Posts in Category "Acrobat"

Easy feedback with FormsCentral

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I constantly hear feedback from people needing an easy way to make and collect forms. The funny thing is, all these people have Acrobat XI, which allows them to use FormsCentral, an essential tool for collecting data and distributing surveys.

FormsCentral is kind of the hidden gem associated with Acrobat XI. It allows you to easily create forms by just clicking and designing, dragging and dropping, and using basic menus you know from any word processing program. Let me tell you a few key things in FormsCentral that you could use in your classroom, office, or department and make your life easier. No more collecting paper and tallying them up.

1. Easy to build. You simply can start with a template. You can easily add your own header image. You click a plus (+) sign to add a new field. You check a box if you want it required. How much easier could it get? There is no code involved.

2. Advanced options. Sending email notifications and customize that. You need to collect payments? FC works with PayPal. FormsCentral can also redirect after you submit the form. Or even closed messages can be fully customized. “Advanced” really doesn’t apply to this as far as difficulty though. It’s all for efficiency.

3. Save as PDF form. Need to send to someone in a PDF and not in a web browser? Just click File–>Save as PDF and FormsCentral will build an Acrobat form for you. FormsCentral can automatically collect responses from PDFs as well!

4. Spreadsheet results / Reports. (figures 1/2) This is the heart of FormsCentral. The ability to see results in a very familiar-looking spreadsheet and being able to save to PDF or Excel is huge for the ability to take the results and the data outside of FormsCentral. You can even customize a summary report and show off the charts in a fun way or even export each chart as a file. (see screenshots below)

If you haven’t hopped in the driver seat and given FormsCentral a test drive, now is the time to try it. As educators, we could all use this to learn more about our departments, classes, and students. It’s a little tool with a lot of power for education and could save tons of time and give you an insight into your institution.

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Adobe EchoSign Can Save Your Organization Huge Time and Money

EchoSign Testimonial

Early in the year I received an unsolicited email from a customer that works for a large Texas independent school district touting the benefits of their EchoSign purchase.

 “Today I did a MegaSign of about 1,000 Letters of Reasonable Assurance to our at-will, non-contract employees who don’t work during the summer (we send about 3,000 total).  A process that used to take a team of people months to complete (printing letters, stuffing envelopes, mailing, tracking, receiving, logging, scanning…)

with EchoSign, I was able to do this myself.  I had about 40% back before I left work (with an average processing time of 21 minutes).  Incredible!”

Mike

Mike went on to explain that receiving signed Letters of Reasonable Assurance is extremely important in that it protects schools from paying unemployment during the summer break.  Without the letter, he explained,  districts would “pay enormous sums in unemployment.”

 So…what is EchoSign?

Adobe EchoSign provides an extremely easy-to-use electronic signature solution.

EchoSign can work with all kinds of documents.  The most common document formats used with EchoSign are:

  • PDFs
  • Word Documents
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • Common image formats

With EchoSign there is no need for your customers (or students, faculty, and parents) to download or signup for anything. They can use their mouse, stylus, or finger to sign the document (heck, they can even type their name into a field and have EchoSign create a signature for them), and you don’t have to worry about what device or browser is supported.  EchoSign works on all browsers, across all devices.

How can teachers use EchoSign?

As a parent, I would love for my child’s school to offer a digital signature option.  For example, say my daughter’s teacher is charged with collecting fieldtrip permission slips from the entire 7th grade.  The teacher can use EchoSign to easily complete and manage this task. The teacher would simply upload the form into EchoSign, add a signature field (drag and drop simple), and send the digital permission slip out to the parents.

I would receive an email on my mobile device, open the email, click a link and sign my daughter’s permission slip (with my finger – touch devices are amazing)!   For those parents that do not have a touch device they can use their mouse or a stylus.  I submit the permission slip and receive a signed copy within seconds.  The teacher also receives a signed copy (everyone is happy).

For those that don’t immediately sign, the teacher can setup reminder emails that reoccur on a set schedule.  The teacher no longer has to deal with last minute phone calls with parents scrambling to find and return important school documents.

What about security?

“But how do I know that it truly was the parent that signed the permission slip?”

That is a great question!  If you think about it, e-signatures provide more security than the paper-based permission slips that the students are returning. The teacher has no idea that the paper-based document truly reflects the parent’s signature or a forgery.  However, with an e-signed document, the parent must log into their email account (presumably using a password) to view the document. An email-based delivery mechanism provides a layer of security that the student’s backpack does not.

