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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.

There are a couple of ways one could approach that – a document management system or LiveCycle Rights Management ES come to mind. But an easier way to control which document reviewers should comment on is to use Acrobat 9’s new deadlines capability. Yes, Acrobat 8 had deadlines, but those weren’t enforced.

You can set the local date and time that a review will end when you send a document for a Shared Review, either using Acrobat.com, your own network share, a WebDAV server (or Microsoft SharePoint if you and your reviewers are on Windows). On the last step of the wizard, where you select your reviewers, click on the link called “Review Deadline”. The following dialog box will appear…

Setting Shared Review Deadline

So how is that enforced? Any reviewers that open the PDF after the local date and time will not be able to submit comments online as part of the Shared Review. But everyone can still save a copy as an archive with everyones comments if they wish to.

Review has ended

The Tracker and Shared Review welcome dialog box that appears when you open a PDF file will also reflect this. But what happens if the deadline passes while I am adding my comments? Acrobat and Reader 9 will be smart enough to let you know this and will give you one last chance to publish your comments to the server…

Publish your comments after deadline

Now if you initiated the review, you can be nice and flexible for those reviewers who are a little behind on their chores. From the Review Tracker (choose the Comments > Track Reviews… menu command), select the entry for the document in question under the Reviews > Sent section on the left. You can either end the review or change the deadline from here.

Change review deadline or end review

You can also right/Ctrl-click the entry for the document on the left of the Review Tracker to access commands, some of which I will talk about in future blog entries…

Change review deadline or end review from context menu

Acrobat 9 will ask for a new review deadline, and you enter that just as you did when you started the Shared Review…

Change review deadline dialog

Reviewers are notified by email that the deadline has been extended. In this case, I used Acrobat.com for my Shared Review, so reviewers get another opportunity to download the PDF document under review from here…

Deadline change email from Acrobat.com

As you can see, I’m not too flexible, and I’ve only given my reviewers an additional few minutes to get it together and get me that feedback pronto!


    How do I stop or end a review with Adobe Acrobat 3D v8.0? I can’t seem to be able to do so…

    [From Ali: Sorry Paul, but that feature was introduced with Acrobat 9.]

    This does not work. The emails are sent, but the deadline did not change. I could not remove the deadline either.

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