The wait is over: Acrobat 8 family announced

Ending months of speculation, Adobe has today announced its Acrobat 8 family. In addition to a simplified user interface designed to streamline popular features, the new offering incorporates Web conferencing, thanks to the Breeze technology acquired with Macromedia.

Two areas that have seen significant improvements are those of forms and security. Form field recognition automates the process of creating PDF forms from static PDF documents, and wizards help manage the distribution of forms and collection of data. With a greater range of document security options, Acrobat 8 Professional and Acrobat 3D Version 8 users can enable PDF forms to be digitally signed and saved with the free Adobe Reader. The introduction of PDF packages allows disparate content to be grouped into what appears to be a single document, but still preserves individual files and security settings for maximum flexibility.

The new versions have also added native support for the permanent removal — AKA redaction — of sensitive information in PDF files. Although PDF redaction was possible with earlier versions of Acrobat, it required the use of plug-ins, such as those in Appligent’s Redaction family.

There’s also good news on the collaboration front. Adobe has now had time to familiarize itself with the former Macromedia’s Breeze technology, allowing it to build Adobe Acrobat Connect 1, a subscription-based service that provides immediate access to a personal meeting room for real-time Web conferencing. Each of the Acrobat 8 products, along with Adobe Reader 8, provide one-button access to Adobe Acrobat Connect.

All told, the Acrobat family consists of Acrobat 8 Professional, Acrobat 8 Standard, Acrobat 8 Elements, Acrobat 3D Version 8, Acrobat Connect, and Acrobat Connect Professional.

Pricing and Availability

Acrobat 8 Professional for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh, and Acrobat 8 Standard for Windows, are expected to be available in November 2006 in English, French, German, and Japanese versions. Acrobat 8 Professional is expected to be available for an estimated street price of US$449, and registered users of qualifying earlier versions of Acrobat (i.e. Acrobat 5, Acrobat 6 Standard, Acrobat 6 Professional, Acrobat 7 Standard & Acrobat 7 Professional) can upgrade to Acrobat 8 Professional for an estimated street price of US$159. Acrobat 8 Standard is expected to be available for an estimated street price of US$299, and registered users of qualifying earlier versions of Acrobat (i.e. Acrobat 5, Acrobat 6 Standard & Acrobat 7 Standard) can upgrade to Acrobat 8 Standard for an estimated street price of US$99.

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About the Author: Dan Shea

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