Archives for June, 2008 | Main

June 30, 2008

Deadlines for Shared Reviews: Now When I Say Stop, You Just Stop!

I was just going through my hard drive cleaning out old files. A severe thunderstorm just went through and knocked out our cable connection, so I had to do that instead of wasting time shopping for things I do not need. (Luckily it was after the Germany – Spain UEFA Euro 2008 Cup Final – ¡Viva España!) I noticed how many “review versions” of draft documents I had eating up my hard drive space. Which is quite a coincidence, as someone at an Acrobat event I was speaking at this past week asked me if there was a way to control which version of a draft document was being reviewed by others.

Continue reading “Deadlines for Shared Reviews: Now When I Say Stop, You Just Stop!” »

June 25, 2008

Acrobat 9 Now Available: Come On In!

So if you have been reading my blog or viewing the information on AcrobatUsers.com, then you have surely said to yourself “Great! When can I start using all these amazing capabilities?”. The answer to that question my friends is NOW!

You can download the trial version of Acrobat 9 Pro and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended from here. Sorry, those are for Windows only.

You can also purchase new and upgrade licenses from the Adobe Store or by contacting your favorite Adobe reseller.

And once you do get to install it, please do let us know what you think.

Acrobat 9 Pro Extended Box

June 18, 2008

Shared Reviews: Up In The Cloud

Shared Reviews introduced in Acrobat 8 are invaluable for those who need to get feedback on documents from others that are not part of their company or organization. As the document is enabled for commenting in the free Adobe Reader, you won’t have to take out a second mortgage to buy everyone you need to work with a copy of Acrobat 8, just for the purposes of the review of a single document.

However, if you were working with external reviewers in a Shared Review in Acrobat 8, a WebDAV server was typically required as the repository for collecting those comments from others (the other option is to use a Network Folder, but those aren’t typically made available outside the firewall). For many small business or workgroups, setting up a WebDAV server may not be a viable option – you have a day job to worry about, or the servers are looked after by others in a different location.

Well, Acrobat 9 addresses that particular problem, especially for those who don’t have an IT resource that is just a phone call or stones throw away: Acrobat 9 can now use Acrobat.com servers as the repository to collect comments for Shared Reviews.

To use it in Acrobat 9 is straightforward. Just initiate a Shared Review as you normally would from the Comments taskbar button or menu, but in the Send for Shared Review wizard choose “…with Acrobat.com” as the location to collect comments from reviewers.

Initiating a Shared Review selecting Acrobat.com

Once you’ve signed in with your free Adobe ID, you can just tell Acrobat 9 who you want to invite, what the deadline for the review is, and Acrobat 9 takes care of uploading the PDF document securely to your Share library on Acrobat.com for others to access. Your reviewers will get a link to download the document via an email from Acrobat.com.

The email that reviewers will receive

From then on it works just like any other Shared Review. But there is one additional benefit…because you are using Acrobat.com, you can also turn on Page View Sharing (aka Send and Collaborate Live). Now you can also see who else is reviewing the document whilst seeing the comments they add, as well as the view of the page. Rad!

Page view sharing as part of a Shared Review

It’s important to note that using Acrobat.com for Shared Reviews only works with Acrobat 9. If you have initiated the Shared Review with Acrobat.com from Acrobat 9 Pro or Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, the document will also be enabled for commenting in the free Adobe Reader – again, version 9 only in this case.

Now those of you in small businesses, or working from home, or in a department without technical resources, can scratch off “IT Manager” from the list of tasks you have to do in addition to your regular day job. Unfortunately, we can’t help with the plumbing problems you have.

June 10, 2008

eWeek: Measuring Office Format Compatibility with Acrobat 9

eWeek’s Jason Brooks wrote an interesting article on how he used the beta version of Acrobat 9 to compare output and formatting differences between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office 2007.

Compare Documents from eWeek

Stay tuned for more information from me on the new and improved Compare Documents capability in Acrobat 9. In the meantime, here is a video tutorial on this slick feature of Acrobat 9 Pro and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended.

