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-- by Lori L. Bloomer
Adobe Acrobat is the star of the show when it comes to delivering platform-independent documents. The new version, 3.0, makes Acrobat a logical way to exchange information across any of 13 platforms, on the Internet or within a corporate network.
Acrobat 3.0 consists of eight parts that allow you to create, edit and read PDF files: the Reader document viewer; Acrobat Exchange, which adds interactive components like links and forms to Acrobat documents; PDF Writer and Distiller, which let you convert to and from the PDF format; Catalog, a full-text index generator; Scan and Capture, which allow you to acquire images and documents from a scanner and bring them into Acrobat for recognition; and Touch-up, the new PDF postcreation editing tool. An NT 4.0 version promises PDF Writer and the Capture plug-in later, as a free upgrade.
Some functions (Weblink, Movie and Monitor Setup) available as plug-ins in version 2.1 are now standard in 3.0. Version 3.0 supports the Netscape plug-in API and ActiveX controls, so you can view PDF documents with a browser. This makes a designer's job easier-Acrobat documents look identical across applications and platforms.
The format is now full-text searchable as well, making it more useful for research and information gathering on the Web. A page author can even embed PDF files directly in an HTML page. Acrobat now permits page-at-a-time downloading and progressive rendering. You can require that a PDF document be loaded a single page at a time, with text loading before images-the same way HTML works. New compression abilities within PDF Writer and Distiller should relieve its bloated-file problems.
For most users, PDF Writer is possibly the single most important chunk of the Acrobat ensemble, since it allows you to print any file from any application to a PDF document.
Distiller turns PostScript documents into Acrobat PDF documents. Designers who use high-end layout and illustration applications will applaud the way Distiller converts PostScript output to a more universal format and recognizes TrueType fonts.
Scan acquires images from a scanner and imports them to Acrobat. Capture, a limited version of the standalone Capture document-processing app, converts scanned paper documents to PDF through character, font and page recognition. You can import a previously scanned document or scan paper directly into Capture, or batch-convert 50 prescanned TIFF files.
Acrobat Exchange provides forms generation and dynamic-document authoring. A cornucopia of form types can be used in PDF documents, and the form fields can contain any PDF-supported content, including text, images and other graphics elements. New dynamic controls within the program trigger sound and video events, navigate the document and execute menu items. You can crosslink PDF files to other PDF files across a network or the Web.
Catalog heightens the capabilities within Reader and Exchange by creating full-text indexes of any collection of PDF documents to aid the search query tool in those components.
A diverse group of users will give Acrobat high marks for power and performance. This page layout and design creation tool produces letter-perfect documents that can be read on any system that has a PDF-compatible Web browser or an Acrobat viewer. No document-creation desktop should be without it.
Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.