Adobe and Dropbox want to make working with PDFs easier on the move

Document giant and cloud storage company want to simplify reading and editing PDFs on mobiles and PCs.

Over 754 million documents will be signed electronically in 2017, more than three times the number in 2014. Image: Robert St-Pierre

Adobe and Dropbox have announced a deal which they say will to make it easier to for customers to edit and share documents on the move.

The companies are integrating their applications and services on mobile devices, desktop, and the web to allow users easier access to their PDF files.

People using Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Reader will be able to access and edit their files stored in Dropbox directly from within those Adobe apps. Dropbox users in turn will be able to open, edit, and save changes to PDF documents in the Adobe apps directly from the Dropbox website, iOS app, or Android app.

The companies said PDFs are the most common business file type in Dropbox.

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The new features are being rolled out gradually. As of now, users worldwide can add their Dropbox account in Acrobat DC or Acrobat Reader on desktop. The iOS integrations between Acrobat Reader and Dropbox will be available "in the coming months", with Android and web options to follow in 2016.

Adobe also said it is rolling out new features for its Document Cloud service, which it describes as making electronically signing documents and contracts easier.

Adobe said it is working with other enterprise tech providers -- Workday, Salesforce, and Ariba -- to simplify the process of adding e-signing capabilities to businesses' existing HR, sales, procurement, and legal systems.

Adoption of electronic signatures is growing. Forrester Research estimates over 754 million documents will be signed electronically in 2017, more than three times the number in 2014.

The company said it is adding support for digital signatures, the more secure form of e-signature, which is due to be adopted across Europe next year.

The company plans to add datacenters for its Document Cloud in Ireland and Germany by the end of this year, and will add more next year.

Adobe said it has also upgraded eSign Manager DC, the mobile app companion for Document Cloud eSign services and Adobe Acrobat DC.

New features include the ability to securely manage employees' Document Cloud mobile apps and devices using Android for Work. The app also allows employees to use their mobile device camera to take a photo of their handwritten signature once, and then use it to sign documents again and again.

The new eSign capabilities will start to roll out in November through to early 2016.

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