June 09, 2008

Commenting on Video: Your camera will still add 10 pounds of weight though

So, here’s the next area of Acrobat 9’s new collaboration features I’m really excited about…the ability to comment directly on video. But it’s more than just adding a sticky note to an embedded video clip…

Acrobat 9 will tie the comment or markup you add to the video to a frame and write the timecode in to the text pop-up.

Screen shot of commenting on an embedded video in Acrobat 9

Then, you click on a comment in the Comments pane at the bottom of the document window and jump back to that particular frame. To see it in action, click here to view a video tutorial.

Here’s why I am excited about this capability…

  1. You can use the same tools and methodologies you use already for text and images in a PDF document – no additional training required.
  2. You can enable the PDF for comment, markup and analysis in Acrobat 9 Pro and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, and Reader 9 users can give their feedback on the video too.
  3. You can do exactly the same thing with embedded Flash content and essentially any video clip (that you have the rights to share).
  4. You can embed the video with other content – or a bunch of videos in a single file – and make all of it part of a Shared Review, say, as well as secure it to prevent changes or control access.

A few things to keep in mind though. For the Adobe Premiere Pro users reading this right now, this is not the same thing as Clip Notes. That is specifically for Premiere Pro-based workflows. The other important thing is that this is for Acrobat 9 and Reader 9 only, as it uses the new Rich Media Annotation type for embedded video and Flash.

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-3983211-1″);
pageTracker._initData();
pageTracker._trackPageview();

June 04, 2008

Synchronized Document Views: Look ma! No hands!

Feedback can never come fast enough, can it? We live in an age where we are overwhelmed with information, yet we still need more of it NOW! If you are that kind of person – whether you want to be or not – then Acrobat 9 has a capability for you: synchronized document views aka page view sharing. It’s a capability we are so excited about, we just had to call it by more than one name. ;)

Until you try this for yourself, the only way to really understand it is to see it in a real-world scenario.

Here’s a possible one…let’s say I’m an architect for a new office building. The project manager at my client’s location calls me, and leaves me a voicemail saying “Hey! We have a problem with the plans. Call me when you get this.” We’ve all received those messages before, right? So, you start leaving voicemails or sending emails to each other, never really understanding what the problem is or what to do about it. So frustrating. So unproductive. So 2007.

What I really want to do is to have my customer show me exactly where in the floor plan they have a problem, as if they were standing next to me moving my mouse, rubbing my back (this architect is very close to his clients). Only problem is they are on the other side of the country, and I have a meeting in 15 minutes with Mr. Trump about a major construction project. How can we control the view we have of the document right in Acrobat 9 or Reader 9 without having to go into an online or real meeting room, so I can find out where to make the change quickly and accurately?

This is where synchronized document views comes in. It literally allows you to share your view of a PDF document with up to 2 other friends at the same time. You are actually controlling the view of the PDF file in their installation of Acrobat 9 or Reader 9 (yes, Reader 9 users can participate too).

Here is one way you can get to the command…from the new Collaborate taskbar button in Acrobat 9…

