My Thoughts on Adobe Acrobat

by Nick Jensen on September 6, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a detour while learning how to operate Adobe  FrameMaker. Acting on the advice from Jeff Kreger and other technical communicators, I have learned how to navigate and use Adobe Acrobat Pro. Allow me to start by saying that I really wish I had this software in my earlier college days. I cannot overstress how many times I have had to scan through documents in the Cal. State Long Beach scholarly database while looking for relevant sources to use in my research papers. Unlike a web browser, I couldn’t search scanned documents for key words. Now, years later, I come across Acrobat and its optical character recognition and all I can say is “Where have you been all my life?” Just for fun, I ran all of my old research articles through Acrobat’s OCR. Each document was almost perfectly converted, with little or no suspects (words that are not correctly converted).

Like with many other Adobe products, I found Acrobat intuitively easy to learn. If you need to rearrange something such as page or bookmark, you don’t have to cut or paste anything. You simply click on the object in its panel and drag it anywhere you want. When I first started learning Acrobat, I used a guide-book to help me understand what each tool did. However, I soon threw the book to the side (not literally) because each feature was so straightforward and easy to recognize. RoboHelp, although an Adobe product, wasn’t very straightforward. There were so many toolbars, pods, and lists that overwhelmed my senses. I’m pleased to say that Acrobat came nowhere near as confusing as RoboHelp. All of Acrobat’s tools and panels were neatly tucked to either side of the screen. To offer a better understanding of how I feel about RoboHelp and Acrobat, allow me to use an analogy. RoboHelp is like a messy person’s room. Everything  you need is there, but first, you need to find it among  all the clutter (toolbars, pods, etc.). On the other hand, Acrobat represents a clean and organized room. Each tool or feature is easy to find and unlike RoboHelp, uncluttered. Don’t get me wrong, RoboHelp is an excellent program, but sorting through all the tools and features can cause a major headache. Although I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty learning the ins and outs of an advanced HAT, there are times where I long for programs that are more user-friendly. If I had to sum up Adobe Acrobat in one word, it would be just that: user-friendly.

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