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Our last blog warned about some of the pitfalls of upgrading to Acrobat DC. If you haven’t downloaded the upgrade yet, I recommend you take a few minutes to read it. Having given fair warning first, now let’s look into some of the exciting new features.




Adobe takes working with Acrobat documents to a whole new dimension with Acrobat DC. It now provides touch capability and has an entirely new interface. Most folks are saying the new interface is much more uncluttered than the old. Let’s look at a couple of examples. The following image (courtesy of shows the right-hand toolbox in both Acrobat Pro DC and Acrobat XI. Adding to DC’s functionality is the ability to customize the tools that appear in the toolbox. If you find that you never use the “Prepare Form” tool, for example, you can delete it. Similarly, if you find that you frequently use the “Print Production” tool, it’s easy to add it to the menu.

Adobe Acrobat DC Right-Hand Menu

Looking for a specific tool? If you don’t find it on the right-hand toolbox, you will find it in the Tools menu at the top of the screen. Clicking on the Tools menu shows all of them:

Tools Screen of Adobe Acrobat DC

Notice that each tool has the word “Add” below it. Click this button and it is added to the right-hand toolbox. If you click the dropdown arrow next to the word Add, the options to “Open” the tool and “Learn More” about the tool appear.

Not only has the right-hand side panel changed, the top menu bars have changed. Following is the top menu lines for both Acrobat Pro DC and XI, again courtesy of (Check out their blog about Acrobat Pro DC for their take on it.)

Acro DC Old and New Screens2

The top menu row in Acrobat Pro DC holds common commands and can be modified somewhat. There is a floating page control that can be docked to this top line, if desired. When not docked, it is visible at the bottom of the screen when you mouse over that area. The second row of the top menu is context sensitive. In other words, it changes depending on which tool you are using.

Having worked with DC just a little, I can tell you that it will take some time to learn the new interface and use it efficiently. To help with that process, Adobe has some excellent tutorials that teach the basics. You’ll find them here.

The good news is that the tools work the same across platforms. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a Mac or a PC, a tablet or a phone. Acrobat makes good on its promise that you can work anywhere with their Mobile Link that accesses recent files across desktop, web, and mobile. Additionally, whether you’re using Acrobat Reader, Standard, or Pro, the menus are all alike, with options not available in the Reader or Standard versions grayed out.

Work Anywhere

Adobe’s promise that you will be able to “work anywhere” is met in a number of ways. First is the multi-platform product itself. Acrobat DC is available on Mac, PC, and mobile devices. And did you notice earlier in this article that we said Acrobat DC is now touch capable for the growing number of users with touch screens. Additionally, there is the whole “DC” thing. “DC” stands for Document Cloud. Adobe DC includes 5 GB storage space in their Document Cloud. Lastly, Acrobat’s Mobile Link app enables you to access recent files across desktop, web, and mobile.

Enhanced Editing

Imagine you’re at a client facility and you recognize that your PDF has a typo in it or you want to add an additional bullet point to your features list. You can do that directly to the PDF from your phone or tablet. Or perhaps at the last minute you see that the image includes an old model of your product. You can swap the image in the PDF for a newer one.

Acrobat DC’s Pro version includes enhanced document editing capabilities, including the ability to edit scanned documents – yes, you read that correctly – you will be able to edit your scanned documents. The editing functionality has been improved to allow full paragraphs to reflow while editing. In other words, you won’t have a large white space in the middle of a paragraph because you deleted three words. The text will reflow. You can also change the text size and type directly in your PDF and resize or move the text boxes.

Not to be outdone by text, images can now be edited in the PDF. You can flip, crop, rotate, or replace images right in your PDF. That’s pretty amazing.

(Of course it creates a version control nightmare, but that’s fodder for another blog.)


Acrobat DC allows you to send, track, manage, and store signed documents with a built-in e-signature service. This service is included with your subscription to Acrobat DC. E-signatures are legal and enforceable in 27 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Adobe’s e-signature service complies with industry security standards including HIPAA and PCI v3.0 used by the credit card industry. You can learn more about this technology and it’s security here.

This blog just touches the surface of Acrobat DC capabilities. If you think you’re ready to purchase, please read our last blog that discusses some of the issues surrounding the implementation of Acrobat Pro DC.

If you’re ready to buy, click here to purchase your copy.

In our series on how to use the features in Adobe® Acrobat® Pro, today’s blog covers the Interactive Objects panel. You’ll be able to add buttons, audio, video and more using this panel.

