Review: Adobe Acrobat X Pro

January 16, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

PDF SOFTWARE: A box shot of Adobe Acrobat X Pro.  (Adobe)
PDF SOFTWARE: A box shot of Adobe Acrobat X Pro. (Adobe)
Adobe Acrobat X Pro is software for reading and editing PDF documents. The application, more geared towards business users, includes some useful upgrades and new features. Among the latest additions are tools to create clean, interactive PDF portfolios, better collaboration features, and simple tools to automate common tasks.

Adobe makes it rather easy to create PDF documents using Acrobat X Pro. When the application launches, a window appears with a handful of options to open files or create new ones. A Create PDF Portfolio option lets you choose files from your computer to compile into a document.

The application opens in a simple window that displays a preview of files in the main area. The files that are part of the overall project are displayed in the order they will be included and are located at the bottom of the window. Several options are found to the right. You just need to drag files left or right to change their placement in the project. You can also scroll through PDFs and documents, watch Flash videos, and go through PowerPoint presentations directly in the preview window.

The menus are intuitive, and the overall interface has a small learning curve. New Content can be added with large and noticeable buttons, and the user can customize the appearance of the portfolio using different themes and visual options.

The “Visual Themes” options are new in Acrobat X Pro. There are also color schemes and background options for each theme. I would have preferred to see more themes than the few available, as Adobe only includes five, but the customization options and ability to import custom themes does allow for some variety.

After exporting, even with the PDF format, it is able to display the interactive parts of the file, complete with Flash video playback and animated menus. Documents and files can be downloaded from the portfolio by clicking one of two buttons on the border of the file, and double clicking opens a larger preview of the file. A second button displays information about the file.

There are a few key uses in this. Users can place Web pages directly in the file that will open when double clicked. They can also open live forms where they can sign up for a conference, for example.

Unfortunately, the PDF portfolios didn’t seem to open in PDF applications other than Acrobat X Pro. This means anyone who uses it will either need Adobe Acrobat X Pro, or its free version, Adobe Reader X. If the PDF application can’t read the file, however, it will open a window with an active link for users to download Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader X.

Action Wizard

There is a new feature in Acrobat X Pro, cleverly named “Action Wizard.” This will basically automate common processes and will likely come in useful for anyone who needs to create a large project, or who regularly uses Adobe Acrobat Pro X for work.

This will take routine and multi-step actions and make the application do it for you. After creating a set of automated steps, called an “Action,” users can then share it with others, for example in a team or business.

Acrobat X Pro comes with a handful of pre-made Actions, but creating new ones is rather easy.

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