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Why Upgrade to & Some Information About Acrobat 7!

Members of the Framers lists:

Given that Acrobat 7 has been announced by Adobe and will be shipping
before the end of the year (per Adobe's press releases a few weeks 
ago), I thought that I would give the lists some "heads up" on 
features of this new release that should or could be of interest to 
you from someone who is actually using pre-release builds of the
product for actual production. At least you will have some credible 
information (I would at least like to think of myself as credible) 
to assist in making any informed purchase decisions in terms of 
"if" and/or "when."

(1) Most important of all, Acrobat 7 is fully-compatible with 
FrameMaker 7.0 (with all the Adobe-supplied updates applied) and 
FrameMaker 7.1 under Windows. This includes use of either printing
to the "Adobe PDF" PostScript printer driver instance or using the
"save as PDF" feature of FrameMaker. Of course, if you are a glutton
for punishment or if you are running FrameMaker in Classic Mode on
MacOS X, you can still "manually" generate PostScript from FrameMaker
"to file" and then let Distiller's "watched folder" take the process
from there or you can manually feed the Distiller the PostScript file.
(Shlomo should be able to chime in as to compatibility of his TimeSavers
product with Acrobat 7 and will likely chime in on this!) 

(2) The launch times for Adobe Reader 7 and Acrobat 7 are DRAMATICALLY
improved over the equivalent times for the version 6 and even Acrobat
versions all the way back to at least 4. Nasty hacks such as manually
or programmatically moving plug-ins to improve launch time are now 
actually counterproductive. Reader and Acrobat actually loads only 
the components that it actually needs to display the first document 
and loads other components as needed. The goal of being able launch a
fully-configured Acrobat 7 under 5 seconds on a typical system has 
been met!

(3) The simple but fast "find" function from Acrobat 5 and earlier
is back in Acrobat 7 and Reader 7 addition to the more advanced 
"search" function that was added in Acrobat 6. Chose what is 
appropriate for the task at hand.

(4) Regardless of whether you are currently using only the Distiller
bundled with FrameMaker or would be upgrading from a previous version
of Acrobat, Acrobat 7 Pro is the only version of Acrobat that makes
sense for the needs of typical FrameMaker users. Acrobat 7 Standard
is really a "lite" version.

(5) Acrobat 7 Pro's Distiller provides the capability to properly
convert FrameMaker's RGB PostScript into CMYK PDF at distillation
time via joboptions without the need of any third party programs
or Acrobat post-processing plug-ins. (Still no simple way to handle
spot color without such Acrobat post-processing plug-ins such as
Pitstop!) You can even produce a valid PDF/X-1a file directly
from FrameMaker via the "save as PDF" feature!!

(6) The awkward link feature in Acrobat 6 was fixed to work as well
or better than in Acrobat 5.

(7) Acrobat 7 Pro has a tool for fixing hairline problems (you know
all those stupid 1 pixel wide lines from AutoCAD et.al.) in PDF files.

(8) Acrobat 7 Pro has a tool to convert existing PDF files (either 
current page, range of pages, or whole document) to CMYK, RGB or 
even grayscale using ICC color management (i.e., the equivalent
of the best conversions that you can do in Photoshop).

(9) The cropping tool is significantly improved.

(10) You also have a built-in transparency flattener, a watermarker,
a printing marks generator, and a fairly sophisticated n-up printing 
feature (NOT general imposition such as you would get with Quite Imposing)
in Acrobat 7 Pro.

(11) The Acrobat 7 Pro preflighting capability has been improved
including support for PDF/X-Plus (the standards of the Ghent PDF 
Workgroup of which Adobe is now a member).

(12) For those of you who need to deal with content originating in
Microsoft Office, the PDFMaker facility can now handle Office transparency
and clipped images in a manner that yields PDF files that are much more
reasonable either for standalone use and/or for placement inside of
FrameMaker documents (you know, all those PowerPoint slides you need to
shove into FrameMaker documents as "figures").

(13) Acrobat 7 (not Adobe Reader) is strictly a Windows 2000, Windows XP, 
and MacOS X product. Resource requirements (other than disk space for
installation) are comparable to Acrobat 6.

(14) Very many (but not all) bugs and limitations seen in Acrobat 6 have 
been fixed, especially in terms of opening, displaying, and printing gnarly,
somewhat non-kosher PDF files from non-Adobe sources.  :-)

(15) Acrobat 7 Pro does NOT come with Ginzu knifes, doesn't make mounds of
coleslaw, and you cannot buy it on a plan with just 3 EZ payments!

For what it is worth, I have been using pre-release builds of Acrobat 7
Pro for several months now while assisting the Acrobat development and
QE team in the finding and fixing of pre-release anomalies ("all for one,
and euphemism!") and for ALL my Acrobat/PDF use for the last three weeks.
I have been fairly well impressed by its features, performance, general
stability, and quality -- and I am not an "easy" customer to please
(they shudder every time I appear on the 15th or 16th floor of Adobe's
West Tower in San Jose worrying about what I found NOW to complain about!).
I am sorry if this tome has made me seem like a marketing shill, but the 
fact is that Adobe's Acrobat engineering team really did listen to much 
feedback from end users like yourselves and produced a new release that is 
at least worth your consideration.

	- Dov

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