We’re attacking this in two parts – the “Add Buttons” feature and then all other features. The other features are so similar, that you’ll find the video covering all of them to be shorter than the “Add Buttons” video. Remember, you can click on the four-corners icon in the bottom right of any video to enlarge it to full screen.


Part 1 of 2: Adding Buttons

Learn how to add buttons, give them effective actions, change the way they look and respond, edit and duplicate them.


Part 2 of 2: Adding Video, Sound, SWF and 3D Objects
Learn how to add video and sound to your PDF files. You’ll follow the same pattern to add SWF and 3D objects.

Enjoy! I hope your interactive PDF files are incredibly effective!

Learn more about Brainstorming, Unleashing Your Creativity to Think Outside the Box here or purchase your copy here.

Pages Panel of Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro Pages Panel

We are in the midst of a series of blogs teaching how to use some of the features of Adobe® Acrobat® Pro. These features allow you to tremendously enhance your PDFs.

The first blog in the series covered the Content Editing panel. You can find it here. The second blog covered the first of three areas in the Pages panel. It’s available here.

Today’s blog covers the remaining two areas in the Pages panel of Acrobat®.

Remember that you can click on the four-corners icon in the bottom right of any video to enlarge it to full screen.


Part 6 of 8: Insert from File and More Insert Options
There are a number of ways to insert information into an existing PDF. This video covers the following:

  • Insert from File command — this is the easy one!
  • More Insert Options – Starting at 1:48, the video covers the lesser known ways to insert information into your existing PDF — from a scanner and from a website. You’ll also learn how to insert a blank page.

Part 7 of 8: Combine Files
This short video (only 2:04) demonstrates how to combine multiple files into a single PDF. Yes, you could accomplish this by inserting one file after another into the first document, but using the Combine File command will save you lots of time.

Headers & Footers
The next command in the Pages panel is “Headers & Footers”. I have previously blogged about the topic here.

Part 8 of 8: Background, Watermark, and Bates Numbering
This last video covers the last three commands in the Pages panel.

  • Background – You’ll learn how to change the background color or add your own custom background to an existing PDF.
  • Watermark – Starting at 1:27, you’ll learn how to add a watermark to your document. The watermark can be simple text entered into Acrobat or an image.
  • Bates Numbering — Starting at 3:57, you’ll not only learn what Bates Numbering is (I’m guessing you don’t know) but also how it can be a great help to you.

Well, friends, that’s it for the Pages panel of Adobe Acrobat. The next video (or video series) will cover the Interactive Objects panel. See you then!

Adobe Acrobat Panels

Pages Panel of Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro Pages Panel

We are in the midst of a series of blogs teaching how to use some of the features of Adobe® Acrobat® Pro. These features allow you to tremendously enhance your PDFs.

The first blog in the series covered the Content Editing panel. You can find it here.

Today’s blog is the first of two that deal with the Pages panel of Acrobat®.

With such a large number of commands in the Pages panel, we’ve broken the tutorial into a series of videos. We ended up with eight videos, so we’ll cover the first five in this blog and the last three in our next blog.

Remember that you can click on the four-corners icon in the bottom right of any video to enlarge it to full screen.

Part 1 of 8: Thumbnails, Rotate & Delete Commands
This first video covers the first three commands in the Pages panel.

  • Intro & Thumbnails – Thumbnails are pretty simple and take less than 2 minutes to cover.
  • Rotate – Starting at 1:45, you’ll not only learn the ins and outs of the Rotate command, but we’ll also teach you how to add the command to your tool bar.
  • Delete — Starting at 4:19, the discussion of the Delete command includes a caution that may keep you from being very sorry some day.

Part 2 of 8: Extract Command
The Extract dialog box allows you to specify a number of variables that gives you many options for extracting pages. Learn about them in this short 3:39 video.

Part 3 of 8: Replace Command
If you use Acrobat very much, you’ve probably used the Replace command before…still, I’m guessing you don’t know all there is to know about it. I was surprised that there is enough information to communicate about the Replace command that the video is 5 minutes, 43 seconds! You’ll learn:

  • The basics of replacing pages
  • A warning about using the command that may save you many headaches some day
  • How to add the command to your toolbar

Part 4 of 8: Crop Command
Learn the ins and outs of the Crop command in the pages panel – all 4 minutes, 21 seconds of it!

Part 5 of 8: Split Command
Let Acrobat do the work of splitting a PDF into multiple files using the Split command. Learn how to split based on number of pages, size of files or based on established bookmarks. While I often want to split my PDFs myself, in the right situation, this command can save you a lot of time.

