I must admit I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Acrobat. I’ve never been particularly enamoured with the idea of text file format that requires a 25MB reader app. On top of that, it’s performance has never been exactly sizzling either.

On the other hand, if you’ve ever taken finished artwork to a printshop, you have to appreciate PDF’s reliability and consistency.

So, is Acrobat 7.0 a step forward?

In general, it does seem like an improvement. Firstly, although it’s still a monster, they don’t seem to be loading every component by default, speeding it up.

While the performance is better, without doubt the niftiest new feature are the upgraded client review facilities.

One of the most eternally useful things about MS Word, is you can generally expect a client/reviewer to have access to a copy of it, making the process of tracking changes and comments between between iterations relatively painless. In fact, that’s still how we manage the early editing process with our books.

Unfortunately, you can never assume any given client will own a copy of Acrobat Professional, meaning that only the document author can overlay comments and markup information — that is, until now.

Now after exporting a design to PDF (for example, a site mockup, a logo, website copy, etc), you can open it in Acrobat Pro 7.0 and activate ‘Enable for Commenting in Adobe Reader..‘ in the ‘Comments’ menu.

Save the resulting file and the magic is embedded. From now on anyone reviewing your work in the plain old, garden-variety, free Acrobat Reader 7.0 will have access to a previously hidden ‘Commenting tool panel’.

Apart from giving your clients the ability to pepper your work with ecologically sound ‘sticky notes’, the new tool panel lets also lets them add:

– Approved/Revised time & date stamps

– Tracked text editing

– Highlighting, underlining and cross-out pens

– File attachments

– Attachable audio comment

The review process can handled via email, or preferably via an FTP server where comments from all parties can be collated on the same document.

I must admit we haven’t used this in a client review situation yet, but it is pretty tempting. It might be time to give it a try in the next week or so.

Alex manages design and front end development for sitepoint.com and is SitePoint's Design and UX editor.

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  • http://redferret.co.za redferret

    Wow. That is pretty cool indeed.

  • myrdhrin

    We actually use it all the time at work. A few people really doing the documents have licences and all of us folks that have to review them just use the reader. The writers can use their usual third party to write up document (it’s not MS Word or Acrobat itself but another professionnal toolset).

    It’s neat, simple.

  • http://www.lowter.com charmedlover

    Quite interesting. It would definately help in areas of my website, and writing content.

  • zjcboy

    using reader 5.0 on xp and found it consumes about 20mb memory, 5mb less than 7.0

    however, the new feather seems very promising… wonder if the comments from the user can be saved aside from the original PDF books ?

  • http://nathanwwong.com someonewhois

    Looks fancy. I’ve used Acrobat 6, but I’m not sure if I have the need to upgrade.

  • wen

    I have Adobe 7.0 Pro and when I open a pdf and try to enable comments, there is no “enable comments for Adobre Reader option” under comments. I have no security, no nada. If anyone can help me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

  • http://www.sitepoint.com AlexW

    I have Adobe 7.0 Pro and when I open a pdf and try to enable comments, there is no “enable comments for Adobre Reader option” under comments. I have no security, no nada. If anyone can help me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

    wen, are you creating the PDF in the first place?

  • Joyce

    Does anyone know why Adobe 7.0 Pro gives me an error message: “Missing PDF files, do you wnat to run in repair mode” when I try to create a PDF from file or mulitiple files?

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