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April 23, 2009 /Research /

How you can influence the future of Acrobat

Periodically, Adobe will do user studies so we can understand how customers are using Adobe and non-Adobe software at work or at home. As part of user research, we’re always looking for good candidates with whom to speak. For information about general Adobe research, you can check out our Adobe User Research page. You can also follow Adobe User Research on Twitter at @adobe_research.

For Acrobat, we are currently recruiting for two user research sessions, in the areas of Forms and PDF Portfolios.

  • Forms – If you need to create and distribute forms or surveys as part of your job (whether you use Acrobat and PDF or whether you use another method), you can apply to participate in our Forms user research by filling in this questionnaire.
  • PDF Portfolios – If you’ve used Acrobat 9’s PDF Portfolio feature, you can apply to participate in our PDF Portfolio user research by filling in this questionnaire.

If you’re accepted to participate in either study, you will receive $150 in American Express gift checks.

We really hope you’ll consider sharing your experiences with the Acrobat team so we can continue to make our software as useful as possible.


Dave Stromfeld, Product Manager

Categories: Research


  • By Wesley Allanbrook - 8:03 AM on April 24, 2009   Reply

    when are you going to address the MDI issue for acrobat 9? You closed the comments to the issue article, i’ve sent in feature requests, and I’ve joined the forums where people are still upset about it, but there hasnt been any more from adobe about it since october/november of 2008.
    Is this being addressed and when can I expect a solution to this very fundamental user interface issue?
    Thank you.

  • By Brian Clark - 8:52 AM on April 27, 2009   Reply

    Same question as Wesley. You closed the comments saying you “heard [us] loud and clear” 7-8 months ago. Any movement on this front?
    My company recently “upgraded” us all to v9 and it’s a nightmare. Baaaad decision; this needs to be remedied. You know what happens to companies when they don’t heed their customers’ basic needs.

  • By Rob R - 6:10 AM on April 29, 2009   Reply

    And although this is banging a drum well banged, I wanted to comment on it simply so you can realise the level of frustration a non MDI interface brings.
    It seems strange to complain about a free product, and expect a right to use it, but if we don’t give feedback like this the more technically inclined will go looking for alternatives to Reader.
    There’s an easy way to gauge how popular it would be if you think of doing this again – ask your devs if they’d be happy for Visual Studio to go the same way, and watch them MDI support it in no matter what the spec says!
    Old style MDI or document tabs; whichever you like. I’d prefer MDI, but tabs may be more useful for some.

  • By Abe A - 2:02 PM on April 30, 2009   Reply

    Just upgraded to 9 Pro, what a mistake, had no idea that MDI was removed, I have dual screens, what a mess. Apparently no one listens, as I google and find this has been an issue for months. Going back to 7.

    [All – As I mentioned back in the March 13 blog post, this is an issue that we’re aware of and that we’re looking into. But to be clear, this isn’t a bug – this is the way Acrobat 9 was designed. Regardless, we’re investigating how we may want to change this going forward. I’ll post an update to this blog when I have an update. Thanks – Dave]

  • By Sepp - 9:12 PM on May 4, 2009   Reply

    We have stuck with Acrobat 6 for many many years now due to several issues and now, through a CS4 upgrade we’re not happy with Acrobat 9.
    Seems that many of the features we NEED have not only been changed, but they have disappeared… not a hint of why….
    Paste in Place is CRITICAL to our business
    MDI is VERY important – and SDI makes Cross Pasting a PAIN!
    The ARROW STYLE in Acrobat 6 is our standard. Versions 7,8&9 are AWFUL – they don’t come to a point? some kind of FLAT badly designed Triangle line thingie….
    Change maybe INEVITABLE, but feature LOSS is not.
    I can say that we are evaluating every product to replace Quickbooks because they don’t listen. We don’t want to add Adobe to the list of companies that makes changes without evaluating the COST of those changes to their users. We can always spend our money elsewhere, though we’d rather not….

  • By HW - 2:44 PM on June 2, 2009   Reply

    We just upgrade our office to version 9 from 6 and people are complaining like crazy about the removal of MDI. We do a lot of document review. They are also complaining because Acrobat crashes when you have too many SDI versions open. Looks like we will need to downgrade the office.

    [HW – As you’ve seen on this blog, we’ve talked about the MDI issues. Open a bug for the SDI crashing issue. Thanks. – Dave]

  • By Joshua S - 8:23 AM on June 10, 2009   Reply

    I would also like to voice my frustration on MDI removal. It would seem that with such a big public outcry, steps would be taken to address the problem. Call it what you may, but all of these adobe users, myself including, do consider this to be a “bug”, it’s changed the way I work with and print files, and not for the better. As a commercial printer, it has caused us so many problems. I wanted desperately to revert back to Acrobat 8, but when we tried that route, it ended up screwing our system up even more due to installation problems. It is such a basic feature, I don’t understand why it can’t be easily addressed in a patch. I’ve been a loyal adobe customer for years and years, and for the most part have always been please and impressed with the innovation that has been put forward. This is the first instance where I’ve felt that not only have you taken a step backwards, but you’re saying – Screw you customer, take it or leave it, thats how we “Designed” the product. Just a terrible idea.

