Price When Reviewed: 265 . 425 . 619 . 1249
Pros: Upgraded PDF creation and editing package introduces PDF Portfolios; more PDF/X support; standards panel; embedded preflight audits; improved Web capture; native Flash playback support.
Cons: Limited new functions for print designers; UK pricing double the US price; Mac users are denied lower-cost entry-level and high-end specialist versions; Distiller user interface remains confusing.
The latest incarnation of Adobe’s primary PDF-creating and editing application stresses multimedia integration and presentation: it plays Flash natively and extends its multi-user collaboration through a new hosted Web site, Acrobat.com.
It has a straightforward new PDF Portfolio feature that can combine various file formats into presentations, and its character recognition tool is much improved.
However, Mac users will enjoy only some of the benefits: two of the three Acrobat 9 editions are Windows-only. Acrobat 9 Pro, reviewed here, is available for OS X as well as Windows, but it’s the mid-range option; at the top of the range is Pro Extended. Pro is the version you get if you upgrade your Creative Suite to version 3.3.
If you have Creative Suite Design Premium version then the upgrade to version 3.3 will also add Fireworks.
Adobe is pulling the old dollar-pound parity dodge, so UK users pay roughly twice as much for each edition of Acrobat 9 as US users. Most companies charge more for software in the UK than a straight dollars-to-pounds conversion, but this is absurd.
Acrobat 9 Pro stresses print features ahead of multimedia or Office integration features. However, it’s worth mentioning the other two for comparison.
The Standard version lets you create, open and edit standard PDFs, but it lacks pre-flight ability, so it can’t write PDF/X files.