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Managing Actions in Acrobat X

Learn how to install, edit and share Actions with Acrobat X Pro or Suite and the Actions Exchange.

By Ian Campbell – December 21, 2010


This video details how to install, edit and share Actions using Acrobat X Pro or Suite and the Actions Exchange on

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Managing Actions in Acrobat X

Ian Campbell – December 21, 2010

The new Actions feature in Acrobat X is a great way to automate frequent or complex tasks.In this video we’ll be showing you where Actions live and how you can share them with others, including the new Actions Exchange on you were a fan of Batch Sequences in previous versions of Acrobat, we’ll also be showing you how to enable these for use in Acrobat X.If you haven’t used the new Actions feature yet, take a moment to watch Lori DeFurio’s introductory video which will get you up and running in 5 minutes.Visit and search for “How to create actions” to find the link to the video.You may need to correct or improve Actions you create in Acrobat X, in which case just use the Edit facility.

It’s easy to make changes or add steps.You can also quickly duplicate any Action by selecting it and clicking the Copy button – which in a neat twist opens up the duplicate Action itself, ready for you to make any changes and then save with a new name.I’ll say that for this new, improved Action I want to add certain user restrictions including preventing printing– now that I’ve configured the options to do that I need to add a password to prevent anyone removing them.

I’ll now save this Action with the name “Sanitize and Encrypt and Prevent Print”.

My additional, revised action is now available for use.To share an Action with others just select it and then choose [Export].The Action is simply saved out as a sequence file to your chosen location.Colleagues and friends who also have Acrobat X can just choose [Edit Actions]and then [Import] to select the sequence fileand bring it into their own library of Actions.Note that these files end in .SEQUIn fact, it can be even easier.

Here’s an Action .SEQUence file saved to my desktop and to bring it in to Acrobat X I can just double-clickand then [Import] my colleague’s Action directly.If you are a Windows user, you’ll find that new Actions are stored here:Documents and Settings > (user name) > Application Data > Adobe > Acrobat > 10.0 > Sequences.And if you are a Mac user, then you’ll find them here: (user name) > Library > Application Support > Adobe > Acrobat > 10.0 > SequencesBy the way, if the Tools panel is not showing the Action Wizard, you can always access it via the [File, Action Wizard] menu.

A useful for Mac users.If you created Batch Sequences in previous versions of Acrobat but they haven’t appeared in the Actions list after you upgrade to Acrobat X,you can usually navigate to the Sequences folder for the previous install and double click on each Sequence to import it into Acrobat X.If you create a great new Action to automate a complex task, you can now share it not just with your colleagues and friends but with the whole Acrobat world. now features the Actions Exchange where users can showcase some of their favourite creations.Once you’ve exported your Action It’s easy to upload it.

First, click on the [Submit] button and you will then see the Actions Exchange upload page.Give your Action a Title e.g.

“OCR and Export to Word”.Select whether you are going to send the Action attached to a PDF or send the Action file by itself.Enter your short description for the Action and then a longer description to follow.You can indicate whether the Action runs automatically without pausing for user input or whether it guides the user as it runs.And you can categorize your action – for example, ‘Legal’.Next, tell us a little bit about yourselfThen finally navigate to your Action, either the .sequence file itself, or a PDF with the .sequence file as an attachment and select and upload it.To help others understand how your Action works, upload a screenshot e.g.

a jpeg.Finally, as you are providing us with your own work, you just need to click on the terms of use and read and agree to them, before Submitting.If you improve on an Action you have already uploaded, you can even update the original upload.The Actions Exchange has lots of useful Actions for you to download and use yourself.Many well-known Acrobat experts regularly contributehere’s one from Rick Borstein which is a really useful Action for ‘Flattening Fields and Comments’ in a PDF so that they are no longer editable.Here’s Rick’s instructions on how the Action works - you can see that he’s stored the .sequence file itself as an Attachment in the PDF.First I’ll save the Action file out to my hard disk.

After that I’ll go to the [Edit Actions] dialog box and [Import] it into my Action library in Acrobat X.

Hey, now I can be almost as productive as Rick.If you have access to programming skills , you can even include JavaScript in Actions– look out for the Acrobat X SDK on for full documentation on what you can automate.So, there you go.

Actions are not only easy to create but they are also easy to share.Next time you create a great Action for yourself in Acrobat X, why not take a few minutes to share it and make someone else’s life a lot easier.

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