Adobe makes me cry with Acrobat 9 release

Just days after I decided to upgrade my version of Adobe Acrobat 7 Standard to Adobe Acrobat 8 Pro (for all the cool functionality that is so well suited for legal practice), Adobe has announced Acrobat 9! I wasn’t a big fan of Adobe Acrobat 7 back when I had my PowerBook (it was slow and unstable) and started using it again when I bought my ScanSnap.

It wasn’t until I upgraded to version 8 Pro that I really began to enjoy using it. While version 7 runs through Rosetta on a Mac and can be pretty slow, version 8 runs natively on the Mac and is really rally fast. OCR’ing used to take ages and I can now OCR a decent length document in a fraction of the time. I haven’t even begun to explore the many other tools in Acrobat that will enhance my legal document workflows.

Anyway, I noticed a post on the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog that Adobe has announced Acrobat 9 in 3 flavours: Standard, Pro and the new Extended versions. Just reading initial impressions stimulated mild nausea:

One thing that blew me away is that Acrobat 9 is F-A-S-T! It launches in one-third the time of previous versions and generally feels a lot snappier in use.

All versions of Acrobat can now play Flash content natively. You can embed Flash movies (SWF and FLV) files and play them right in Acrobat. That means you can embed deposition and audio interviews and know that the recipient can play them with confidence.

box_acrobat_9_pro_112x112.jpgThe interface looks pretty similar to Acrobat 8 but some of the functionality is very very cool. I really like the improved document comparison feature, PDF Portfolios (a much easier way to handle a variety of documents compared to a workflow involving converting them all to PDF and combining them) and even the improved OCR process. A big attraction for me is Bates numbering because it saves me the hassle of manually numbering documents used in court processes. This feature is available in Acrobat 8 Pro and I haven’t tried it out yet. I do like the way version 9 does it and hope that my version does something similar.

The better Acrobat is the more effective I can be in managing my documents, especially considering that I am slowly moving to a paperless, PDF based document management system in my offices. Acrobat 9 could well represent a new level of efficiency even though I am yet to use Acrobat 8 Pro fully. I noticed that the upgrade cost to Acrobat 9 Pro will be around $159 and $229 to Acrobat 9 Pro Extended. That is not cheap especially after I just spent $189 to upgrade to Acrobat 8 Pro. To an extent I feel like a bit of an ass because if I had waited a week I wouldn’t have upgraded to Acrobat 8 Pro and I would rather have upgraded to Acrobat 9 Pro (or perhaps even the Extended version although I don’t know what the benefits of that would be).

It would be great if Adobe had a similar upgrade policy to Apple’s when there is a new OS. When I bought my first MacBook last year I bought it just as Leopard was released and because I bought it within a certain time period around Leopard’s release, the update from Tiger (which the MacBook shipped with) to Leopard cost me the cost of shipping a DVD to me. I don’t think Adobe has anything like that available. It would be nice if it did though …

By the way. When I first started using Acrobat 8 Pro it had a startup screen which presented me with a couple options like creating a new PDF and a couple other items. I dismissed that panel and can’t work out how to get it back. Anyone have any ideas?

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