Best Buy
  • Price: 245 . 395 . 79

  • Company: Adobe

  • Pros: Boasts extended print tools, improved preflighter, new Windows-only forms designer and direct output from Internet Explorer. Plus you can annotate in the free Adobe Reader.

  • Cons: Only the more expensive Professional version supplies the really useful print and design tools. Distiller’s user interface is still pretty basic.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

Despite a low-key launch, the latest version of Adobe Acrobat has some solidly useful new features for creating and editing PDF exchangeable documents for use in professional Web, printing, and publishing cycles. As always it is split into two separate applications that run independently – the main Acrobat, and Distiller.

Acrobat is used to open, print, and edit PDFs, adding interactivity such as video and JavaScripts, hotlinks, and modified security. It can convert groups of Web site pages to PDF, or put PDF wrappers around graphics files, as well as running OCR on scanned text. Distiller creates PDFs from other documents, such as XPress files. It can run as a standalone application to convert PostScript to PDF, or it can run in the background through Print or MS-Office menus.

Distiller 7 is largely unchanged apart from a new ability to handle batches of files in its standalone operations. It can create the new PDF 1.6 format as well as all earlier formats back to PDF 1.2. PDF 1.6 can embed 3D files from Adobe’s Windows-only Atmosphere 3D environment creator, which it dropped at the end of last year. Mac and Windows PDF 1.6 readers can display the 3D files.

As with Acrobat 6, the new version is available in two levels. Acrobat 7 Standard is the general-purpose application. Acrobat 7 Professional costs £150 more, and adds a bunch of useful features for professional printing, publishing, and forms-creation.

 border=0 />It includes an improved preflight checker for print or Web publishing that can identify many problems before it’s too late. Acrobat 6’s preflighting system worked fine with its pre-set profiles, but creating your own meant using an unfathomable menu. Now, there’s a much easier wizard-style profile creation menu, though the old one is still supplied. 
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<b>PDF/X-rated</b>
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Preflighting can validate PDFs for export as PDF/X files, a subset for professional printing that cannot contain non-printable elements. Acrobat 7 creates the latest 2003 versions of PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3, plus the older 2001 flavours. Distiller can create PDF/X directly, or Acrobat can convert suitable existing PDFs to PDF/X standard. 
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All versions can now attach other file formats to a PDF, just like email attachments. This might be useful for keeping a multi-part project together. 
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The Pro version can generate and attach JDF job tickets, an emerging new automation standard for the printing sector that embeds specifications and instructions into an XML file.
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Acrobat Pro’s print-specific menus can now be grouped as buttons in a small floating palette. These include preflight, crop, printer’s marks, transparency flattening, ink manager, convert colours, trap presets, PDF optimizer, and JDF tools. <BR>
Trap Presets is new, for setting up Adobe In-Rip trapping from either pre-defined lists or your own settings. 
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