5 Things to Think About Before Deploying Adobe Reader or Acrobat X

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On October 18th 2010, Adobe announced Acrobat X and that it would be available within 30 days of the announcement. We’re getting close. In preparation for this revolutionary release, I’ve compiled a list of five things you should be thinking about now, so that your deployment is as seamless as possible.

Do you want to have both Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat installed?

Prior to version X, Adobe did not support a configuration where both Reader and Acrobat are installed on the same system; this is now a supported configuration. If you want to deploy this way, you’ll want to decide which product is the default for viewing PDF files before you deploy them both. When deploying Reader on systems with Acrobat, the installer sets Acrobat, the more functional of the two applications, as the default PDF viewer. If the Acrobat application is an early version such as 6, 7 or 8, opening PDF files can be significantly slower than with Reader X.

If you are an end user and you want to install both Reader X and Acrobat X, install Reader first.

If you are deploying Acrobat and Reader across your enterprise, the upcoming Customization Wizard X will allow you to define the default viewer. I’ll announce the availability of the Customization Wizard on this blog. Please stay tuned.

Migrating Security Settings and Loading Settings from a Server

If you’ve configured the Security Settings in Acrobat 9 and you want to easily migrate them to Acrobat X, you’ll want to export them before you uninstall version 9. One of Acrobat 9.0’s major new security features includes the ability to import and export security settings via .acrobatsecuritysettings files, thereby enabling easier version upgrades as well as configuration of multiple machines. You can use the .acrobatsecuritysettings files from Acrobat 9 to populate the security settings for Acrobat X and even refresh these settings from a server at periodic intervals. Read the Migrating and Sharing Security Settings section of the Digital Signatures & Rights Management in the Acrobat Family of Products document for more details.

Trusted Servers

Adobe introduced Enhanced Security in Acrobat 9. Enhanced security consists of two components: a set of default restrictions and a method to define trusted locations that should not be subject to those restrictions. In other words, you can either block dangerous actions altogether or else selectively permit them for locations and files you trust. You can use the “Security” tab of the upcoming Customization Wizard X to define a set of trusted locations or, on Windows, you can trust any sites that you already trust in Internet Explorer.

Configuring the QuickTools bar

The fresh new UI in Acrobat X has a Quick Tools bar that each user can customize with the tools that they use most. Acrobat X comes with a predefined set already in the Quick Tools bar but if you are deploying Acrobat X across your enterprise, you may want to create your own default set. The easiest way to do this is to set up your version of Acrobat X the way that you want it to be deployed and then use the upcoming Customization Wizard X to copy the registry settings referenced below to the installer. Use the “Registry” tab in the Customization Wizard X.

Registry settings for the Quick Tools bar:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\10.0\AVGeneral\cFavoritesCommandsDesktop

Deploying Actions, Plug-ins, Stamps and Other Templates

One of the great new capabilities of Acrobat X are the new Actions Wizards. When you apply one or more routine sets of commands to your files, you can save time and keystrokes by using an action wizard—a defined series of commands with specific settings and in a specific order that you apply in a single step. You can apply an action to a single document, to several documents, or to an entire folder full of documents. You can even scan documents and combine several documents into a single PDF before running an action on them. Acrobat provides some predefined action wizards but you can also create your own actions and export them to .sequ files and then deploy them along with Acrobat X.

There are other files that you may also want to deploy along with Acrobat; plug-ins, custom stamps, header and footer templates, redaction codes, JavaScripts and several others. The directory where these files are stored in Windows 7 is below. Windows XP and Vista have similar directories.

Acrobat X user files on Windows 7:
C:\Users\geraci\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Acrobat\10.0

Once you’ve found these files, the “Files and Folders” tab in the upcoming Customization Wizard X allows you to bundle the files that you want to distribute with your installer and have them deployed to all machines.

Conclusion:

Again, I’ll announce the availability of the new Customization Wizard X and associated Administration Documentation sets here on this blog so please subscribe or check back frequently and don’t forget to back up your security settings so you can restore them in Acrobat and Reader X.