Thursday, October 4, 2012

Saving PDFs for Reader Users: the How and Why

In a recent Raleigh InDesign User Group meeting, we discussed how to collaborate with non-InDesign Users. The most popular method is by using PDF commenting tools. While my ideal workflow might include a copy a Acrobat Professional for every user, I realize that most people only have a copy of the free Adobe Reader. However, even with this free software, the other people in your workflow can still comment on your PDFs. The trick is that you need to save your PDFs with a setting that allows Reader users to comment on the document.

Here is what a standard PDF will look like when opened in Reader X. The Comment Pane is fairly stripped down. Users can either add Sticky Notes or Highlight Text. That's it. But what if they want to replace text? Or cross out text? Or add a text box? They can't.


The trick is to save the PDF with the aforementioned special setting. However, this setting is located in two different places, depending upon which version of Acrobat you are using.

If you are in Acrobat 9, this setting is located under Advanced>Extend Features in Adobe Reader.


If you are using Acrobat X, this setting is under File > Save As > Reader Extended PDF>Enable Additional Features. This will give Reader Users access to the most features.


Once your PDF is saved with this setting, here is what it will look like in Reader. Under the Comments Pane, they now have access to all the Annotations tools (not just sticky notes and highlighters).


Further down in the Comment Pane are the Drawing Markup tools.


There 's also a whole new Pane that is now accessible to Reader users of this PDF: the Extended Pane. Here, Readers users can place a signature, add a time stamp, or use the "Add or Edit Text Box" tool (which was formerly known as the Typewriter Tool).


The upcoming Adobe Reader XI makes it even easier for Reader Users to comment on your PDFs. Stay tuned!