Acrobat.com from Adobe is an online suite of applications, some of which are still in Beta, offering online word processing, PDF conversion, file storage and sharing and communication tools. All of the applications are flash based, look really sleek and are tightly integrated allowing you to easily share files.
There are three subscription plans available: Free, Premium Basic, costing $14.99 per month or $149 per year and Premium Plus costing $39 per month or $390 per year. The paid plans are currently only available in North America. For the rest of us, we can use the Free plan, which is still useful.
Buzzword is the word processing application and works pretty much like every other word processor you’ve used in recent times. You can add and format text, images and tables. Documents can be saved online and shared or exported out as a PDF, word .DOC, HTML, RTF and TXT amongst others.
CreatePDF does what it says on the tin – it creates PDFs from files you’ve created online or uploaded. The free plan allows you to convert 5 PDFs, with the Basic plan you can convert 10 per month, and with the Plus plan you have unlimited conversions. I’m not really sure why Adobe charge for this service as there are plenty of free convertors on the web.
ConnectNow is the web-conferencing application and lets you invite participants to share your screen, share notes and use a webcam for. The number of participants allowed in any meeting depends on your plan, three invites on the Free plan, five on the Basic and twenty on the Plus plan. Personally, I found this to be the really “oooooh nice” part of the suite, and perhaps this is the part that makes the whole set worth paying for if you need capacity for larger web-conferences.
Share and MyFiles lets you organize and choose files you’ve created either online or uploaded and share them with your contacts.
Other Applications In Beta
You can sign up to test out two applications that are still in Beta in the Acrobat Labs, the quite literally named “Tables” and “Presentations”.
This is the spreadsheet application and again, it looks sleek and clean and is really easy to use. If you’ve ever used a spreadsheet before, you will find familiarity here. The spreadsheets can be edited by multiple users.
Presentation could be considered the rival to Microsoft’s PowerPoint. The templates and graphics are clean and nicely designed as you would expect from Adobe. Multiple users can edit the presentations and then easily shared.
Overall, the suite is very easy to use. One thing that is missing though (and correct me if you found it), is a link that will take you back to the home page of Acrobat.com where you can choose which application you want to work with. I could see how to jump from all of the applications to Buzzword, but not back to home which is a little bit frustrating.
It will be interesting to see what the take up will be for paid subscriptions. With Tables and Presentations still in beta, the suite certainly appears unfinished, but it has great potential.