Whew! That’s a lot of training for one blog. We’ll cover the remaining menu options on the Pages panel in the next blog. Watch for it next week.

Adobe® Acrobat® Pro has many features that allow you to tremendously enhance your PDFs.

In this video I review the content editing features. To go directly to the video scroll down or click here. The video teaches you how to:

  • Edit text in your PDF. If you tried this in earlier versions, you know that it didn’t work well. Maybe you’d have success if you were just changing a character or two. Current versions not only allow you to significantly change your text, it will also wrap text appropriately, change the size of your text box and more. If you want to jump directly to this section of the tutorial, go to 1:48 on the video.
  • Add new text. Go to 3:24 on the video to learn how to add text.
  • Add images. This begins at the 5 minute point in the video.
  • Export your PDF to other file formats. This is a fantastic time saver when you need data from a PDF or want to update the look of your document but don’t have the original files. Learn more about this at 6:45 on the video.
  • Add links. Adding links begins at 8:25.
  • Add bookmarks. Jump to 12:03 to learn about bookmarks, how they differ from links, and how to create and change them.
  • Attach files. Learn to attach files beginning at 16:10.

It seems that most of the “how can I…?” phone calls we’re getting lately deal with some of the advanced features in Adobe® Acrobat® Pro. I previously blogged about adding headers and footers to your PDFs here. In future videos we’ll review other Acrobat tools that will allow you to provide a better, more informative and useful document to your audience.

Remember that you can click on the four-corners icon in the bottom right of the video to enlarge the video to full screen.

The Space Bar – A Bit of Background

Back in the days before computers and desktop publishing, typists created space between words by hitting the space bar on their typewriters once (typically with their thumb). The standard practice of that time said that two spaces were to be used at the end of a sentence. But that was back in the day, for typists who were creating documents on a typewriter. Typewriters were crude instruments for putting text on paper. They only had one typeface (until interchangeable “daisywheel” typewriters came along) and that one typeface was in only one size. Besides that, all the letters, numbers, and symbols were monospaced. That means that every character took the same amount of space, no matter if it were a capital M or a lowercase i.

Those rules and limitations never applied to professional typesetters. Typesetters have always had access to several typefaces in various sizes, and their type was proportionally spaced. Typesetting was a realm far beyond the humble desktop typewriter. The greater control that their tools gave them (especially the proportionately spaced type) made typesetters’ documents look drastically better than anything a typist could do on a typewriter.

But things are different now.

Instead of dumb typewriters, we use something called computers. The great thing about computers is that they let average people do things really well that they couldn’t do at all without a computer. Typesetting is just one example of that. With the average computer, we have access to far more typefaces, in an infinite number of sizes, than any professional typesetter from days gone by. And while there are a few typefaces that are intentionally monospaced to mimic typewriters from the past, it’s safe to say that every font that you’ll ever use is proportionally spaced, as well.

Different Tools Mean Different Rules

Let’s start by dispelling the “two spaces at the end of a sentence” practice. In the world of proportional spacing, it is no longer required. Your computer compensates. Using two spaces will make your text look gappy. Most people today don’t like that look. If you persist in doing it, people will think that your document was created by a secretary from the 1960s.  But you be the judge. The first paragraph below uses one space after periods. The second paragraph uses two. Which do you prefer?

InDesign spacing examples

What about the single space, though? Well, software compensates for that, too. While there is a “standard” amount of space when the space bar is used, that space is adjusted (without any action on the part of the user) to accommodate several different conditions:

  • Spacing between “wide” and “thin” letters (think “s” and “i”) need to be adjusted to make the text more readable. The letter “i” obviously isn’t as wide as the letter “s” but a little more space is required between two of them or they are difficult to read. Similarly, two of the letter “s” require a little less space between them.

Spacing Differences between Ss and Is

  • InDesign proportionally changes spacing to accommodate line endings and margins.
  • If full justification is used, it provides even more proportional changes. You can see from the first two lines in the example below that the pink text, which is justified, has spread out the text slightly. InDesign accomplishes that not by changing the size of the letters, but by adding little bits of white space between the words and/or characters.

Aligned Text Example

There’s More to White Space than the Space Bar
There’s more ways to get white space than hitting the space bar. Near the bottom of the Type menu, you’ll find the option “Insert White Space.” Click it and a plethora of options become available.

InDesign Type - Insert White Space Menu

I’ll give you the technical definition of each but a picture is worth a thousand words, right? The image below illustrate the differences in the white spaces. I’ve included a guide to make the difference more clear.

