Acrobat 9: A child grows up

Thad McIlroy is a publishing consultant and analyst who makes his home at

When I think about Adobe Acrobat, now having entered its Version 9, I’m reminded of my nieces and nephew as they’ve grown.

I remember them as newborns, cute and full of promise, but as able to annoy as to delight. Then, a few years old, beginning to communicate; their promise starting to become more fully realized. From then until adulthood they wandered through numerous phases, some intriguing and delightful, others disappointing and worrisome. At times they seemed gawky and their bodies out of proportion. Just as quickly they would return to more elegant human form before once again growing a foot taller in a year or several pounds heavier. Finally the children became adults, and the promise of the newborn could be appreciated.

Adobe Acrobat has evolved in so many ways like a growing child. Version 1 was released by Adobe on June 15, 1993, initially for Macintosh only. Software versions offer us no real clue as to a product’s age. Acrobat is now just over 15 years old, but I believe that Version 9 marks its emergence into true adulthood.

I was not keen on the younger teen version of Acrobat, Version 8, which I also reviewed in PrintAction. There I referenced the 10 reasons Adobe offered for an upgrade from V7, noting that ‘every one of these features is already available in Acrobat 7, in most cases from Adobe itself, in two cases from third-parties. What the upgrade affords is some additional robustness in most of the stated features, rather than new features per se.’

Ah, but the elegant Version 9 brings so many new features to the product (and some truly notable improvements to existing features) that I’m proud to be an owner of the product. Yes, adulthood at last.

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About the Author: Thad McIlroy

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