In Acrobat 9 we decided to take a fresh look at document comparison. Customers indicated a need for comparing documents across revisions generally associated with a review workflow. They wanted to save time by only reviewing parts of the document that had actually changed. They also wanted to make sure they did not miss any changes that had occurred. This need appeared across document types, job function and industries.
A horizontal workflow requiring a consistent experience across document types? If that’s not Acrobat territory I don’t know what is. More after the break…
Our goal was to create a simple, yet powerful tool which could generate meaningful compare results on the wide variety of documents which can be converted to PDF. So that is why we worked on document comparison but how did we make it great?
Some example include:
- We give users flexibility in terms of what kinds of changes they want to see. For example, you can decide to see or not to see text formatting changes. You can make these decisions after the compare has occurred and those changes appear or disappear on the fly.
- We are using algorithms which are optimized to run on different types of source documents like text documents, slide decks and images. For example, when comparing PowerPoint presentations we can detect that slides have been moved and we compare the correct slides to each other. In text documents words can flow freely from one page to the next so we detect moves differently.
- We optimize compare results for different types of content like text, images, or tables. For example, when showing image changes, we highlight the areas of the image which have changed. When you mouse over those areas, we show you how the old image appeared.
- We used the existing annotation framework so that compare can leverage the power of Acrobat. After all, what do you do once you know what the changes are? Compare can be used seamlessly with other Acrobat workflows like shared reviews, real time collaboration and more.
We welcome any comments or suggestions so please give Compare a try and tell us what you think!
Carlos Araya, Acrobat Product Manager