Adobe has announced a new version of its Acrobat platform for distributing and collaborating with documents.
The firm said it was aiming to make it easier for users to edit PDF documents and bring in content from apps such as Microsoft Office as well as new integration with cloud services to drive forms-based processes.
Acrobat XI, set to be available later in October, has been overhauled to help customers deal with the growing volume of information stored in digital documents, and also support users working on the move with mobile devices such as tablets.
To this end, Acrobat XI makes it easier for users to unlock existing PDF content with comprehensive editing tools, while the application now integrates better with Adobe's FormsCentral and EchoSign cloud-based services, and users can fill in and sign forms using mobile devices based on iOS and Android.
"The complexity of working with all this information is increasing, causing productivity hits and a lot of wasted time," said Ali Hanyaloglu, marketing manager at Adobe.
To help solve this, Acrobat XI now has easy-to-use editing tools for both text and images which permit content to be changed by simply clicking and dragging, as users are accustomed to with most office applications.
Where in-place editing is not possible - such as if a new row or column needs to be added to a table - a PDF document can now be exported to a PowerPoint file and re-imported once the changes are made.
When used with Adobe's FormsCentral service and the namesake desktop app, Acrobat can now be used to create and distribute fillable PDF or web-based forms, then collect and analyse the results. These forms use built-in logic that does not require any scripting, enabling anyone to create them, Hanyaloglu said.
Likewise, the EchoSign service enables Acrobat users to sign documents and send them on to others for a counter signature, simplifying and speeding the process of getting approvals via forms-based processes, according to Adobe.
Acrobat's PDF Portfolio capability, which lets users combine multiple documents into a single PDF, has now been enhanced so that users can choose which parts of the documents are embedded, so that individual slides can be discarded from a PowerPoint presentation without users having to alter the source document.
One unusual feature is that Acrobat now supports operation in virtual desktop environments such as Citrix XenDesktop, where the user might be using an iPad or other device. A special Touch Mode spaces out the icons and controls on the app, making it easier to operate from a touch-screen device, according to Hanyaloglu.
Acrobat XI is available in Pro and Standard versions at £378 and £235 respectively, with the Pro version including the FormsCentral app as standard.
Also released with Acrobat XI is an updated version of the free Reader app for viewing PDFs, which supports Windows and Mac OS, as well as mobile platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone and the BlackBerry PlayBook.
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