Adobe Acrobat 8 is available now.

The new software offers a selection of system-agnostic business-focused tools for communication and collaboration between locations, regardless of firewalls.

Acrobat 8 provides extended support for a myriad of documents and forms in PDF form.

Adobe Reader 8 is expected to be available in early December 2006.

The company revealed a short list of blue-chip firms which have been testing the new application for some time.

John Moebes, director of Construction, Crate & Barrel, explained the impact of PDF on his business: "Design and construction processes are notorious for being inefficient and paper-intensive. With building costs growing at about 10 per cent annually, we need tools like Acrobat 8 and PDF that act as force multipliers, enabling one person to do a job that previously might require several people. For instance, with advances in Acrobat 8, many design and construction documents can now be combined into a single, more secure PDF package and delivered in seconds nationwide to project teams that can review, comment on and digitally sign materials simply using Adobe Reader."

Adobe today also announced the immediate availability of a free trial of the Adobe Acrobat Connect hosted service, a web conferencing and collaboration solution that offers "always-on" personal meeting rooms. Acrobat 8 users can get together and work on projects using a web browser and Flash software.

Acrobat 8 Professional for Mac and Windows is available now, and is a Universal binary that works on Intel and PowerPC Macs. It costs $449 (Adobe UK PR failed to supply UK price), registered users of earlier versions can upgrade for $159. Acrobat 8 Standard costs $299.