Recently in Version X Category

QR Code Generator for Acrobat


A few customers have asked me recently if they can add a QR Code to a PDF file for each link they have on the page. We all know that PDF files can have links to external material. But, PDF files often get printed… and the last time I checked, you can click on a piece of paper all day long and it won’t execute a hyperlink. However, a piece of paper can display a bar code and most smart phones can read a QR code.


For those of you interested in scripting PDF Portfolios with the new Acrobat JavaScript “Collection” Object, I’ve created a few example utility scripts to demonstrate the features of the new object.

There are now five basic utility scripts bundled into the one, each one demonstrates a different aspect of working with PDF Portfolios or what the API calls “Collections”. To keep things simple, I’ve copied my earlier posts about my Portfolio Utilities to this page. The new feature that allows you to change the initial view of a Portfolio is at the bottom of the post.

The Web Designer’s Guide to Acrobat updated

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I just updated the The Web Designer’s Guide to Acrobat with new information about detecting if the Reader or Acrobat plugin is installed. Withthe recent changes in Lion, plugin detection is more important than ever to ensure a good user experience. I also updated the section on embedding PDF in the browser.

Jump to The Web Designer’s Guide to Acrobat


This article is part two of “Actions in Action at Adobe”. Please read through the first article and familiarize yourself with and install the Video Player Plus before continuing.

Note: Instruction in this post require Adobe Acrobat X Pro


The new Actions Wizard in Adobe Acrobat X can be leveraged to automate repetitive tasks. One such task is the ability to add document level JavaScript and set actions on objects in a PDF document. Because object level JavaScript can only be attached to specific objects, buttons and layers, in this use case, strict naming conventions must be adhered to when authoring documents using InDesign.

Actions in Action at Adobe

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The new Actions Wizard in Adobe Acrobat X can be leveraged to automate repetitive tasks. One such task is the ability to add document level JavaScript and set actions on objects in a PDF document. Basically, you can write an Action to automate the addition of complex interactivity that would otherwise be tedious and prone to human error.

At Adobe we’ve actually leveraged this capability to enable one of our partners to create Dynamic PDF files for our customer success stories. Almost all of the work takes place in InDesign where they’re most comfortable. The final step happens in Acrobat; they simply run an Action that I developed for them. Seconds later, the job is complete.


With the release of the 10.1 update, Acrobat X for Windows provides a sandbox called Protected View. Protected View is another defense-in-depth feature that is tightly integrated with the existing Enhanced Security feature. Protected View in Acrobat leverages the successful sandbox implementation already in place for Adobe Reader while providing a user experience that should be familiar to Microsoft Office 2010 users.

If you are already familiar with what Protected View is, jump to What Developers Need to Know

Acrobat’s Protected View sandbox is similar to Reader’s Protected Mode sandbox and provides equal protection. Just like Reader, Acrobat strictly confines the execution environment of untrusted PDF files and the processes they invoke. Based on user preferences when Protected View is enabled, Acrobat assumes either all PDF files or just PDF files loading from untrusted locations are potentially malicious and confines processing to a restricted sandbox.

Introducing the Billboard Layout


The Billboard Layout was created as an example project for my Developing Custom PDF Portfolio Layouts using Flash Builder 4 series but there’s no reason why non-programmers shouldn’t take advantage of it too. I’ve created a PDF Portfolio template with the Billboard layout already applied that you can download and use.

Billboard Layout with Billboard showing Billboard Layout displaying files

For those of you that miss the Acrobat 9 style Welcome Page, you’ll love the Billboard. I’ve also modified the way that folder navigation works – also to make it work more like Acrobat 9.

Take a look at the Billboard Layout page to download the template and read more about what this new layout does. For reasons I won’t go into on this blog, I’m not permitted to supply the .NAV file for this layout. If you want access to the .NAV, you’ll need to download the source code for the project and build it yourself. Don’t worry, it’s easy and I’ll be posting the source code soon.

Special thanks to the guys over at Ensemble for their help on this one.

Acrobat X SDK is Released and Available for Download


The Acrobat X Software Developer Kit (SDK) is a set of tools that help you develop software that interacts with Acrobat technology. The SDK contains header files, type libraries, simple utilities, sample code, and documentation.

Using the Acrobat SDK, you can develop software that integrates with Acrobat and Adobe Reader in several ways:

  • JavaScript — Write scripts, either in an individual PDF document or externally, to extend the functionality of Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
  • Plug-ins — Create plug-ins that are dynamically linked to and extend the functionality of Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
  • Interapplication Communication — Write a separate application process that uses interapplication communication (IAC) to control Acrobat functionality. DDE and OLE are supported on Microsoft® Windows®, and Apple events/AppleScript on Mac OS®. IAC is not available on UNIX®.

The Acrobat SDK provides support for development on both Windows and Apple Mac OS environments.

Read the full Acrobat X SDK Overview
Download the Acrobat X SDK

Big Changes in the DDE Naming Convention for Acrobat X


In the previous releases, it was possible that a PDF file would not open in the default handler if other applications were open. For example, even if Adobe Reader was set as default handler for PDF files, the PDF files would open in Acrobat if Acrobat was installed and running. This could lead to issues, especially for sandboxing applications.

In this release, the PDF files open in the default handler even if other applications that can read PDF files are open. In the example cited earlier, the PDF now opens in Reader, even if Acrobat is running.

To implement this feature, there has been a change to the DDE naming convention—the DDE server name has been made unique for Acrobat and for Reader. The new naming convention is as follows:

Acroview{A|R}{MajorVersion} where {A|R} refer to Acrobat and Reader respectively.

For example, the name is AcroViewA10 for Acrobat X and AcroViewR10 for Reader 10.

For connecting to previous versions of Acrobat and Reader, the DDE connect string name continues to be “acroview”. You can get the correct name by using the “DDEAPPNAME” macro defined in WinAppSemaphore.h.

NOTE: Any scripts that have hard-coded references to the DDE name will have to be updated.

Please see the Developers Guide to Acrobat X in the list of guides to the left for the most current information about developing with Acrobat X.

Get WOWed by the Acrobat Portfolio SDK

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Take a look at this slightly irreverent “commercial” for the Acrobat Portfolio SDK. We showed this during the Tuesday keynote at MAX. It’s surprisingly informative.