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.
At the top end, the Windows-only Acrobat Pro Extended replaces Acrobat 3D 8, but with more features and a lower price. It’s supposedly for specialized sectors, like architecture and CAD, as it can embed 3D file formats. However, it also includes Adobe Presenter, which converts PowerPoint presentations into PDFs.
As ever, you get the Distiller standalone utility for converting PostScript or PDF files to PDFs, but it’s virtually unchanged, and the increased capabilities of Acrobat itself mean you hardly ever need it.
The Windows version of Pro includes LiveCycle Designer ES, a creator for Adobe’s enterprise-level document server. The Windows version can also create a PDF with one click from Autodesk AutoCAD, Microsoft Visio, and Microsoft Project.
All editions can create the new PDF Portfolios, which allow different file formats to be grouped together in a single PDF with presentation playback features such as layout, welcome page, thumbnails, header and a colour scheme. It’s an effective and easy way to set up multi-element files with sophisticated content that can be played by anyone with the free Reader.
PDF Portfolio launches a subsidiary creation menu, where you drag files into the active window and they are saved into a single PDF wrapper. This can be set up as a presentation in its own right, with a choice of four pre-set layouts, a home page, opening thumbnail and so on. Any file format can be included in a PDF Portfolio. Acrobat and the Reader can play or preview digital audio, video, 3D and interactive graphics, plus PDFs and stills content. Flash (SWF) and Flash Video (FLV) files can be played back in all versions, but only Pro Extended will convert other video formats to FLV – unless you own one of the Creative Suite bundles with Flash.
Even if a format cannot be displayed directly (for example a QuarkXPress document), you can still extract it and launch it into its original application, if you have it.