sendcollablivemenu.gif

Watch this video to see how it works in action…

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It uses Acrobat.com In case you missed the news, Acrobat.com is a set of online hosted services from Adobe for sharing and collaboration. It’s currently free (and a public beta), but page view sharing uses Acrobat.com’s servers to handle the communication between clients. Acrobat.com uses HTTPS and SSL, and the review initiator can control who can download the PDF document. But it is the only server you can use today for synchronized document views.
  • You need an Adobe ID to initiate. An Adobe ID is a way to authenticate yourself with Acrobat.com to enabled a document for Page View Sharing in Acrobat 9. If you don’t have one yet, you can get one right from within Acrobat 9 or Reader 9: it’s free, you sign up once, and the only information you need to provide includes your name, an email address, your password and the country you reside in. However, you do not need an Adobe ID to participate in page view sharing – you can just sign in as a guest.
  • You need Acrobat 9 to initiate. But you can participate in page view sharing using only Reader 9. It’s not available in previous versions of either application. But you’ll upgrade, right?!
  • It works with 3D content. It’s all about views. So if one of the participants changes the view of a 3D object in the PDF file, the others see the same 3D view. The implications for the manufacturing and AEC industry are huge for when it comes to rapid collaboration on documents.
  • Only three participants at a time. Keep this in mind when distributing your collaboration-enabled documents. Just you and two friends. What you show your friends is up to you…
  • It’s only for PDF documents in Acrobat 9 or Reader 9. This is not screen sharing. But if you need to share other application views, you can also the select the “Share My Screen…” from the new Collaborate Live panel, or from the Collaborate Taskbar button. This will open your free ConnectNow beta meeting room on Acrobat.com, and invite those two friends to join you in a desktop/application screen sharing session.

Which might bring up a good question…why not just use the screen sharing option that’s available? It’s a good discussion point, but one reason is that anyone who is participating in page view sharing can quickly and with minimal fuss share the view of the PDF file they have with others. It’s a conversation where everyone has a say and can contribute.

I think they call that collaboration, don’t they?!

June 02, 2008

Acrobat 9! It’s here! I’m about to lose control and I think I like it!

So, there I was, reading my favorite txt-speak guide, when I almost dropped my mobile phone on the announcement of Acrobat 9! DGA! Acrobat 9 is WKEWL! It WFM!*

Well, maybe not, as I’ve known about the release of Acrobat 9 for a while now. And I haven’t got a clue about this txt speak thing. But believe me when I say to you my friends, I have been chomping at the bit to tell you all about this truly exciting release, especially when it comes to the collaboration side of things. I mean, really exciting!!

There are lots of goodies online right now that you can take a look at, but over the coming days I’ll be sharing with you more details about what Acrobat 9 offers for reviews and document-based collaboration. Have I mentioned how excited I am?

So, what’s new when it comes to getting feedback from others? Let’s start with a biggie…

  • Synchronized document views aka page view sharing. Wow! This one has to be seen to understand the power it has. Just imagine being able to almost instantaneously control the view of someone else’s PDF document in Reader 9 or Acrobat 9 at the same time, as if you were standing next to them, when in fact you’re on the other side of the country. Or the world. Just think about how much quicker you’ll be able to complete a project accurately.
  • Shared Reviews using Acrobat.com. Oh, and you thought Acrobat 9 was big news? Well, on top of that, Adobe has announced Acrobat.com, a suite of online hosted services for sharing and collaborating on documents. Shared Reviews are not new, but it required you to set up and use your own servers. Not necessarily so anymore. Now you can use Adobe’s Acrobat.com servers to very easily collect and track comments as part of a Shared Review. It’s really easy in an exciting kind of way.
  • Real Deadlines in Shared Reviews. Shared Reviews had deadlines in Acrobat 8. They were about as strictly enforced as Hartford, Connecticut’s law prohibiting the crossing of streets while walking on your hands. Well, now they are enforced. You can set a local date and time for a review to end, and if that time passes, reviewers will no longer be able to submit their comments.
  • Comment on video. Yes, that’s comment directly on to embedded video, using exactly the same Acrobat annotation tools you use to comment on text and images in a document. You can also use a new 3D Comment tool to add comments to 3D objects that stay in view even when you change the 3D view.

That’s only for starters (or appetizers for those of you in the USA). I’m going to let you know a lot more about what you can do in Acrobat 9 over the coming days and weeks, and where you can find out more so you’ll be ready to go once the software (or trial version) is available.

In the meantime, take a look over at Lori DeFurio’s Acrobat blog, Joel Geraci’s Developer and IT blogs, as well as all the information on acrobatusers.com and adobe.com.

* In case you’re txt speak challenged: “Don’t go anywhere! Acrobat 9 is way cool. It works for me!”

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