26, 2013

Adobe Acrobat: 20 Years of Innovation

When Acrobat first came out, the world was a different place. This was 1993, when computers were just starting to make their way into people’s homes, when phones were still stuck on the walls, when mullets were still kind of cool. Oh, how things have changed. And yet, Acrobat has been solving problems for people every step of the way.

In the early days, the thing that Acrobat did that was so revolutionary may seem commonplace to us now: with the brand new Acrobat and PDF, it became possible to view a document exactly as intended both on screen and in print. Doug Hanna, a long-time Acrobat community expert and early user, sums up the kind of thing many people were thinking back in the early-mid 1990s:

“Cool! I could look at the output without having to print it. Nifty!” 

Nifty is right! But for those of us who have never lived in a world without an inkjet printer sitting on our desks, this might not seem too groundbreaking. But imagine trying to print a document before technology existed to allow us to see on a monitor what was going to come out of the printer; nightmarish possibilities. Even so, as late as 1997, some print professionals were still skeptical that PDF files and Acrobat could survive in the print world; as Acrobat expert Jean-Renaud Boulay shared with us about an early experience: “I tried to explain to my boss the benefits of a PDF based workflow…’It has no future! We will always need XPress to produce films with the imagesetter,’ he claimed. This print shop is closed now.” Even the skeptics soon learned that PDF and Acrobat were here to stay.

Acrobat and PDF files quickly became the way to share information – whether you needed to print the file or not. And this is where things start to get even more interesting; the PDF file was envisioned as a file format that could be used by anyone to view content on just about any screen – no printing necessary, no differences in format for different operating systems. (We say again: Nifty!) As PDF files became more commonplace, printing a file was not the only way to share the content; you could just send the PDF file to someone to view on their own computer screen.

But the innovation didn’t stop there; far from it. Not only were we sharing content with PDF files, these same files allowed that content to be used digitally and efficiently with the added capability of OCR, or Optical Character Recognition. A PDF file, though it looked just like an image of text, could actually recognize that image as text, opening up a whole world of possibilities for PDF content. Duff Johnson reminisces:

“It was early 1995. Researching technology for a new business, I happened across Adobe’s Acrobat Capture 1.01; software to convert scanned pages into searchable PDF files. I’ll never forget the first time I swiped a mouse over a scanned page to highlight OCRed text behind the image. Wow! It was a true light-bulb moment. I realized this document format could bridge hundreds of years of hard-copy habits with Internet technologies.”

So it was: Acrobat Capture became another facet of Adobe Acrobat, which developed into the number one software for creating and working with PDF files: viewing your content, sharing it, printing it, or reusing and editing it all became possible and easy in a way no one could have imagined in the years before 1993. These days, we print documents less often because we have such easy access to screens wherever we go: PDF files are all over the Internet, on our computers, and with the relatively recent advent of the Adobe Reader mobile app, on our phones and tablets that never leave our pockets and purses. This free and easy use of content is facilitated in great part by the document format that made content accessible on any machine; John Warnock’s original vision for the PDF file conceives of a format that can “…capture documents from any application, send electronic versions of these documents anywhere, and view and print these documents on any machine.” Who could have known that twenty years later, this vision would continue to be the guiding force behind innovations that push electronic documents inexorably towards the future of information exchange?

PDF files have lifted us from the printed page to the screen, and from the screen to the cloud. It hasn’t always been simple, but everyone responsible for Adobe Acrobat – from the engineers and product team, to all the printing and document professionals who sent in (and still send in) requests and bugs, to the early adopters and experts who have spread the word and pushed the PDF format forward, to all of you who use PDF files every day – has been a part of that movement. We’re so grateful to each and every one of you for being a part of this movement, and we’re proud to keep moving forward for what we hope will be another two decades of innovation.

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5:56 AM Permalink

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