InDesign Insert White Space Options

That, my friend is the power of inserting spaces.

How can you tell what kind of space has been used? By checking out the hidden characters. The following image is the same as the previous one except that we have toggled “show hidden characters” on (^Alt I or Type > Show/Hide Hidden Characters).

Illustration of InDesign Hidden Character for White Space

The hidden characters are the faint blue dots and dashes indicating the type of white space used. A simple dot represents a space bar space.

What’s it all mean? Here’s the detail, taken directly from Adobe’s help site.

Em Space: Equal in width to the size of the type. In 12‑point type, an em space is 12 points wide.

En Space: One‑half the width of an em space.

Nonbreaking Space: The same flexible width as pressing the spacebar, but it prevents the line from wrapping or being broken at the space character.

Nonbreaking Space (Fixed Width): A fixed width space prevents the line from being broken at the space character, but does not expand or compress in justified text. The fixed width space is identical to the Nonbreaking Space character inserted in InDesign CS2.

Third Space: One‑third the width of an em space.

Quarter Space: One‑fourth the width of an em space.

Sixth Space: One‑sixth the width of an em space.

Flush Space: Adds a variable amount of space to the last line of a fully justified paragraph, useful for justifying text in the last line. (See Change Justification settings.)

Hair Space: One‑twenty‑fourth the width of an em space.

Thin Space: One‑eighth the width of an em space. You may want to use a thin space on either side of an em dash or en dash.

Figure Space: Same width as a number in the typeface. Use a figure space to help align numbers in financial tables.

Punctuation Space: Same width as an exclamation point, period, or colon in the typeface.

Why would you ever use them? You will find wildly differing “rules” about when to use these various spaces – so wildly differing rules that the most important one is that you follow your own style guide consistently. Here are some guidelines we use:

  • Never use regular spaces to align text. Use tabs. Occasionally you can use En or Em spaces.
  • For a line or two you might violate the above rule and use an En or Em space at the beginning of the line to indent the first line of text. Standardize on using tabs, paragraph indents and/or first line paragraph indents, but the occasional Em or En space sometimes simplifies things. Remember – occasional.
  • You might use En or Em space to separate a subhead that appears within the first line of a paragraph (typesetters call it a “running head”). It sets the headline off a bit from the rest of the paragraph.
  • A little space on either side of a slash improves the look of headlines. I typically use thin spaces on both sides of the slash as shown below. The first line has no spaces, the second line uses thin spaces, the third line uses regular spaces.

Using White Space around Slash in InDesign

  • Most rules say there should be no spaces on either side of an em dash. I think that looks really crowded and usually use regular spaces (for run-of-the-mill documents). For fancy documents (e.g., poetry, invitation, expensive coffee table books) or in headlines, I often use a sixth space.

InDesign White Space Around Em DashSpacing is highly subjective. InDesign offers you many options to obtain the look you want. Pick a look you like and stick with it. Adding special spaces into your document takes a bit more time, but used judiciously they can make your document much more readable and attractive.

Adding new headers and footers to existing PDF files is just a few clicks away from becoming reality using Acrobat® Pro. This video shows you how.

Wondering what the difference between Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Pro? The video gives a short explanation to help avoid confusion.

We LOVE the video speed-up program MySpeed™ by Enounce. You can download a free trial here. Read our review of it here.
Want to purchase Acrobat Pro? Click here.
Interested in purchasing a Creative Cloud membership? Click here.

PageUp/PageDown keys
One of my biggest gripes with InDesign has always been that the PageDown and PageUp keys no longer move the document a full page up or down. Why? Why? Why? It worked in PageMaker. And it’s just intuitive. So why change it?

Beats me, but they did and they never changed it back. So are there better ways to navigate through a long document in InDesign? Yes, there are! Thank you for asking.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Most folks know these first two shortcuts but for the newbies among us we want to share them:
    • Regain that true PageUp/PageDown capability by adding the Alt key. So Alt-PageUp will take you to the previous spread and Alt-PageDown will take you to the next spread.
    • You can skip to the first page of your document by pressing Shift-Ctrl-PageUp, and to the last page by pressing Shift-Ctrl-PageDown.
  • To jump to any page in your file, Ctrl-J will open up a page number dialog box. Enter the page number that you want to jump to and it will take you right there. (Think J for Jump)
  • Want to go back to the page you just jumped from? Use the Go Back command (Ctrl-PageUp) and Go Forward (Ctrl-PageDown) to jump back and forth between the page you’re on and the page you just jumped from.