  • By Bryan Hill - 10:48 AM on June 24, 2009   Reply

    My employer mandated an upgrade to Reader 9 to resolve security issues with 8. (I can’t go back to version 8.) I just found there is no option for MDI in version 9, and I cannot begin to express my frustration and disappointment. As I open additional documents, every subsequent window must be repositioned on my monitors. They always open in undesired locations and cover other applications. I use Reader, Excel, and other applications concurrently. With MDI I could position the Reader window where desired and be assured the window position was fixed. I could easily view all my open applications as positioned on the monitors. Now, I am continually moving Reader windows. Alt-Tab switching is inconvenient now and my taskbar is overflowing. This change to SDI-only interface is very disruptive to my work flow. Please reinstate it at the earliest opportunity.

  • By Mick Seaman - 2:32 PM on June 30, 2009   Reply

    Two items of severe frustration with Acrobat Pro 9 when it comes to serious document review. The lack of MDI the most significant, but the ‘floating search window’ is similarly an obstacle to smooth working. I find it amazing that Pro is worse than Reader (used inside a browser) in the latter respect. The temporary fix is to use Reader in Firefox tabs, but it seems inevitable that I will downgrade back to Acrobat 8 as the Reader browser tabs approach doesn’t provide note taking support (naturally). I was hoping that we would get a date for MDI functionality return and also hope that some improvement would be made to search for those of us who are cross-checking against multiple documents. There is no real point in paying for Acrobat unless the heavy duty features work well in serious use.

  • By Bernard Counterman - 5:24 PM on July 9, 2009   Reply

    I recently was updated to Adobe 9 Pro and agree that the lack of the MDI interface is a detrement to the program. I work with some very large PDF files simultaneously. Having them all managed under a single taskbar was convenient.
    I will be requesting that our IT department downgrade my set-up back to v8.0 Pro where the MDI feature is still enabled, and recommend that they investigate with other heavy Adobe users to verify their needs prior to installing v9.0 Pro on any additional computer systems.
    This reminds me of the MS WORD update where they determined that the revision bars, used to track changes, was unnecessary and without consulting the program users removed this feature. That only lasted about a week before they were required to issue a patch to reinstall it into the program.
    The personnel who decided to have multiple taskbars opened in lieu of a pull-down menu has never had 10-15 documents open at the same time.
    The most disturbing feature is that all of the toolbars are repeated at the top of each of the pages. When you are manipulating files (side by side) having two or more sets of toolbars is a total waste of space.

  • By Melissa - 2:32 PM on August 19, 2009   Reply

    Hi David,
    I’m sorry to use this forum, but I’ve spent allllll day trying to figure out who to fix the problem when I get the following message:
    “This document enabled extended features in Adobe Reader. The document has been changed since it was created and use of extended features is no longer available. Please contact the author for the original version of this document.”
    I am a medical student and FINALLY discovered that my secret to success is to take all of my notes on the professor’s syllabi – it lets me keep everything together, no printing of hundreds of pages, etc. I SIMPLY CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT TAKING MY NOTES THIS WAY. For one of the courses (I think it’s just one), I will open the document, make notes, save and close it, open it again, make notes (like comments, add text boxes, highlight), close and save, open again and will get this message. It seems to be quite random though about how many times I can open and modify and save the document.
    Please let me know how to fix this problem – is it something I am doing or something the professor needs to change?

  • By Frank Lee - 8:08 AM on September 14, 2009   Reply

    Please bring back MDI. You will be losing a LOT of customers to other products because of this terrible mistake, and yes it was a mistake on your part. Just say your sorry and fix it already. I am glad I do not own Adobe stock because with moves like this your going to run your company into the ground. If I switch from Acrobat 9, and i am looking already, I will also dump the rest of your programs for fear of you crippling them too.
    Wise up and listen to your client base!

  • By D Hope - 1:54 PM on September 21, 2009   Reply

    I must add my voice to the year old plus complaints about removing the MDI feature. Like many others have stated, without it productivity suffers. Please stop saying it is not a bug. We don’t care that you do not think it is a bug. We do and we would like it fixed. The faster the better. I would hate to have to abandon Adobe for Foxit or the like.

  • By Devin - 3:46 PM on September 28, 2009   Reply

    Is there no patch by Adobe or serious hack by third-party to get MDI feature back in yet?

