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I Use Adobe!

Some of the most frequent comments I hear from readers are, “I use Adobe,” or “I put it in Adobe,” or “I can't get Adobe to work.” Generally, most people understand that an Adobe product is being referred to in these statements, since Adobe Acrobat products are among the most popular developed by Adobe Systems. However, Adobe is a software company that develops and distributes many products including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, and many others. So to say you work with Adobe technically means that you work with the company that produces the products. To avoid confusion and be clear in your communication with others, be sure to use the product name as opposed to the company when referring to a particular software program.

Adobe Systems develops a wide range of Acrobat products, and branding those products is of great importance to the company. Prior to Adobe Reader version 6, Adobe officially called the Reader software Acrobat Reader. When it released Acrobat 6, Adobe changed the branding to Adobe Reader. Since that time, Adobe Systems has spent much time and effort trying to get the user community to use the name Adobe Reader when discussing the product.

This book is about Adobe Reader, the free software product developed by Adobe Systems. When I refer to Adobe Reader, or simply Reader, I'm talking about the software product. When I make reference to Adobe, I'm talking about the company that develops the product. And when I talk about Acrobat, I'm really talking about Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Professional—the two Acrobat products for purchase from Adobe Systems or a software reseller.

To help you in your work and as you read this book, try to become familiar with the product name and remember the distinction between the software application and the developer that distributes it. The pages ahead instruct you on how to use the Adobe Reader software.

Why a Book on Adobe Reader?

Now that you've picked up this book, the first question you might ask is, “Why would I buy a book on Adobe Reader? After all, isn't Adobe Reader that little thingy you can get free from Adobe Systems? Isn't Reader something you use to fill out tax forms?”

The answer, of course, to the two last questions is yes. But Adobe Reader is capable of doing so much more, and users who download the free Adobe Reader software tend to restrict their Reader work sessions to viewing, printing, and filling out PDF documents and forms.

With the introduction of Adobe Reader 7 and its many new features, relying on help documents from within the Adobe Reader program may not be enough for the average Reader user to take full advantage of the program. To get an idea of some of the features now available within Adobe Reader, look over the following list:

  • Add comments and markups to a PDF. In Adobe Reader you can make comments on PDF documents using a variety of commenting tools. You can save your comments within Reader and send comments to other Acrobat or Adobe Reader users when PDF documents are assigned special features.

  • Participate in reviews. You can participate in email-based and browser-based comment review sessions when PDF documents are assigned special features. You can exchange comments among your workgroup members, merge comments from other users, and track review sessions.

  • Create custom stamp files. You can create custom stamps to use in review sessions, and mark up documents using your personal stamps when PDF documents carry special features.

  • Use digital signatures. You can electronically sign documents for authenticity purposes when PDF documents are assigned special features.

  • Use file attachments. Acrobat users can send eEnvelopes (electronic envelopes) containing a document—any kind of document—attached to a PDF file, complete with security settings. You can extract non-PDF and PDF documents in Adobe Reader. You can edit attached files and save your edits.

  • Save form data. Although you can't select File > Save to save forms unless a document is assigned special features, you can submit data from Adobe Reader to other users complete with the form data. Submissions can be made via email or to a Web address. When PDF documents carry special features, you can save form data.

  • Searching PDFs. You can search your local hard drive, a network server, and the Web for PDF documents using an impressive search engine provided to you from within Adobe Reader. You can also search PDF file attachments.

  • Setup for accessibility. For vision- and motion-impaired readers, a new Accessibility Setup Assistant is available for setting up the viewing environment when an assistive device is detected. You can check documents from within Reader to see whether they meet accessibility standards.

  • Read Out Loud. You can use the Read Out Loud feature to deliver audio output through speakers attached to your computer or through your computer's internal speaker. You can change audio output levels, pitch, and voices.

  • Overprint preview. For creative professionals, you can preview overprints before sending documents to commercial printers.

  • Manage images. Certain PDF documents support Picture Tasks. You can use the Picture Tasks tool to export images, print images using a number of different printing templates, and send pictures to photo-processing centers.

  • Manage Digital Editions (eBooks). You can download eBooks from content providers, view eBooks in Adobe Reader, and borrow and exchange eBooks. You can organize them in a personal library and sort them into categories and groups. You can subscribe to periodicals and Digital Editions from content providers who deliver editions in PDF format.

As you can see, there's more to Adobe Reader than simply viewing a PDF document or filling out a PDF form. In addition, you can add much more functionality using Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions. All of these features and more are covered in the chapters ahead.

Who Should Buy This book?

More than a half billion people use the Adobe Reader software worldwide. This book is intended for the Adobe Reader user who wants to know more about what the program can and can't do. For Adobe Reader users who want to acquire additional software or learn about other features that can be added to PDF documents, this book will help you enhance your Reader usage.

This book is also intended for IT managers, Adobe Acrobat users, and users in specialized fields such as engineers, lawyers, creative professionals, businesspeople, and government workers who create PDF documents and want to understand the program's capabilities for the benefit of their co-workers and clients who use the Adobe Reader software.

PDF documents are standardized in industries throughout the world. With new formats supported from within PDF, you can expect to see Acrobat and Adobe Reader usage grow geometrically in years to come. The more familiar you become with Acrobat viewers and the PDF format, the more prepared you'll be to create and use PDF documents.

Platform Support

This book is written for a cross-platform environment for both Windows and Apple Macintosh users. Where you see screen images taken on one platform or another, the same options apply to both platforms. Almost all features you use on one platform are applicable to the other platform. Where variances occur, I explain the differences in both the text and the figures.

