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Acrobat 8 jumps into the spotlight

Adobe Systems has launched the eighth incarnation of the popular Acrobat range of software programs, which it claimed offered better collaborative features than ever before.

The new offering includes features such as the ability to fill out PDF forms and then save those changes in a new document, to digitally sign documents, and to export PDF content into other document formats.

“Hundreds of millions of users of Acrobat and Adobe Reader have established PDF as a trusted format that enables documents to flow between companies and across the gap between digital and print,” said Tom Hale, senior vice president of Adobe’s Knowledge Worker Business Unit.

“With Acrobat 8, Adobe is enabling knowledge workers to use next generation electronic documents to easily collaborate with people, ideas and information, regardless of all-too-common operating system or platform constraints,” he added.

The release is Adobe’s first attempt to leverage products it acquired through the purchase of multimedia and digital arts tools developer Macromedia back in April.

In addition to the standard tools to create PDF documents from applications such as Microsoft Office, Visio, Access and Lotus Notes, the package now comes with web conferencing product Acrobat Connect Professional.

Previously known as Macromedia Breeze, the product is a hosted software service that provides access to a personal meeting room for real-time web conferencing.

“With the addition of Acrobat Connect, they can take collaboration a step further to instantly and easily connect with each other in real-time over the web,” claimed Hale.

Analyst group Gartner said new capabilities such as Connect Professional underscored Adobe’s role in a larger business context, providing a complete value chain from content creation through to delivery.

“Given the number of project-oriented contexts in which collaborative document review or presentations are shared, this feature is a key enhancement that positions Adobe in the WebEx and LiveMeeting hosted-conferencing market for simplified web connections

that bind people and processes with content,” the group said in a recent online advisory.

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