Adobe Acrobat X Pro review

Price when reviewed

More useful is Acrobat X Pro’s ability to add audio, video and interactive content to bring your static paper-based publications to life. If this is a major part of your workflow, you may be interested in upgrading to Adobe’s new Acrobat Suite (£953 exc VAT; upgrade £635 exc VAT). Alongside Acrobat X Pro and the ubiquitous Photoshop, this includes the latest versions of Captivate, Presenter and Media Encoder for creating Flash-based content to incorporate into your PDFs, though strangely Flash Professional itself is not included.

When it comes to presentation of PDFs, Adobe is well aware that just emailing a bunch of disparate PDFs, perhaps with a couple of original files and web links, doesn’t exactly create a great first impression. Simply merging them into a single PDF is hardly better. This is where Adobe’s concept of the PDF Portfolio comes in, acting as a professional, interactive front-end from which end users can load each of the separate components.

When you create a portfolio, an onscreen wizard appears in which you can choose from five layouts – Click-Through, Freeform, Grid, Linear and Wave – and then select native files in any format, not just PDF. Acrobat X Pro then assembles your portfolio and opens up a dedicated Layout task pane to manage editing.

Adobe Acrobat X Pro

With this pane you can swap between the five default layouts and also choose between five new visual themes – Clean, Spring, Tech Office, Modern and Translucent – as well as five palette-based colour schemes. You can also take full control over the portfolio background, setting a gradient, adding an image, setting opacity, blurring and so on. Put it together and all users gain reasonable control over the design of their portfolios, while Flash experts can produce custom layouts and themes for their own unique house styles.

Adobe has also added new web capabilities to portfolios. To begin with, Web Content can be added in the forms of URLs or embed tags (handy for YouTube-hosted video), which can then be previewed within the portfolio itself or opened into a browser. There’s also a Save PDF Portfolio as Web Site command, which sounds a promising way of making a portfolio available online but wasn’t working with our late beta.

PDF Portfolios are neither as new nor as universally useful as Adobe’s marketing suggests. However, Acrobat X Pro’s portfolio handling is certainly simpler and stronger than version 9’s, and enabling users to brand their PDF communications professionally is a real selling point. Along with additions such as action-based automation and full Reader X-based review, Acrobat X Pro provides enough reasons for most offices and studios to upgrade or buy it. At this price, though, most workplaces will try to make do with a single copy.


Software subcategoryOffice software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes

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