What You Need

In Chapter 1, “Acquiring and Installing Adobe Reader,” I discuss how to get ahold of the Adobe Reader software. If you don't have Adobe Reader 7 installed on your computer, look over Chapter 1 and follow the instructions for downloading the Adobe Reader program. As explained in Chapter 1, you need to download the complete Adobe Reader program (you don't need to purchase any software to complete the exercises in the chapters). And be certain you're using version 7 or later of Adobe Reader to follow the text and steps in this book.

You also need an Internet connection. If you download the Adobe Reader program at the office and install it at home or on another computer, be certain that you have an active Internet connection. Although high-speed connection is preferred, you can use a dial-up connection to follow the steps in the book.

The figures you see in the book are screen shots taken on Windows XP and Macintosh OS X systems. The minimum requirements for using Adobe Reader 7 or later are:


  • Intel Pentium-class processor

  • Windows 2000 with Service Pack 2 or later OR Windows XP Professional or Home Edition OR Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

  • 128 MB of RAM (256 MB or greater preferred)

  • 32 MB of available hard disk space

  • Internet Explorer 5.5 or later


  • PowerPC G3 or later

  • Mac OS X v.10.2.8 or later (Jaguar) OR v.10.3 or later (Panther)

  • 128 MB of RAM (256 MB or greater preferred)

  • 35 MB of available hard disk space

  • Internet Explorer for Mac 5.2 or later OR Apple Safari 1.2.2 or later

How to Use This Book

This book is written in a nonlinear style so you can jump from chapter to chapter; you don't have to read the book from beginning to end. However, a few preliminaries will make your reading and comprehension easier. For starters, read Chapters 1 through 3. These chapters cover some of the basics you need to know such as nomenclature, the distinction between Acrobat products, and becoming familiar with the Adobe Reader workplace. After Chapter 3, “Getting Familiar with Adobe Reader,” you can read chapters covering specific areas of interest. In regard to using comments and markups, and participating in review sessions, four chapters cover these tasks in detail. If comment and markup are your interest, start with Chapter 11, “Using the Comment Tools,” and read through Chapter 15, “Working with Reviews and Markups.”

At the end of the book, you'll find three appendixes. They cover additional material to help you take full advantage of Adobe Reader. The topics include using low-cost programs you can acquire to complement your Reader usage, and additional solutions provided by Adobe Systems to help you gain more functionality with the Reader software.

In Appendix C, “Using the Tutorial Files,” you'll find a list of all the documents, hosted on a companion Web site, that you can download and use to follow the exercises in the chapters. Be certain to look over Appendix C before you begin reading the following pages.

This book focuses on learning by doing. In each chapter, you'll find a series of steps that walk you through tasks so you can take advantage of using tools and commands to produce results. Steps are accompanied by the following additional items:

  • Notes. Notes explain an alternative process, clarify meaning, or amplify a concept. Be sure you look over any notes associated with the steps and introductions.

  • Tips. Tips offer suggestions and workarounds for accomplishing tasks, such as alternative tools, commands, and methods for producing results. Be certain to read all the tips and follow suggestions to improve your skill in using Adobe Reader.

  • File References. When you see this icon, it signifies that a tutorial file can be downloaded from the publisher's Web site. Log on to www.peachpit.com/adobereader7 to find files specially prepared to help you work through steps. Not all steps have companion files, but when they do, you'll see this icon and a reference for the file you can use to complete the steps.

  • Sidebars. Sidebars offer you more detail about procedures and often provide the reason for why you might use a particular method to produce a result. In addition, sidebars explain how to perform workarounds and steps for specific purposes. Be certain to read all the sidebars to gain more understanding related to the steps and procedures.

  • Steps. Each chapter following Chapter 3 contains a series of steps on various topics related to a chapter's content. At the beginning of each series of steps is a short introduction about what's covered in the steps. Read the introduction and then duplicate the steps on your computer as you read the chapter. If you find a task complicated when you first work through the steps, repeat the section until you thoroughly understand how to produce a result.

The sample files are offered as a starting point. If you have files you commonly use in your workflow, by all means use your own files. If you use the companion files you download from www.peachpit.com/adobereader7, use a little imagination and think about how the steps in the tutorial files apply to documents used in your work environment.

Staying Connected

At one time or another, you may need some help in understanding more about Adobe Reader or the other Adobe Acrobat products, or need help in working out a problem using the Adobe Reader software. There are a few places you should visit periodically for information, help, technical support, and assistance with Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat, and PDF. The following Web sites are places to browse to keep abreast of new developments, information, and news:

www.adobe.com. Visit Adobe's Web site frequently for software updates, information, and developments related to all Adobe Acrobat products. You can find valuable technical information, tutorials, downloadable upgrades, and help right on Adobe's Web site.

www.planetpdf.com. Planet PDF is devoted to distributing information about Adobe Reader, Acrobat, and PDF, as well as Acrobat-related products. Log on to the Web site to find helpful information, breaking news, and articles to keep you abreast of everything related to the entire Acrobat family. The Planet PDF forum is designed for users to ask questions that are then fielded by the world's leading authorities on Acrobat and PDF.

www.pdfzone.com. PDFzone is another Web site that offers helpful information, news, and technical support related to Acrobat and PDF. Log on to the PDFzone Web site to find the most up-to-date information, articles, and essays about Acrobat products and PDF.

If you have a question that you can't get answered at the above sources, try sending me an email. Assuming not all half a billion Adobe Reader users buy this book, I should be able to give you a prompt reply. I can't always answer every question, but I might be able to point you in a direction to get answers. Write to me at ted@west.net.

My sincere best wishes for you as you develop your skill in using the amazing Adobe Reader product.

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