Adobe to revolutionise PDF workflows with Document Cloud

On 7th April Adobe will be releasing two exciting new updates: Acrobat DC and Document Cloud. While it’s difficult to convince people you’re being sincere when you describe a PDF workflow as ‘exciting’, trust us: the list of new features is pretty much everything you’ve ever wanted Acrobat to do.

What’s the difference between Acrobat DC and Document Cloud?

Acrobat DC is the application that you install on your devices and use to carry out PDF wizardry (more on that in a moment). Document Cloud is a collection of extra online services which help you carry out that wizardry on the go, by making sharing between devices and storage volumes easier.

Do they come as a pair?

You bet they do. Both subscription customers and those with perpetual licences will be given access to Acrobat DC and Document Cloud, though subscription users get a handful of bonus features thrown in, too. The price of subscription has also been lowered (well, in dollars, anyway. We’re still waiting on an accurate conversion).

Why would I want Acrobat to involve itself with the cloud?

Strap yourselves in. With Acrobat DC you can create, manage, transact and publish documents from any PC, OS X, iOS or Android device using a single app with a single, simple user interface. No fuss, no muss, just your files where you need them, with the tools you’d expect from a full desktop version of Acrobat now at your fingertips on your phone. And because the same ridiculously simple interface is used on every device, there’s virtually no learning curve for newbies.

Not only can you edit documents on any device, but you can use the Mobile Sync feature to link your devices and ensure that you can see and edit documents saved to your Mac on your iPad, even if they’re not saved to the device itself. You can also access your iCloud and Creative Cloud storage directly from Acrobat DC, and it’ll integrate with solutions like SharePoint and Office 365, so you could potentially see every file you have access to on literally any device you own (unless it’s a Windows phone).

I bet they had to really strip Acrobat down to do that.

Au contraire, my hypothetical friend. Acrobat DC is packed with new features designed to make you a better and more productive being. You can edit, annotate, reorganise and export PDFs from any device, and even use the Enhance Scan tool to clean up scanned documents and add editable, labelled form fields to them.

Acrobat DC is now far better at identifying text, and will let you edit whole sections of text in a single text box, rather than making you adjust each paragraph in a separate one. If you need to add an item to a bulleted or numbered list, Acrobat DC will let you do that in-app, and it’ll even recognise and apply indents without you ever opening the app the document was created in.

It generates bullet points automatically?

Yes. It literally feels like you’re in the app that the document was created in, except rather than cursing PowerPoint in the office, you’re on the train or in a waiting room or eating a croissant somewhere. (Like many creative apps, Acrobat DC is best enjoyed with a croissant.)

I’ve been waiting for this update my entire professional life.

We know, us too! So exciting. Also exciting: the new interface includes a customisable tool panel, so you can have all your frequently-used tools to hand. And if you can’t see a tool you need in Adobe’s master list, you can use the Create Custom Tool function to build one. And if you know the name of a process but not the tool that you need to do it, just search for the process name and Adobe will show you all the related tools.

Wait – if everyone has these tools, what’s to stop them editing documents I send them? 

There’s a Restrict Editing tick box at the bottom of the tool pane. Click it, and no one you send the doc to will have editing privileges. You can also do all the usual Acrobat tricks, like turning off the ability to copy and paste from files, auto-deleting sensitive information, pre-populating certain form fields and sanitising documents.

Oh, and there’s a Sent Items view that neatly sums up who you’ve sent each document to and what permissions they have, so you always know who’s got what.

And all this has resulted in a price drop?

Yes. $14.99 a month for a perpetual licence, $12.99 a month for a subscription one. More on the UK prices when we have them.

When will you have them?

Well it’s out on 7th April, so probably before then…

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