General Software

Cadalyst Labs Review: Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional

28 Feb, 2005 By: Ron LaFon

Faster than previous versions, Adobe's Acrobat 7.0 Professional now embeds 3D models in a PDF.

S0 much is new and improved in this release of Adobe Acrobat, and there's certainly a lot to like. We generally don't think of PDF files created by Adobe Acrobat to be a vehicle for viewing 3D models, so the first time you see an animation running in one, it's remarkable—as is the ability to view an object from various angles within the PDF file. For engineers and CAD users, this feature will be near the top of the list of favorite new features.

Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional with a PDF file open that contains a U3D drawing of a turbine that users can rotate in 3D or run as a continuous animation. Layers can be turned on or off to show airflow.
Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional with a PDF file open that contains a U3D drawing of a turbine that users can rotate in 3D or run as a continuous animation. Layers can be turned on or off to show airflow.

With Acrobat 7.0 Professional, users can import U3D files into a PDF file and manipulate objects in 3D using the free Adobe Reader 7.0. Options include rotate, zoom, pan and walkthrough. U3D offers efficient exchange of 3D CAD data over the Internet and on affordable hardware by removing the extensive detail needed by manufacturing while retaining the integrity of the original data model.

Multimedia presentations can also be distributed in the new PDF documents, which can combine 3D walkthroughs, animation, audio and video. Presentations in the PDF file can be controlled using JavaScript.

For design review and collaboration, Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional can collect all relevant files into one PDF file, including 3D content. Also new in this release is the ability for an Acrobat Professional user to activate commenting in Adobe Reader 7, providing a means for collaboration that eliminates the need to mark up a printout and fax it, or explain changes via e-mail. Anyone with the free Adobe Reader 7 software can use the highlighter, sticky note, pen and other commenting tools.

Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional also provides real AutoCAD 2002, 2004 and 2005 support, as opposed to the Acrobat 6 workaround that entailed using the Appload command to load the AutoCAD 2004 add-in into AutoCAD 2005. With the Windows version, users can convert AutoCAD files to PDF with the touch of one button, while retaining layers and object data in technical drawings.

Adobe acrobat 7.0 professional
Adobe acrobat 7.0 professional

As a result of Adobe and Bentley's partnership, Bentley users can make PDF conversions directly from MicroStation. In addition, using Acrobat 7 Professional, files from virtually any CAD software can be converted to PDF via the original application's Print dialog box. Users can also manage specialized content from Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, Access, Publisher, Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Project to PDF with a touch of a button.

Also new in this release is the ability to organize Adobe PDF documents. Users can quickly find a list of the PDF documents recently opened, view them as thumbnails and drag and drop files into related collections. They can also easily attach source documents such as spreadsheets, multimedia files, images and drawings to a PDF document. From Microsoft Outlook, users can archive a collection of e-mails into a single PDF file, which is useful for archiving as well as sending them to another user. Documents can be protected with passwords, certificates and other security controls. Acrobat 7 Professional also includes Adobe LiveCycle Designer software that lets users build intelligent forms.

Perhaps the most common complaint we heard about Acrobat 6 concerned speed. Users will be happy to know that Acrobat 7 Professional is significantly faster at startup and when creating files. The menu structure and the operation are streamlined, making it faster to operate.
Highly Recommended.

Ron LaFon, a contributing editor for Cadalyst, is a writer, editor and computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Productions.

About the Author: Ron LaFon