By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-01-17 Print this article Print

Adobe Systems Inc.s Acrobat 7.0 includes major enhancements that make it a compelling upgrade for organizations that need to generate documents in the popular PDF file format.

Released earlier this month, Acrobat 7.0 Professional is priced at $449. An upgrade from Acrobat 4.0 or higher costs $159. Acrobat 7.0 Standard is priced at $299, or $99 for an upgrade. The volume license version of Acrobat, Acrobat Elements, is available for 100 seats or more, priced starting at $39 a seat.

eWEEK Labs found that the major enhancement to Acrobat 7.0 is the Professional versions ability to allow even Adobe Reader users to participate in PDF document reviews. This feature is not available in Acrobat 7.0 Standard. In the past, only users of the full Acrobat application could participate in PDF document reviews.

After Acrobat walked us through the process of enabling Adobe Reader comments, we were able to e-mail PDFs from Acrobat Professional to colleagues, who could then add comments, notes and highlights . The e-mail provided instructions to recipients, letting them know how to comment directly on the PDF using the Commenting tool bar and explaining the need for Adobe Reader 7.0 to access markup functions.

We tested Acrobat 7.0 Professional on a system running Microsoft Corp.s Windows XP and Office 2003. Acrobat 7.0 requires Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 or higher or Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS X Version 10.2.7 or higher.

Acrobats integration with Microsoft Office and Visio applications, as well as with Autodesk Inc.s AutoCAD, has been extended in Version 7.0. For example, Acrobat 7.0s integration with Outlook enabled us to convert e-mail from Outlook to PDF with a single click. Users can also embed information from Visio components into PDFs and can convert sections of Web pages (rather than an entire Web page) from Internet Explorer.

When testing with Version 6.0 of Acrobat last year, we noticed a performance lag when converting Word documents. Conversion with Version 7.0 felt much zippier in comparison.

Users will applaud the overall performance enhancements in Acrobat and Adobe Reader 7.0, including faster launch rates. PDFs viewed locally or in a Web browser will also perform better in Acrobat and Reader 7.0.

Acrobat 7.0 offers new security features, including the ability to select and build security policies tied to Adobes Policy Server or to have PDFs expire after a certain number of days. In addition, users can now password-protect PDFs.

Click here to read more about Adobes LiveCycle Policy Server. Adobe Reader 7.0, which reads PDFs, Adobe Forms, eBooks and Photoshop Albums, will remain free of charge and is available for download on the Adobe Web site (www.adobe.com). Adobe bundles Acrobat 7.0 Professional with Adobe Designer, which lets users create forms from scratch and capture data using XML in forms.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at anne_chen@ziffdavis.com.

Editors Note: This story was updated to clarify information from Adobe. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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