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Updated Acrobat helps balance your time

There’s a unifying theme running through the recently released Adobe Acrobat XI: a focus on saving people time. Here are the highlights.

Collecting information

Lawyers can offer clients the convenience of completing forms onscreen. Adobe FormsCentral helps them reap that convenience.

Adobe created a desktop application for the previously online-only FormsCentral, thus eliminating a few steps simply accessing the software.

Clients can complete Forms-Central forms in a web browser as well as Adobe Reader.

Class-action lawyers, take note: Once forms are complete, FormsCentral accumulates results in a spreadsheet-like interface so you don’t have to. The interface allows for basic calculations, analysis and reporting, as well as export of the data to other software.

Gathering approvals

EchoSign was also a web-only tool until Adobe packaged it with Acrobat XI.

Faster access to EchoSign may encourage more people to sign documents onscreen and skip the print-sign-scan-PDF chore. EchoSign lets you send documents to others for their signatures, which they can provide using premade signature images or “certificate signatures.” As well, cursive signatures are permitted on touchscreen-enabled devices.

Working on the go

The ability to sign documents on tablets or smartphones is just one feature that makes Acrobat XI mobile-friendly. Users can also comment on and annotate PDFs using Adobe Reader Mobile, plus they can complete, sign, and save PDF and web forms.

Need to use the full Acrobat on your tablet? Touch Mode lets you use a version of Acrobat XI installed on a computer over a wireless link, and the software responds to your finger just as it does to your mouse.

Reviewing documents

Do you co-ordinate the creation of complex contracts? If so, then you know that the traditional document-and e-mail-based review process can multiply the number of copies of the contracts, to say nothing of document management headaches.

Adobe’s solution: Create only one copy and let reviewers have at it, using Shared Document Review. This tool lets many people work on one version of the document, and even view and build upon other people’s comments. Adobe figures containing the discussion to this one version improves that discussion and reduces e-mail volumes.

As the document owner, you can set deadlines, send notes to reviewers and better manage the process. Should your team members demand their own copies of files to review, you can keep them from changing its contents using the Restrict Editing option.

Editing PDFs

Acrobat XI lets you edit text and images right in the PDF itself. This is a time-saver when you just need to make a few quick changes and don’t want to open the original document, then re-PDF it.

Export to PowerPoint

Acrobat already enabled people to export the contents of a PDF into a Word or Excel document (among other formats) that they can edit. In Acrobat XI, people can now export a PDF’s contents directly to PowerPoint as well.

This article originally published in Lawyers Weekly Magazine. To view the print version of this article, click here.