Adobe has released Adobe Acrobat 5, positioning the Portable Document Format (PDF) as more of an online collaboration tool rather than just a way to view documents across platforms (see the TidBITS series on document collaboration). Acrobat 5 adds the capability to save the contents of PDF files in other formats such as RTF, or to save pages as TIFF, JPEG, or PNG images. On the security front, Acrobat 5 supports 128-bit encrypted password protection and digital signatures for handling confidential documents, and it can restrict editing and printing. Annotations and changes can be applied to shared documents online from within a Web browser, saving you the trouble of shuttling multiple versions of a document via email. Adobe has boosted Acrobat’s capability to use forms in PDF documents, so users can create live electronic forms that can be tied into back-end databases using Acrobat’s XML format support. Acrobat 5 also includes accessibility features such as high-contrast display settings, support for screen readers (though only Windows-based ones; see our series on accessibility on the Mac), and more keyboard shortcuts. The program also offers a host of other features, such as enhanced output and color controls, batch processing, and tools for analyzing and repairing PDF files. Acrobat 5 is now available for $250 and is carbonized for Mac OS X. The free Acrobat 5 Reader installer is a 380K download; the application itself in turn is a 10 MB download.
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