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Acrobat XI Pro: Screenshots

Adobe's latest Acrobat upgrade makes it easier to edit PDFs, integrates better with Microsoft Office and cloud storage, and streamlines form creation and electronic signature management, among other workflow improvements.
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Adobe has unveiled its XI family of Acrobat PDF software (Acrobat XI Standard, Acrobat XI Pro and Reader XI), which now integrates with a pair of cloud services: FormsCentral for creating, distributing and analysing PDF and web forms; and EchoSign for managing electronic signatures.

Prominent features in the new Acrobat are much-improved PDF editing, better integration with Microsoft Office applications, easier access to cloud-based repositories such as SharePoint, Office 365 and Acrobat.com, plus IT-friendly enhancements to security and deployment (including virtualisation).

Acrobat XI, which will ship within 30 days according to Adobe, costs £378 (ex. VAT) for the Pro version (£111 to upgrade) and £255 for Standard (£163 to upgrade). Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers will get Acrobat Pro XI automatically, but you'll need additional subscriptions to FormsCentral and EchoSign to access the full functionality of these services.

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PDF editing
The new Edit Text & Images tool puts all text and images in DTP-style frames that you can click and drag to resize, with automatic text reflow. You can edit text freely, and perform global find-and-replace actions. Images can be added, replaced and resized, with basic transformations available in the Format section, plus links to external editing applications.

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Export to PowerPoint
You've been able to save PDFs as Microsoft Word and Excel files for some time, but PowerPoint now joins the roster of exportable Microsoft Office formats. Not only is layout and formatting preserved for editing in PowerPoint if necessary, but Acrobat also makes a stab at converting the PDF's look and feel into PowerPoint templates in case new slides are required.

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Combine multiple documents
When merging multiple files (the example above uses PowerPoint, Word, Excel and PDF) into a single PDF, you can now drag and drop document thumbnails into the preferred order. You can also expand the thumbnails of multipage documents to select just the parts you want to include (preserving the integrity of the source document). The resulting single PDF should make for a smaller and more readable content package than, for example, multiple email attachments.

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FormsCentral
The FormsCentral desktop app, which is included with Acrobat XI Pro, allows you to create PDF forms, either from scratch, from existing PDF forms or from provided templates. To move your forms online to collect and analyse the submitted data, you'll need a FormsCentral subscription: these range from Free (1 form, up to 50 responses per form) to Basic (£11.71/month, 5 forms, up to 500 responses per form) to Plus (£146.37/year, unlimited forms, up to 5,000 responses per form).

Basic and Pro subscriptions also allow you to include skip logic, accept PayPal payments from your forms, add file attachments to fields, issue submission receipts for correctly entered forms, redirect respondents on form completion and receive email notification when forms are submitted.

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EchoSign
Anyone who has had to print a document, sign it by hand and fax it off knows how anachronistic — and time-consuming — this seems nowadays. Acrobat XI's integration with EchoSign should boost productivity while providing an audit trail when electronic documents need signing.

The Sign panel lets you sign documents by typing, drawing on-screen, selecting a previously saved image or using a digital certificate. The document is then sent on for further signatures, with the whole process audited by EchoSign in the cloud. EchoSign subscriptions range from free to Global at $399 a month, with several points (Pro, Team and Enterprise) in between.

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PDF protection
Acrobat XI makes it much simpler to password-protect a PDF, to prevent unauthorised copying, printing and editing. Now, you just select Restrict Editing from the Protection panel, which brings up a Password dialogue complete with a visual strength indicator.

Elsewhere, you'll find it easier to redact (permanently black out) selected content, and use the Sanitise Document command to strip out hidden data and metadata that might compromise a distributed PDF.

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