  • By Please please MDI - 7:51 AM on September 29, 2009   Reply

    Please, please, please bring back MDI. In my line of work I have to view lots of PDFs at once and having 10-20 Acrobats in the taskbar is ridiculous. Grouping windows from the same app is not a good option because it breaks desirable functions of other apps (e.g., Outlook alerts no longer pop up in their own taskbar button so they aren’t as noticeable).
    The removal of this feature seemed bizarre at the time and the amount of time it’s taking to address it is incomprehensible. This would seem to be a basic feature.

  • By Jaap - 6:03 AM on September 30, 2009   Reply

    I can only endorse what the previous persons wrote here::
    Please, please, please bring back MDI.

  • By JK - 5:30 PM on October 26, 2009   Reply

    Add my voice to those calling for the re-instatement of MDI. As an Acrobat Pro user since Pro was first released, I’m staggered and hugely disappointed with the MDI’s removal. Particularly so after reading all Adobe’s “What’s new in Acrobat 9″ documentation, and (correct me if I’m wrong) not finding this mentioned anywhere.
    Try having a dozen or so PDFs open (yes, some users do have a need for this) and see how well Windows’ task bar works then…
    David – we’re “sharing your experiences with the Acrobat team” as requested, precisely so you “can continue to make our software as useful as possible”.
    C’mon Adobe, show your responsiveness to customer feedback (there’s certainly no shortage of it), and bring back MDI as an update ASAP.

  • By Jeff Hutchison - 8:59 AM on October 28, 2009   Reply

    the MDI feature enabled VERY RAPID change tracking between different versions of the same document; example:
    step 1: load old version of document into MDI;
    step 2: load new-version of document into MDI;
    step 3: use CTRL-TAB to alternately display OLD then NEW versions of SAME PAGE of SAME DOCUMENT – the differences JUMP OUT AT YOU like they’re animated.
    This functionality enabled locating and identifying differences EASILY; I miss being able to use CTRL-TAB for this purpose.
    Sincerely yours,
    Jeff Hutchison
    Structural Engineering
    Sierra Nevada Corporation

  • By zilog - 2:12 PM on December 7, 2009   Reply

    Product “upgrades” do not remove features. A dozen entries in my taskbar is unacceptable. Please come to your senses and put back MDI functionality ASAP.

  • By Gerry - 8:13 AM on December 21, 2009   Reply

    I agree with all comments about the poor choice to remove MDI from v9 so have switched to v8.
    Used v7 until our company forced an upgrade to v8 or v9 for security reasons.
    how do I switch to MDI mode in acrobat pro v8?.

    [Gerry – In A8, go to Edit > Preferences > Documents. Then check “Show each document in it’s own window” – Dave]

  • By Jazzgasm - 8:28 AM on December 29, 2009   Reply

    Hey Adobe! Has anyone suggested that you get off your butts and do something about the whole MDI issue yet? What? They have??? In droves, you say? Well FIX IT ALREADY! Yes, we know it’s not a bug. It was intentional. But so was the development of Windows Vista and we all know how that turned out. MDI is absolutely ESSENTIAL to our business. And I’m not talking about a ma and pa hardware store here. I’m talking about a company that does over a billion dollars in business each year. As all employees here use multiple monitor configurations (which is a nightmare with Acrobat 9) and you clearly have no intention of addressing this problem, it is well worth it for us to explore options other than Adobe.

  • By Gerry - 1:13 PM on January 20, 2010   Reply

    thanks Dave, but I had that checked. But by unchecking it now the MDI works.

  • By vinpao - 2:42 PM on January 20, 2010   Reply

    Oh Dave, I’m so delighted that you heard us loud and clear about the MDI!
    What are you planning to do now?

  • By jbryan - 11:42 AM on January 26, 2010   Reply

    So, another update and still no MDI for those of us with multiple monitors who open lots of pdf’s simultaneously. EVERY TIME I open a pdf I have to move it over to my secondary monitor. It got old a long time ago.
    It was dumb to take it out, whatever the rationale was. It wastes a lot of my time. Put it back. Soon.

  • By Fernando - 11:36 PM on February 4, 2010   Reply

    Upgrading clients to Acrobat for security reasons, now without MDI *WE* both have upset customers.

  • By Bernard - 2:05 PM on February 23, 2010   Reply

    I was updated to v9.0 and it only took me 30 minutes to notice that the MDI was removed and no longer an option. Acrobat v9.0 was removed and v8.0 reinstalled.
    I too have occasions where several PDFs are required to be opened at the same time, and when you have these side by side, each document has its own set of toolbars. I can no longer see the document that I need to review.
    I keep on checking to see if any headway has been made regarding reinitializing the MDI feature. I have discussed the lack of this option with out IT personnel and other users who are waiting until this issue is resolved before installing v9.0 again.

