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Chapter 15. Third-Party Plug-Ins > About How Plug-Ins Work

81. About How Plug-Ins Work

Before purchasing, installing, and using Acrobat plug-ins, it is helpful to have an understanding of how plug-ins work. This will help you in managing your plug-ins and troubleshooting any problems you might have while using your plug-ins. As mentioned earlier, plug-ins are small software programs that extend the capabilities of a host application, such as Acrobat. When you launch Acrobat, it looks for a folder called plug_ins in the main Acrobat folder and loads into memory any plug-ins it finds there. After these plug-ins are loaded into memory, their functionality is available to you through Acrobat. Most plug-ins offer some sort of interface, usually as a dialog box accessed from the Plug-Ins menu. Some plug-ins, however, operate in the background, enhancing Acrobat's functionality without requiring direct user input.

A lot of plug-ins are available, and it's fun to have a lot of added functionality, but the price you pay for all those added goodies is that Acrobat takes up a lot more memory and it takes longer to load the plug-in data from your hard drive. This usually isn't a problem (unless you have a lot of extra plug-ins), but it's important to keep in mind.


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