Adobe Systems Incorporated(www.adobe.com) has released a version 8 of their Adobe Reader program.
While the software giant publishes many other premium-level programs, Adobe is best known for the its creation of the PDF document format that is used on almost all computers. Almost all electronics manufacturers, and many other manufacturers, too, now make their manuals available in PDF format. Some have even gone back and turned old product manuals into PDF files that are available free on their web site, e.g. Snapper, the manufacturer of my lawn mower did this.
One of my first steps with a new product is to download the PDF file from the manufacturer’s web site — that’s if I didn’t download and review the manual before buying the product.
Adobe has changed the look-and-feel significantly in Acrobat Reader 8 — and I like it. The complicated icon bar on the program is replaced with a smaller, more intuitive bar. The same functions seem to be there, available via the menu bar, but no longer are their functions displayed as icons all the time. As a result, the display window can display a little more information (vertically) than could version 7.
Let’s take a look at version 7 and version 8 interfaces:
The new interface is smarter. If the document has bookmarks, it displays a Bookmarks button also in the Navigation Bar. If only it did that with the Attachments and Comments buttons also. There’s also a new button added to the top toolbar. It’s a button for Adobe’s fee-for-service Acrobat Connect meetings.
Personally, I’m not sure who they expect to buy this service — they don’t even tell us how much the service costs until after we create an ID and log into their system to create a 15-day free trial. I think I’d rather try the free 30-day trials of GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar (which includes GoToMeeting, too), which you can try even without giving credit card data.
My first thought on seeing the new version 8 was that I hated the redesign. But, I quickly decided that I like it. The controls seem less intrusive than in v7. I would like the ability to put the Rotate Clockwise and Rotate CounterClockwise buttons back on the icon bar, though.
Well, that was a complaint until I wrote the sentence — I decided to see what I could do. Adobe Reader 8 allows me to put a lot of functions directly on the toolbar, if I choose.
The process to change the top icon toolbar is:
- Right-click on the the toolbar. It doesn’t matter whether you right click on a blank space or on an existing icon.
- Select "More Tools…" This opens the More Tools dialog box.
- Now, you can select whichever options you want to add to the toolbar by putting a check in the corresponding checkbox.
- Click the OK button.
Adobe’s free Adobe Reader program is available for Windows, Mac, Solaris, Unix, Linux and other operating systems. Of course, Adobe gives away the free Reader in order to make money from their Adobe Acrobat program that creates the PDF files, but regular users don’t need the Acrobat program.
Adobe’s premium-level programs for businesses, authors, web designers and other professionals include PhotoShop CS3 and their new Adobe Creative Suite CS3. Adobe also offers consumer-level programs like PhotoShop Elements 5 for editing your photos.