  • By chris - 2:09 AM on March 30, 2010   Reply

    come on adobe! give us back MDI!
    company has now reverted to v8 (at considerable time and cost) and won’t be purchasing any further acrobat updates until the feature is re-instated.

  • By Bruce Harris - 5:07 AM on April 7, 2010   Reply

    We skipped Acrobat Pro 6 because it was a train wreck in comparison to 5.5. Now we’re going to skip every version of Acrobat until they bring back MDI. Adobe, don’t be another Quark! We love your products, but we will certainly leave you if you ignore us! You’re on notice!

  • By Donald Griffiths - 7:26 AM on April 14, 2010   Reply

    I cannot find MDI settings.
    Have you lost your minds or your competent staff? I cannot go back to version 7, so I guess I am stuck. I do not care about Apple compatibility.
    Why does Microsoft allow us to do this, but Adobe does not? (Show windows in a single taskbar.)MY taskbar is too cluttered already.
    Please let me know when this option is available again. I WILL NOT purchase your products until it is.
    I hope I have made my point!!!!

  • By Joe - 12:14 PM on April 14, 2010   Reply

    I know this is beating a dead horse per your 2008 blog post and the comments here, but just adding my voice that I am frustrated daily by being forced to use the SDI interface. I have to have 10+ pdfs open at a time to do my work, and SDI Acrobat wrecks my ability to alt-tab switch between documents (the primary way I navigate between applications) because the interface is cluttered with Acrobat windows. “Group similar taskbar buttons” does not fix this.
    It also greatly tarnishes my opinion of Adobe as a company that cares about UI/UX when you have clearly known this is a major issue for 18 months and have not fixed it.

  • By sajal sengupta - 8:43 AM on May 11, 2010   Reply

    please help me? i do not work with adobe reader 9,the document has enabled extended future of adobe reader ,please contract adobe author. please help me.

  • By Ron H. - 7:22 PM on May 25, 2010   Reply

    I can’t believe that so many users are frustrated with not being able to open multiple pdfs in one window and Adobe, who said back in 2008 that they were going to fix it, hasn’t fixed it yet. I am guessing that Adobe will wait to fix it until Acrobat 10 and then we can all pay for another upgrade. I think I will start looking for another product.

  • By Andre - 7:00 AM on June 17, 2010   Reply

    Please bring MDI back. When so many apps go in the opposite direction of MDI and tabbed interfaces, Adobe’s decision to remove it due to some bizarre commonality arguments with Mac platform is beyond belief. Why worry about this commonality? How may people are using Win and Mac simultaneously? Result of your decision is utter chaos on the desktop and no workarounds help a bit.
    BRING MDI BACK! And yes, I’ll buy the next Acrobat 10 version just like I did the 9PRO, as long as the functionality is back – if not, there is no way I’ll be putting any more money into this software no matter how many more bells and whistles you continue to add!

  • By eDiscovery Acrobat User - 1:25 AM on August 11, 2010   Reply

    I absolutely love and depend on Acrobat 9’s Batch processing capabilities for my work in the eDiscovery field.

    However, the fact that there is almost no error handling baffles me. I usually process 20,000 + PDF documents at a time and due to the terrible error handling, I have to babysit Acrobat all night long. Once Acrobat crashes, it is up to me to find where the error occurred and which documents were already processed.

    Please just make it skip the documents that produced errors and show us an error log after processing with the option to retry. Your current log file is very messy and hard to decypher.

    I would also like to request that you add a Cross-reference feature for Bates Labeling. It is a delimited text file with the original document name in the first column, the new document name in the second, and the Beginning and Ending Bates numbers in the third and fourth columns.

    Thank you

  • By famme Loon - 5:15 AM on August 27, 2010   Reply

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  • By Norm Zastre - 9:46 PM on January 16, 2011   Reply

    MDI is a must, no one needs SDI.

    The current situation is absolutely ridiculous and totally unproductive. We will not be upgrade our 50+ licenses until this siutation is resolved.

    Thanks for nothing Adobe.

  • By Multidocs Joe - 3:22 AM on January 11, 2012   Reply

    please fix SDI / MDI issue! we actually bought additional version 8 licenses already!

  • By Francois Blawat - 7:49 AM on April 25, 2013   Reply

    Seriously Adobe just because MAC users cannot do this, does that mean Windows users have to suffer? You may be trying to “save” $$ in programming but seriously, who would not want to open a document in the same window that Acrobat is open in?

    I mean for goodnes sakes, Even when I use File | Open it opens another PDF in my “other” monitor. This is the MOST ridiculous feature removal I have ever heard of.

    You keep saying you “heard us” loud and clear and now 4 years later, NOTHING. We are holding off upgrading because of this very issue.

    Adobe you now either do not care what your customers are saying, or you are basically acting like Congress and WILL do whatever you want.

    Fix this Now!

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