Adobe Unveils Acrobat XI With New Cloud Services

Adobe announced Acrobat XI with new cloud services and a slew of improvements to simplify use of the document management software across devices and platforms.

Adobe Systems has announced its Adobe Acrobat XI software with cloud services, a new solution that provides enhanced document productivity across devices and platforms.

In a meeting with the press, Mark Grilli, senior director of product marketing for Acrobat solutions, said the industry standard for PDF software will now feature complete PDF editing and export to Microsoft PowerPoint; touch-friendly capabilities on tablets; and newly integrated cloud services, including sophisticated Web contracting with Adobe EchoSign and forms creation, data collection and analysis with Adobe FormsCentral.

“We’ve made it really easy to get things done,” Grilli said. “We made great efforts to simplify things to help you avoid mistakes.”

Acrobat XI additionally supports IT departments with seamless Microsoft Office and SharePoint integration, easy deployment, applications virtualization and robust application security to help provide a low cost of ownership and sound return on investment.

Products included in this release are: Acrobat XI Pro, Acrobat XI Standard, Adobe Reader XI and newly integrated documents services, Adobe FormsCentral and Adobe EchoSign.

“More and more information is being generated, shared and consumed in documents than ever before,” said Kevin M. Lynch, senior vice president and general manager of Acrobat and Document Services at Adobe, in a statement. “Working with online forms, collaborative PDF reviews and signatures are the everyday norm for business professionals who were once simply content creators. IT departments need to support these changes while maintaining and maximizing the use of existing infrastructures and systems, as well as provide support and services that enable their organizations to take advantage of new business opportunities, improve results, justify return on investment, and lower the total cost of ownership.”

“The compounding complexity of work has never been more pressing. As the number of mobile devices and the use of cloud services surge, information workers must be empowered to work more effectively with documents anywhere on any device," said Melissa Webster, program vice president at IDC, in a statement. "They need a solution that enables them to collaborate with others inside and outside the firewall while at the same time meeting IT and organizational requirements for streamlined management, application security, and secure delivery of information – all with a high ROI.”

The mounting productivity inefficiencies and cost of document-based challenges are highlighted in a recent global IDC white paper, sponsored by Adobe. For a company that has 1,000 employees, for example, the estimated addressable productivity cost is $15.9 million annually. According to IDC, addressing these time wasters would mean hiring 213 new employees.

“Our client information is sensitive, so document security is critical. Acrobat XI offers advance document protection capabilities that are easier than ever for our staff to uniformly secure documents,” said Mike Mann, release and deployment analyst at McGladrey, in a statement. “Microsoft SharePoint is one of our primary methods of sharing files internally. The seamless integration with Acrobat XI enables us to access, edit and save documents directly in SharePoint, eliminating the need to download and manage multiple files.”

Ali Hanyaloglu, Adobe’s senior marketing manager for Acrobat, said with the new and improved features and functionality in Adobe Acrobat XI, business professionals can now edit PDF files, modify paragraphs, images and objects by simply clicking and dragging using the new, intuitive Edit Text and Images tool. Business users also can save PDF documents as PowerPoint, Word or Excel files or reuse parts of or entire PDF files as Microsoft Office documents and Web pages without retyping. Reflow paragraph text without disturbing format.

In addition, users can expedite document and Web contract approvals from weeks to hours with electronic signatures using the integrated Adobe EchoSign electronic signature service. They also can work with PDF files in touch-friendly Adobe Reader across tablets and smartphones to annotate and add comments, as well as fill in, sign and save forms. And there is a new capability to arrange and visually merge select content and multiple documents into one organized PDF file, while retaining source file integrity.

Meanwhile, Acrobat XI simplifies access to multiple cloud storage services using shortcuts to Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, and Adobe online services to find and combine content from favorite cloud repositories. And the new release enables users to create a custom tool set by tailoring the user interface to feature the components in Acrobat XI needed to get more work done faster.

Other business user features includes improved protection of all PDF files created from Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and Excel to help prevent copying, editing, or printing without permission. And the ability to effectively address accessibility standards using the new Make Accessible guided action and enhanced accessibility checking tool, meeting the Web Content Availability Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and PDF/UA standards.

For IT professionals, the new and improved IT features and functionality in Acrobat XI include the ability to:

• Integrate Adobe Acrobat XI more seamlessly with Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint, enabling users to do more with PDF in an Office or SharePoint environment.

• Deliver Acrobat XI and Reader XI as a centrally managed, touch-friendly, virtual application with new support for Microsoft App-V via Citrix XenApp.

• Streamline deployment and maintenance with free Adobe tools to aid configuration and installation, as well as enhanced support for Microsoft SCCM/SCUP and Apple Remote Desktop.

• Help mitigate risk and protect systems and data with industry-leading security technology, in addition to the Adobe PDF Whitelist Framework, allowing selective enablement of JavaScript for both Windows and Mac OS.

• Easily deliver multi-step PDF file preparation and security measures using the Action Wizard to help ensure organizational consistency.

"I leverage the heck out of Adobe Acrobat because I can cut down on the resources and my IT department loves me," said Bill Lunsford, graphics manager at BBDO Atlanta, in a statement. "The new EchoSign features within Adobe Acrobat XI will streamline everyday tasks. These days, no one is going to stand at a fax machine to wait for approvals. Being able to electronically sign a PDF on cost estimates for a project will accelerate go-to-market schedules."

“Security is the talk of the town. All of our clients expect the highest level of security, from our documents through our applications and IT environment. Acrobat XI provides key security enhancements that support both users and IT professionals,” said Yvonne Willis, enterprise applications and project manager at Pillsbury Law, in a statement. “Being able to do complex things on the fly, like signing a document electronically or commenting on a document on an iPad, is very attractive to people. Acrobat XI makes that possible.”

Acrobat XI and its associated products are scheduled to ship within 30 days, with availability through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store, Adobe Direct Sales and Adobe Creative Cloud. List price for Acrobat XI Standard is expected to be $299 ($139 upgrade) and o Acrobat XI Pro is expected to be $449 ($199 upgrade). A free 30-day trial of Acrobat Pro will be available upon product ship; cloud service trials are also available for Adobe EchoSign and Adobe FormsCentral. A Reader XI free download will be available at upon product ship. Adobe EchoSign starts at $14.95/month. And the Adobe FormsCentral subscription pricing starts at $14.99/month.