More on EchoSign security…

How about complex signature routing?

No worries! EchoSign has you covered.

I’ve also viewed more than a few documents that require complex signature routing.  For example, a change-of-course form may require a signature from the student, professor, student advisor, and the dean of the college.  If each person takes a day it can easily take a document almost a week to process.  EchoSign can handle that kind of complex routing as well, and greatly reduce the time it take to process multi-signature documents.

Below are examples of common documents that require a signature.

  • Contracts
  • HR Documents
  • Permission Slips
  • Parent/Teacher/Administrator documents
  • Progress Reports
  • University change-of-course forms
  • Student Parking Forms
  • Student Housing Forms

…and the list goes on!

Fantastic!  How can I get it?

Hold your horses pardner!  You may want to speak with your Adobe Account Manager.

Ways to purchase EchoSign…

  • Signup for EchoSign electronic signature software online (great for individuals or small teams)
  • Speak to your Adobe Account manager (best for larger departmental and institutional purchases).  For larger purchases, I highly recommend speaking to your Adobe account manager, as they can make recommendations based on your organization’s needs and also provide you with the best pricing options.  

When you think of your organization’s document workflow think of the headaches you experience when trying to get paperwork signed and returned on a TIMELY basis.

Bottom-line… EchoSign has huge potential to save your institution time and money (while saving you from a huge document-induced migraine)!

 

Scott Trudeau
Senior Solutions Consultant, Adobe Inc.
Education

For more Adobe Tips, Tricks, and Information Follow me on Twitter @scott_trudeau 

www.scotttrudeau.com

Publish Photoshop 3D layers to PDF

In my last tutorial I showed you how to take an image and apply that image to a 3D object in Photoshop. In this tutorial I will show you how to publish a 3D layer to PDF.  Anybody with Acrobat Reader will then be able to interact with your 3D object.

 

  1. Create a 3D object in Photoshop (tutorial here)
  2. Right click on the 3D layer
  3. Select Export 3D layer
  4. Name the file and select U3D from the Format dropdown menu
  5. Click the Save button
  6. The 3D Export Options dialogue box will open.
  7. Make sure that JPEG is selected from the Texture Format dropdown
  8. Use ECMA1  for the U3D Options

 

The steps above exported the Photoshop layer to a U3D file.  The U3D file can now be published to PDF.

 

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat X
  2. Select File>Created PDF>From File
  3. Browse to the U3D file you saved earlier
  4. An Insert 3D dialogue box will open.  Select OK (You may want to check out the “Advanced” options by clicking on the Show Advanced Options check box.  There are some neat options to play around with).
  5. Click on your 3D object to interact with it.  Also notice the 3D tool bar that appears.

Cool!  Now anybody with Acrobat Reader can view your 3D content!

Updated Adobe Acrobat X PDF Portfolio Layout

In Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro we introduced PDF portfolios with which you were able to create a welcome screen as well as a banner at the top of the navigation screen for a portfolio title, contact information, head shot, etc. With Adobe Acrobat X Pro we made changes to the layout options which removed these features. Well the good news is that Joel Geraci, Adobe Acrobat technical evangelist, has created an Adobe Acrobat X billboard layout adding these features back in. Check out Joel’s blog and download the file!

Adobe in Education: An Accessibility Guide

In recent years, the Education community has focusing increasingly on making all web content accessible to individual individuals with disabilities. Adobe® is an industry leader in accessibility and supports the creation of outstanding web experiences by encouraging web developers to produce rich, engaging content that is accessible to all. Adobe has also been focusing on this important task by improving and facilitating accessible content creation and consumption with its powerful design applications and productivity tools.

The information below references resources on our website that can help educators and authors understand the need for creating accessible content for an increasing diversity of users and screens. Not only will content creators learn more about how to optimize their workflows and effectively design a document that not only looks good, but they can also improve the experience as all users on a variety of screens and devices.

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility involves two key issues: first, how users with disabilities access electronic information, and second, how web content designers and developers enable web pages to function with assistive devices used by individuals with disabilities.

For the user with a disability, the challenge is to identify tools that provide the most convenient access to web-based and other electronic information. For the web content designer/developer, the challenge is to remove the obstacles that prevent accessibility tools from functioning effectively. In many cases, these challenges are relatively simple to overcome, but sometimes the solutions require some additional thought and effort.

For more information on Accessibility visit: http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/gettingstarted/accessibility.html

I have heard of Section 508 and the 508 standards. What are they?