Mouse Shortcuts

I understand that if you don’t use them all the time, keyboard shortcuts are almost impossible to remember. Just using the mouse would be a better option for the occasional user or for those who just don’t like keyboard shortcuts. Adobe has built in a very good resource for mouse users, but they’ve cleverly hidden it in plain sight.

On the bottom row of your InDesign document window, on the same row where the horizontal scroll bar is, there is a tiny navigation panel on the left side of the scroll bar that you can operate with your mouse.

INDD Page Navigation Bar with Callouts

You may have noticed that the page number of the page that you are viewing appears there. Besides just telling you which page you’re currently on, this miniscule panel does a bunch of nifty mouse-able navigation tricks:

  • Use your mouse to highlight the page number, then type in another page number and hit Enter. It will jump you directly to that page.
  • To the right of the page number in this little navigation panel is a down arrow. Clicking on it will open up a scrollable drop-down window that will let you select any page that you want. Even better, if you are using one or more Master Pages with this document, it will allow you to go directly to any of them as well. All of the Master Pages are grouped at the bottom of the list of document page numbers.
  • On either side of the little page number navigation box are a pair of arrows, facing left and facing right. If your entire spread is being shown in your document window, clicking on the left arrow to take you to the previous spread and clicking on the right arrow will take you to the next spread. But if you are zoomed in to any degree before you use these arrow buttons, they will take you to the previous or next page instead of spread. (Tt actually takes you to the previous/page at the same zoomed-in area.)
  • Just beyond the left and right arrow buttons are buttons that show an arrow with a vertical line. As you may well have guessed, these buttons will jump you to the first spread or the last spread of your document.

Good stuff, eh? So while the PageUp and PageDown keys on your keyboard will still frustrate you, it’s good to know that there are other options that InDesign has provided and then completely forgotten to tell you about.

But then, that’s what we’re here for.

Computer industry news source ZDNet published an article today called “Microsoft security research paints bleak picture for XP users”. You can click on the title to read the whole report, or you can save yourself some time and just peruse our executive summary:

  • Windows XP was released in October 2001. That’s 12 years ago, which is forever in computer years. But, as Windows versions go, XP has been a rock-solid workhorse. Thrifty users, both individuals and businesses, who don’t have a pressing need to upgrade to the latest and greatest new software, have hung onto Windows XP and milked it for all it’s worth.
  • That ride is coming to an end. You can still continue to use your antiquated XP, but do so at your own risk. Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for it in April of next year. Once the last Windows XP patch is issued, unpatched vulnerabilities will begin to emerge. With no one watching the store, the bad guys will loot and pillage to their hearts’ content.
  • Even before all this happens, the vulnerability situation for XP users is bad compared to later versions of Windows. Microsoft has steadily incorporated new defensive technologies into Windows with each new version. Windows XP is 12 years behind in that defensive technology. As such, Windows XP users are many times more likely than Windows 8 users to become infected with malware. The number of vulnerabilities in Windows XP has steadily increased over the last few years. Things will get worse — much worse — when Microsoft stops releasing security patches in April.

The moral of the story is that it’s time for every XP user who is connected to the Internet or who receives files of any kind from any outside source to make plans to scrap their beloved operating system and make the move to Windows 8 (or at least to Windows 7 if you can still find it). XP has become a “bad neighborhood” for system security, a magnet for malware. It’s time to pull up stakes and head to higher ground.

On the bright side, Windows 7 and 8 open up the bold new world of 64-bit computing. Windows XP was a 32-bit operating system, a 32-lane data highway so to speak. (OK, there was a 64-bit version of XP, but it was rare. Who needed 64 bits in 2001?) It moved data around in 32-bit (4 byte) chunks. Windows 7 and 8 come in both 32-bit and 64-bit variations.  Take the 64-bit option.  It allows your system to access more memory, it runs all of your 32-bit software, and it opens the door to 64-bit software. Notably, the newest versions of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software require a 64-bit operating system, so go with the 64-bit option and hopefully you won’t have to upgrade your operating system for another 12 years.

But don’t count on it.

There are four types of guides in InDesign:

  • Margin guides (which aren’t really referred to as guides in Adobe literature, but they look a whole lot like things that are called guides, so I’m including them in this list)
  • Column guides
  • Smart guides (which I often find to be more annoying than smart, but they do come in handy sometimes)
  • Guides (also called layout guides, ruler guides or ruling guides)

In the following video, I show you how to create and change the settings for column guides, smart guides and layout guides.