When you are working with clients, collaborating with colleagues abroad, or any other situation you can think of, being able to share files and your work quickly a must. You have to be able to share files, have them look good, and keep your file size down. You can do this by creating PDFs with Acrobat.
The great thing about Acrobat is that it is so versatile. There are so many different file formats that Acrobat can understand, and convert to its own format. Another great thing for designers is the ability to convert native .ai and .psd files. This saves you time, because you don’t have to save or convert these files to any other format before importing them into Acrobat.
Start up Acrobat, and you will have a myriad of options. You can create a PDF from a single file. Choose this if you have one large file to convert to a PDF. You can also create a PDF from a screen capture, a window capture, a selection capture, a scanner and a web page. These are all nice features, but the more practical features (besides creating a PDF from a single file) are the other options found below the ones listed above.
This feature is excellent. With no knowledge of how to create forms or how to build a website form, you can choose from available templates or create your own form. Upon choosing to create a form from a template Forms Central opens up. You can choose from many different options. There are many useful options, such as a client questionnaire, Conference Registration, Customer Satisfaction Survey, Event Registration, Feedback Form, Product Registration Form, Service Estimate, Time Tracking, and many others.
I chose Client Questionnaire. This is extremely useful for emailing to a client. They will fill it out so that you can get a better idea of what they are looking for. This is a great way to gain insight before a first meeting. The example below shows what the interface looks like.
The great part about this interface is how easy it is to use. To edit anything on the screen, all you have to do is double-click it. To change an image, you can double-click it and select one from your local computer. Notice in the example above that I imported a logo in the top right. You can resize the image quickly and easily by clicking and dragging the corner handle.
The bar above can be found toward the bottom of the screen. In this toolbar, you will find items to quickly add parts to your document. You can add text fields, choice fields, checkboxes, dropdown menus, ratings, email fields, formatted text, images, and horizontal lines. When you are finished, go to file in the top right corner and choose Save as PDF Form. Here, you can save the form to your desktop.
Batch Create Multiple Files
This is a very handy feature that I have used multiple times. Imagine having a folder full of Word documents, Excel files, or both. Having a handful wouldn’t constitute implementing this feature, but if you have hundreds, it can save you a tremendous amount of time and legwork. Each document will open, save as a pdf, and close, and it will cycle through each one, until they are all complete.
In the example folder, I have included a wide variety of files. Incidentally, the ones that are omitted from this procedure are the native psd files, and the ai files.
When the process is done you will have a separate PDF file for each file that you chose to batch convert. The great thing about this process is that it will have the same name as the file that you converted, so it will be easy to find the file you are looking for. You can combine all of your single files into one large file with the next option.
Combine Files Into a Single PDF
You can add an entire folder, or you can add single files at a time. You can also just drag and drop files into the application window. Other options are to add a web page, or to add something from your clipboard. Once you have your files all loaded into the window, you can move them up or down and order them by using the green up and down arrows at the bottom of the window.
Click on Combine files, and Acrobat will work its magic, converting each file and centering it stacked on top of each other. Each document will be on its own page. If the document that you converted is made up of multiple pages, then Acrobat will convert and include all of the pages in the PDF. Acrobat will also keep them in the same order, and will keep the document’s pages in the same order as they were in the original document.
Acrobat XI has a nice set of portfolio presets. You can choose click through, freeform, grid, linear, and wave. Click through shows your document one by one, and the user clicks the thumbnail at the bottom to cycle through the different pages. freeform scatters your files around the canvas in a random pattern, grid arranges them in a grid pattern. Linear arranges them in a line and shows each page in sequence. Wave creates a spinning path and adds a creative flair to your presentation. You can also add a custom layout.
Once you click add files, you can import all of your files, and a dialog box will open up, allowing you to customize your presentation. Different styles (grid, linear, etc.) have different settings to explore. You can choose your own fonts, background colors, themes and color palettes. You can also embed fonts and import more files in case you forgot some files and don’t want to have to go back.
If you click details in the top right corner, you can add a name, display name and description, and you can add your own columns with your own information. Once you are finished, you can save your file as a PDF portfolio. This adds a bit of creativity to your presentation and goes above and beyond the average PDF document.
It is easy to see why Acrobat is a useful tool for any one that wants to be able to gather files and send them to colleagues or clients. With PDFs you can gather files and combine them into one document, while keeping the file size small at the same time. You can also convert and combine a wide range of file types. You can create professional and dynamic presentations to wow clients and colleagues.
Do you use Acrobat for your projects? How do you use Acrobat in your business? Leave your answers in the comments section below.