Accessibility policies vary from country to country, but most countries, including those in the European Union, have adopted standards based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). In the United States, Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act mandates that web content maintained by the federal government be made accessible to people with disabilities. This law is based on W3C Priority One checkpoints. Find more information at: http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/508standards.html

Where can I find the latest information about Adobe products and accessibility?

A great start to find out the latest information on Accessibility at Adobe is http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/. There you will find links and resources to examples compliance news, blogs, case studies, tips and tricks and more.

I have heard that Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader are very useful for working with and reading accessible content. Is that true?

Yes, unlike other PDF tools, Adobe® Acrobat® 9 and Reader® 9 software continue the tradition of providing strong accessibility support for Adobe PDF documents and forms. Acrobat 9 features a number of built-in accommodations for people with disabilities as well as support for users of assistive technologies.

Where can I find more detailed information about Adobe Acrobat and Reader’s roles in facilitating the creation and displaying of Accessible documents?

Are there any Adobe blogs that focus on Accessibility news and events?

Yes, visit the Adobe accessibility blog and join the discussion at: http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility/

Which Adobe products support and encourage authors and developers in the production of accessible content?

Adobe seeks to provide products that support and encourage authors and developers in the production of accessible content. The latest information on these products can be found by clicking on these links.

Where can I find information on other Adobe applications and accessibility?

For information on additional applications please visit the Adobe Accessibility website at: http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/

Adobe Announces Free eSignature Service

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Adobe’s new cloud-based eSignature Service was announced recently as a convenient way to get verifiable digital signatures on PDF documents quickly, securely, and conveniently. This service is based on our LiveCycle server-side technology that supports digital signatures and workflows.

The Service is easy to set up and use. All you need is a free Adobe ID. If you already have one or an Acrobat.com account, you are ready to use the service.

This new service has great potential for improving efficiencies and providing certified documents for a wide number of Education-specific requirements. Read more on the Acrobat In Education blog.

Very cool: Batch Printing PDFs (and other files) using Acrobat 9

An advantage of working with PDFs is reducing our dependence on the printed paper which is costly and not environmentally friendly. However, there are times when you’ll need to print your PDF document and that is as easy as clicking the Print icon in Acrobat or Reader. But what if you’d like to batch print PDFs and other files from Acrobat? No problem, Adobe’s Rick Borstein has a blog (Acrobat for Legal Professionals) that outlines batch printing PDFs (and other files) using Acrobat 9.

Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and PDF: Happy Together!

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Connect Pro  Loves  Acrobat / PDF

In case you haven’t heard there is a new version of Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro. "Connect" is a cornerstone of Adobe’s K-12 and higher education solutions for web conferencing, online collaboration, and e-learning. Previously, in a meeting room Share pod you were able to upload and deliver SWF, JPEG, MP3, FLV, and PPT content. Support for PPTX (Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 and later) was spotty and if you wanted to share other types of files – say a Word document or a PDF file – you had to share your desktop.

Good news! The current version of "Connect" supports both PPTX and PDF in a Share pod. Since you can convert pretty much any file type to PDF, you can now upload and share it live or make it available on-demand in a meeting room. When you share a PDF you can flip though multiple pages, zoom in/out, move around within a magnified document, rotate, and even initiate a Whiteboard session using the file as a backdrop.

Every navigation option you choose within the shared PDF will be synchronized on attendees’ screens. What’s even better is that you can "unsynch" the file and attendees can interact with it independently on their computers. They even have the option to download the PDF locally to their computer. One last thing – the PDF files you share will not only maintain visual fidelity, but also preserve any web hyperlinks that were added.

Updated Teacher Resources

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The lesson plans on the Adobe Digital School Collection teacher resources web page have been updated to include sample project assets and technical guides for the new release of Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 and Adobe Premiere Elements 8. There is also a new resource page tailored for Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 and netbooks. Finally, the Adobe Education SE team is hard at work creating video tutorials taking you through some of the lesson plans/projects. These can be found on Adobe TV.

Time to Revist Adobe TV

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Adobe TV Remote Control Image

 

If you’ve never visited Adobe TV before or haven’t been back for awhile, I highly suggest checking it out. Adobe TV is your “one stop shop” for free Adobe tutorials, demos, tips & tricks, and general design inspiration. There are various channels which are comprised of different programs, each with multiple episodes (short videos) to choose from – most are less than 5 minutes in length.

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