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Shared Reviews, Shared Success

When you are trying to get a project done at work and need input from others, what do you do? One option is to attempt to get everyone into a room to review that document or diagram in person. But we know that isn’t always practical with busy schedules and with colleagues or clients in different locations or time zones. This scenario plays out in organizations across industries since a majority of work in this day and age requires team effort and collective brainpower. More after the break…

Some examples of this use case include:

  • Reviewing product packaging designs
  • Commenting on draft copy of a book
  • Surveying engineering drawings for construction sites
  • Soliciting feedback on technical documentation
  • Editing a client presentation before the sales pitch
  • Redlining a legal contract

In our discussions with users, we learned the myriad of ways these review workflows are accomplished today. Some methods involve manual pen and paper markups of drawings or other documents. Some people send comments in the body of an email to the author of a document. Some may directly edit the files and overwrite or manually highlight changes. Others will use Word to track changes. Regardless, the all too common result is that the author receives back many emails or versions of the original file which leaves a confusing trail of input to reconcile.

In this exchange between the author and the reviewers, there are other challenges that arise. These include:

  • Difficulty in tracking comments and managing review workflows
  • Reviewers can’t see each other’s comments which results in duplicated effort
  • Difficulty in collaborating with remote users
  • Minimal control by the author to easily decide what changes to make
  • Inability to easily review a variety of file types

Shared Reviews in Acrobat was designed to address these challenges head on. With Shared Reviews, you can centrally manage reviews through a network folder, SharePoint workspace, or a WebDAV server. In Acrobat 9, we also introduced as a new repository to store and track your review comments. You just need a free Adobe ID to use the hosted service. The back and forth exchange is cut down, feedback is immediate, and efficiency is gained through Shared Reviews used in conjunction with Acrobat’s breadth of commenting tools. One Acrobat customer reported a 50% time savings when switching to Shared Reviews from more manual methods.

With Shared Reviews, reviewers don’t have to work online through a browser to publish or synchronize new comments. Users with Acrobat Pro or Pro Extended can enable free Reader users to easily participate in the review.

In talking with Acrobat customers, people voiced that they want high efficiency and management options in the review process. Initiators wanted tighter control of review deadlines. All of this became more apparent in Acrobat 9 with a streamlined wizard, enforced deadlines, and an improved Tracker to centrally manage all of the reviews you’ve participated in and initiated. For more tips and tricks about setting up or participating in reviews using Acrobat, you’ll want to check out Ali Hanyaloglu’s blog The Same Page. And now that we’re on the same page, give Shared Reviews a whirl in Acrobat 9 and let us know what you think.

Amy Wang, Acrobat Product Manager

Categories: News, Views & Updates


  • By Michelle Crawford - 8:27 AM on June 3, 2009  

    This works great, but have a problem with reviewers using Adobe Reader 9. They can markup but can’t or don’t have the option to publish their markups.

    [Michelle – If you send a file for Shared Review, then reviewers with Reader can add and publish their comments. You can do this in Acrobat 9 by selecting Comments > Send for Shared Review. If however you go through Comments > Enable for Commenting and Analysis in Adobe Reader, then recipients can add comments but will need to send you the file back with those comments. They will not be able to publish comments directly to or another server so that everyone can view them. – Amy]

  • By Ganesh Ramasivan - 5:43 AM on September 6, 2010  

    The shared review feature is just great. But, is there an API available to peform the same function. Your feedback is appreciated.