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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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2:47 PM Permalink
April 21, 2014

Get ready: Adobe SendNow is transitioning to Adobe Send

Spring is in full swing around here, people. Trees and flowers are blooming all over the place! It’s a time for new beginnings! A time for new growth! A time for age-old clichés about caterpillars becoming butterflies! Which, incidentally, is why we’re here. On May 12, 2014, Adobe SendNow is turning into a figurative butterfly (and flying away) as we begin our transition to a brand new service: Adobe Send.

Adobe Send is going to be a lot like SendNow in many ways, so all you current SendNow users can look forward to enjoying similar functionality. Primarily, you’ll still be able to send and track large files — plain and simple. That said, Adobe Send is also going to have a sweet new pair of wings: as part of an improved, integrated set of Adobe document services, Adobe Send will make it even easier for you to send and track large files online. Whether your documents live in Acrobat.com cloud storage or on your computer, Adobe Send helps you send them off to wherever they need to go — and lets you keep track of them the whole way there.

So what does all this new growth means for SendNow? For a limited time, the two services will exist side by side to allow for an easy transition. Later this year, however, our old caterpillar will be retiring to make room for the new service.

Don’t worry: all paid SendNow subscriptions will automatically become Adobe Send subscriptions (no work required on your part), and we’ll give you a heads up before we ask you to make the switch. Once we have more information for you, we’ll share it here and in the SendNow forum. In fact, we’ve already posted a few FAQs to help cover the basics and make the upcoming transition as easy as possible for you. If you have any questions that aren’t answered in the FAQ, just post them in the forum and we’ll answer them as quickly as possible.

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5:00 AM Permalink
April 4, 2014

Where do I sign? Just ask the new Electronic Signature Guide.

I know we’re all independent people of above-average intelligence, and I know we all have the answer to every question all the time. We never need any help at all. Right? Well… sure, but even those of us who are omniscient just want someone to give us the answers every once in a while. For instance, how can I sign a document if I don’t have a printer? How do I  check up on a document that needed to be signed two days ago? What the heck is a digital certificate? Why is the sky blue!?

Well, smarty-pants, you can relax: The new Electronic Signature Guide can help you select the best option for your signature needs (we’ll have to get back to you about the color of the sky, though).

Electronic Signature Guide

Not unlike the the PDF Editing Guide that the Acrobat User Community published earlier this year, the Electronic Signature Guide walks you through the decision making process step by step: who needs to sign the document? What tools are available to you? Do you have any particular way you’d like to apply a signature to the document? As long as you can answer these questions (or even guess at them), the Electronic Signature Guide will tell you exactly how to get that signature done. Isn’t it nice when you don’t have to be the one with all the answers?

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8:10 AM Permalink
April 3, 2014

Digital Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is finally here! We survived the onslaught of polar vortexes, heavy snow, hard rain and traffic delays—and now an end to the brutally cold is officially in sight. Just as spring cleaning refreshes the home and rids it of clutter, we thought we’d try a different spin on this yearly ritual. If you organize your computer like we do (and we use the term “organize” loosely here), your desktop is filled with PDF files you haven’t opened in months, or multiple, redundant copies of files that are taking up valuable space. Here are few ways we’re digitally cleaning up our filing system in the spirit of springtime:

Cleaning Tip #1: You have a bunch of similar files (but different file types) and you want to combine them all into one file for easy storage and access. Easy. With our drag and drop feature you can merge and organize documents, spreadsheets, images, emails, web pages, and more in a single PDF file that’s easy to share and simple to search.

Cleaning Tip #2: Why store documents on your computer when you can stash ‘em in the cloud? Acrobat.com lets you keep your files organized, and even lets you access them across locations and devices through Acrobat XI, Adobe Reader, and the Adobe reader mobile app for Android and iOS. This accessibility will make doing business from anywhere as easy as a spring breeze.

Cleaning Tip #3: When working with so many documents, it can be easy to lose track of what, exactly, you’re trying to accomplish with each one. Prepare PDFs consistently and make sure you never miss a step by creating an automated Action to complete PDF preparation tasks quickly and correctly every time. You can even create an Action to make your documents archive-friendly, helping you get them off your desktop easily.

Cleaning Tip #4: Being organized means knowing where your files are, but also knowing what’s in them. Make PDF files easily accessible so you can navigate longer files quickly and always find what you need—even when it’s way back on page 147. With tagged PDF files you can make your documents easy to navigate and, as an added bonus, accessible to people who might be reading your document with a screen reader for assistance. Once tagged, use structured bookmarks to create various TOCs and navigation techniques to make finding content in a PDF as easy as picking daisies!

Cleaning Tip #5: We’ve seen PDF files get as big as 92,000 pages. To avoid wasting time sifting through “junk” in your files, extract only the pages you need and combine them in a separate PDF. This way, you can create a go-to master PDF that will save you time and sanity.

Don’t be stubborn like Mother Nature has been this year. Spring cleaning results are well worth the effort put in, and help provide a fresh start for better (and warmer) days ahead. If you’ve caught the spring cleaning bug and just have to know what else you can do, visit the Acrobat Community to learn more about all the time-saving features we have to offer.

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8:02 AM Permalink
April 2, 2014

Support for Office 2003 Ending

Along with our previous announcement regarding the Microsoft Windows XP operating system, Adobe will soon be ending support of Office 2003 with Acrobat Standard X and XI and Acrobat Pro X and XI. This is in conjunction with Microsoft ending their support of Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. The next official quarterly update for these Acrobat versions (which is expected May 2014) will be the last ones tested on and released for Office 2003. Once that quarterly update is released, Adobe’s official support for Office 2003 will come to an end too.

As with Windows XP,  you can continue to install and/or use Acrobat with Office 2003 if you wish to, even after the official support ends. But again, this means that any updates or patches for Adobe Acrobat will no longer be tested or supported with Office 2003. In addition, Adobe will not provide technical support for problems specific to running Acrobat with Office 2003. This is also applicable to our enterprise customers who have purchased maintenance/upgrade and support plans, and/or have a contract that entitles them to maintenance/upgrade and support from Adobe.

You can find information on Microsoft’s Office lifecycle here. Or if you have questions for us or the wider community of users and experts, you can post those to the community forums for Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Acrobat continues to integrate with Microsoft software in many useful and powerful ways. If you’d like to check on which versions of Microsoft Office your installation of Acrobat works with, head on over to the compatibility matrices here.

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7:03 PM Permalink
March 27, 2014

Acrobat Social Media User of the Month

We really appreciate the love we receive from our Acrobat communities — so much so that we’ve decided to highlight one user each month as way to show our thanks, while also highlighting the many different ways to use Adobe Acrobat.

Our first super-user we chose to feature is Dana June.

 

acrobat user tweet

 

She uses Adobe Acrobat to make edits, add notes and write comments all over PDFs. Did you know that was possible? The Acrobat typewriter tool allows you to do just that. It’s a fast and flexible tool that enables you to add comments anywhere on your PDF. This tutorial shows you just how easy it is.

Thanks Dana! We appreciate you sharing with us how you use Adobe Acrobat to get work done. We’re glad to hear that Acrobat is making your work a little easier!

Stay tuned next month for our next post, you just may be the one featured!

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7:22 AM Permalink

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