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Although Adobe recently beefed up its free Acrobat Reader, that version still does not allow for PDF creation or text and image editing.
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acrobat.adobe.comRetail Price: $119 for Acrobat Pro DC Student and Teacher Edition; 30-day free trial at acrobat.com/Acrobat_DC; various subscription and purchase options available.

Quality and Effectiveness: Although Adobe recently beefed up its free Acrobat Reader, that version still does not allow for PDF creation or text and image editing. Adobe’s new Acrobat Document Cloud does those tasks and much more. Building on the strengths of previous Acrobat versions, it adds OCR (optical character recognition) and “smart autofill,” among many other useful improvements. Available features differ in the Standard and Pro versions, with Acrobat Pro DC offering the most options, including the ability to use an iPad to edit text; turn scanned documents into PDFs that can be edited; add audio, video, and interactive objects to PDFs; and optimize PDFs to reduce file size. Users with any version of Acrobat DC can generate a PDF from any application that has a print option; combine PDF documents into one file; add, delete or extract pages from a PDF; convert Web pages to PDFs; transform Word documents or scanned files into fillable PDF forms, and more (for a matrix comparison of all four products, visit http://www.content.shi.com/SHIcom/ContentAttachmentFiles/Adobe070915BrandPage/adc-comparison.html).

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Ease of Use: For users who are upgrading from Standard or Pro, the new DC program interface will be new. Acrobat’s familiar tools are still available but in different locations. Acrobat DC’s new home screen provides a convenient way to locate PDF files, regardless of where they’re stored, and its tool center includes new shortcuts and options. The edit PDF tool, for example, displays more editing options. With the new Mobile Link feature, users can access any recently opened file on any computer or mobile device.

Creative Use of Technology: Mobile Link, which automatically saves recently viewed PDFs to the DC cloud, is very useful for those who work in more than one location. Similarly, Acrobat DC’s ability to convert scanned images to editable text thanks to its built-in OCR is helpful in many office and educational applications. A convenient heads-up display (HUD) toolbar features 10 useful tools to help navigate the document in view.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Although the features vary according to the version purchased, the software creates documents that can be viewed and edited across multiple platforms and devices. It also works well on a touch-enabled iPad with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader app and the Mobile Link feature. The free Adobe Fill & Sign DC app works well with the iPad camera, enabling users to photograph a document and then convert it into a digital, editable file ready for signature. The new home and tools menus and heads-up display toolbar all help to simplify program use, making it suitable for users of all skills and abilities.

OVERALL RATING:

Schools and districts may not want to install Acrobat DC across the board due to cost, but installing the software on selected devices (e.g., in the school or district office, teacher resource room, and school library) would be well worth the investment. With Acrobat DC, administrators, staff, teachers, and upper-grade-level students can easily edit and sign read-only PDF files, combine multiple PDFs into one document, and generate PDFs from any application that can print.

TOP FEATURES

• Generate a PDF document from any application with a print command.
• E-sign your documents from any Adobe-compatible device.
• Edit text or images in an existing PDF, add or delete pages, and extract selected pages as needed.

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