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How to work with the interface in Acrobat X

Get an overview of how to work with the interface in Acrobat X.

By Donna Baker – December 12, 2011


This video tutorial gives you a quick overview of the Acrobat X interface, including the reasons behind the changes and instructions on how to work with the new interface.
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How to work with the interface in Acrobat X

Donna Baker – December 12, 2011

In this video, I'll give you a quick overview of how to work with the new Acrobat X interface.

Adobe Acrobat has been around for many years.

Each new version brought new tools, features and capabilities, requiring more toolbars and menu commands.Here you see an example of a file in Acrobat 9 Pro on Mac. One thing that hasn't changed much over the last few versions is the interface.

That's definitely not the case with Acrobat X!

There are only a few menus, the toolbars are almost empty, and there's a set of labels at the right.To help you understand what's where in Acrobat X it's helpful to understand the necessity for the change.

Obviously, continuing to add more and more functionality overburdens the tool display, making it difficult to locate what you need.Couple that with features in different areas of the interface that aren't immediately intuitive, although they do make sense eventually, and your learning curve increases.

Toss in separate interfaces for building a form or a PDF Portfolio, and you end up with a terrifically complicated program interface.You simply can't work the same way in Acrobat X as it's now process- or task-driven.

In a menu- or tool-driven program (like earlier versions of Acrobat), you'd select a specific tool to perform an activity, then make adjustments or modifications in dialog boxes, the Properties Bar, Navigation panels, and so on.

Here's an example: Suppose I want to add some comments to a document in Acrobat 9.

In the past, I'd follow these steps:1.

Click the Comment task button, and then choose Show Comment & Markup Toolbar.


Dock the toolbar at the top of the program window.3.

Click the Comment task button again and choose Show Comments List.

If my mouse was closer to the bottom of the screen, I'd click the Comments button on the Navigation bar area to open the panel.

And finally, I would select a Comment tool, and proceed with my review.

Contrast that workflow with the new Acrobat X workflow.

To get started with a commenting task, all I have to do is:1.

Click Comment to display the Comment panel.


Select a Comment tool, and proceed with my review.That's much quicker, isn't it?

As comments are added, you'll see them listed in the Comments list.

When it's time to distribute the document or start a review, click the Review bar to open the set of options for sharing and collaboration.

Using Acrobat X boils down to a fundamental shift in the way you work in Acrobat.

Let's check out a few features.One new feature you'll see when you open Acrobat X is the Welcome window.

Use it as a switchboard to select a recently used document, or to open Explorer or Finder to locate The message at the bottom varies, and links to online information on a variety of topics.

At the right of the window, look for a number of startingpoints for different file creation or sharing activities.

One thing conspicuously absent from the Welcome Window is acheck box to hide it, like the ones you see in Creative Suite products' Welcome Window dialog boxes.

The window remains at all times, and if you close any opendocuments, there it is.

Since you do all tasks via the same interface, it issimpler.

For example, check out the different views of a PDF Portfolio.As in Acrobat 9, the configuration for your PDF Portfoliosin Acrobat X takes place in the right panels.

Three panels offer settings for defining the Layout, Details(such as file information and metadata) and Share options, including sending the project by e-mail.Like portfolios, you work with PDF forms in the sameinterface as other work.

If you choose Create or Edit from the Forms list in theTools panel, the three default panels disappear and are replaced with the single Forms panel.

The Forms panel contains Tasks and the Fields bar, replacingthe Fields navigation panel you'd find at the left side of the program window in earlier versions of Acrobat.

You'll also find the set of forms tools on the toolbar, anda button to toggle the Preview or Edit configurations.

Probably the biggest hurdle to understanding how to useAcrobat X is realizing you don't need to have dozens of tools on multiple toolbars.

Instead, what you need is access to the tools required forthe specific task you want to accomplish.

Let's start with the menus, now half as many as previousprogram versions.

But the contents are still in the program-just moved into more accessible locations.

The basic File/Edit/View/Window/Help menus remain, andcontain the same sorts of features you'd expect to find.All other menus specific to Acrobat, such as Document,Forms, Advanced and so on are moved to the panels.

Aside from Comments, all these remaining tools are locatedwithin the Tools panel options.

Click the menu button at the top of the Tools panel to open a list of available panels, where you can specify which panels to view, and whether ornot multiple panels can be open at once.

The content in the panels is organized differently from toolbars in earlier versions, too.

Here's a good example using the previousDocument menu.The commands on the Acrobat 9 Pro Document menu deal withdifferent types of document interactions.

In Acrobat X, you'll find the tools on several areas of the Tools panel.It does take some time to orient yourself to the new commandlocations, but they're organized very logically.

In the Document menu example, some of the commands deal withmanipulating the pages in a file, others deal with content of a specific page or content applied to a file.Obviously, there are far fewer toolbars than before, as thetools are distributed among their appropriate command lists in the panels.

As you saw earlier, the Comment and Markup tools are withinthe Comments panel, for example.

The default toolbar arrangement includes common filemanipulation tools, as well as viewing options.

You'll also find the Create button, the one remaining TaskButton from previous program versions.

When you click the button, you'll see a variety of options for creating a new PDF file.

Notice the gear tool-that's the Quick Tools icon, used to customize your toolbar.Aside from the tools you add to the Quick Tools toolbar, allother tools are shown by default and can't be manipulated.To configure your own toolset, click the Quick Tools button to open the Customize Quick Tools dialog box.Here you'll find the program commands listed in the sameorders as the sections in the panels.

Locate and select a tool to add to the toolbar, or select anexisting tool and remove it from the toolbar.

You can further configure the toolbar by reordering the listand adding separators.

Once you've added your tools, click OK to close the dialog box.If you simply want to add another tool to the toolbar,right-click it in the panel, and click Add to Quick Tools.

Your customized toolbar layout is finished, and preservedfrom session to session.

Products covered:

Acrobat X


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donna baker

2, 2012-06-21 21, 2012

Hi Peter -

I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with browser issues. You’ll have to check with Microsoft help sources.


Peter Longley

12, 2012-06-19 19, 2012

I have tried 4 or 5 different help / tutorials which all result in Internet Explorer crashing - i cannot access information

Comments for this tutorial are now closed.