By Dennis O'Reilly
Workgroups can now get more out of their favorite Microsoft Office applications by using them less. Rather than collaborating on separate files that make up a typical project (a Word press release, an Excel inventory list, and a PowerPoint presentation, for example), simply merge them all in Adobe's $299 Acrobat 6 Standard PDF-creation software so your coworkers can indicate text edits using the same tools and interface.
Many less-expensive programs for converting document files to Adobe's Portable Document Format exist, but none of them approaches the level of Office integration and the collaboration features available in the genuine article. I looked at a preproduction copy of the software.
Acrobat 6 adds buttons to Internet Explorer for publishing a Web page or an entire site as a PDF file (complete with working links), and to Outlook for attaching a document as a PDF. (The $449 Acrobat 6 Professional edition adds one-click PDF functionality to Project and some other professional applications.)
To convert a file to .pdf format, simply right-click it in Windows Explorer or any folder window and choose Convert to PDF. Select several files and right-click to see the new Combine in Adobe Acrobat option that joins the files in the order of your choosing. You can apply common headers, footers, and watermarks across the various files.
Acrobat 6's new task-based interface puts the tools you're most likely to use in a given situation -- for example, an append-notes function -- on a context-sensitive toolbar. Also new is the ability to accept and reject reviewers' comments in a sender's original file.
Adobe Acrobat 6 is an extremely useful tool for Microsoft Office-based workgroups. If you're not in that category, though, I don't consider it a must-have upgrade.
From the June 2003 issue of PC World magazine