Most commonly used functions are easy to find in the menus. However, some features such as trying to select text may be tricky for some users to locate at first.
Another factor is the value of the software. This area rates at a 5. While the software has many useful features, there are many alternatives available with much lower price tags. Adobe's name recognition allows them to charge higher prices for their software much like companies such as Microsoft and their Office software.
The third factor is usefulness. While the needs of businesses vary, a suitable rating would be a 7. Most businesses have documents such as sales information, forms, or business processes that lend themselves well to the PDF format.
Security is another factor businesses with sensitive information must consider. With the high level of security available, the security rates a 7. From password protection to digital signature support, this is a safe option for businesses to trust.
The fifth factor is the features that are included. With support for everything from videos to archiving forms, this also gets a 7.
Another factor is compatibility. This is an area where there has been some major growth. In the earlier days of PDF files, computers did not come with support for them and fewer users had the ability to open them by default. Now, most users are able to open and use the files without any issues. There are many supplementary utilities that increase the compatibility of PDF files with Office to bridge this gap. As a result, the compatibility rates a 6.
Once the software is installed, begin by selecting "Create PDF" from the selection menu.
Next, select a file for conversion. The file must be in a useable format in order for it to be accessed. The best file types for PDF conversion are .doc, .rtf, and .txt. Microsoft files are compatible with Adobe Acrobat, but open source programs such as Open Office are not compatible.
Once the file is selected, Adobe will "print" the file, converting it into a .pdf. This process may take some time depending on the complexity of the document. Once the document is done printing, Adobe offers options for enhancing, improving, and using the .pdf.
At the top of the page is a standard toolbar with options to save, edit, view, and get help with the file. Under this toolbar are the options for creating another PDF, opening another file, printing the document, emailing, adding commentary, highlighting, and turning. The next group of toolbars allows for editing of the file. By selecting the "tools" option, you can change the various aspects of the pages including background, watermarks, and even bates numbering.
When complete editing is accomplished, save the PDF and either print or simply send via email to save on paper.
This first work sample shows what can be done with two of the basic editing features. This was created by first adding a purple background. Next, the watermark option allowed for a text entry of the word "Beautiful." Then, the word's opacity was reduced so that it was lighter than typical text, allowing it to look like a standard watermark. This image only took a few minutes to create using the various features available in the side menu.
Text can be deleted and changed using the "Content" option. This option also allows for editing objects, linking web pages, adding bookmarks, and attaching files. This feature has over 100 different fonts and allows for larger or smaller font size for optimal personalization.
This last sample shows what can be done with picture files. The picture was cropped, the date added in the footer and a title added to the header.
This was not an easy program to learn, but once I learned how to use it, it was fun. The first challenge that I encountered was with uploading the program. Each time I tried uploading the program and then opened another window, the program's installation would stop and had to be resumed.
Next was the issue with discovering that my open source software, Open Office, is not compatible with Adobe Acrobat. I tried multiple times to open files that were saved as .doc, but none were recognized by the program. I finally figured out that the files must be saved as a more basic file type. I changed the file type to .rtf and the files easily converted.
I then discovered how unstable the program can be when it is not functioning properly. While trying to upload a file, the program froze. When I tried to close the program, it continued operating in the background and would not stop until I shut it down using the task manager. At one point, I finally just restarted the computer because the program had activated itself so many times in the background.
A large improvement would be a better user guide on the Adobe website. The website offered three files to assist in creating a PDF and none of those files were applicable when I was having issues opening the files. It would have been much more helpful if Adobe had simply created a list of acceptable file types and placed this either on the first page of the program or the help page of the website.
Adobe Acrobat could also use greater stabilization. Most programs have a means of preventing the program from being opened more than once. This is also the first program I have encountered that did not have an automatic shutdown when the program causes errors. With as expensive as the program actually is, one would think that the programming would have even these basic safeguards in place.
Finally, it would be nice if the program was a little more user friendly. It takes some fiddling around to figure out how to use the background and other features, which can be frustrating to someone who is less technologically inclined. Some sort of tutorial would have been very useful.
The program is obviously meant for use in the business setting. It was relatively simple to create sharp-looking documents and images. It is nice that once the document is saved as a PDF file, it cannot be changed at all. The alternatives to this software includes Microsoft Word, which allows for all the same image editing. Word even has a "read only" feature which prevents editing of the document. Adobe Acrobat had more fonts, but Word has more clip art and images to work with. Overall, I cannot conclude that Adobe Acrobat is a better solution, as it is more expensive, but offers similar features as a less expensive program such as Word.