Adobe has announced Adobe Acrobat 6.0, with the update bringing new features and enhancements for creative and corporate customers.

Acrobat 6.0 is based on Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF), which is now up to version 1.5. PDF has ever-broadening market appeal, being used by the US government, and corporate and creative markets. Publishers are also increasingly turning to PDF-based workflows.

Support for layers has been added to Acrobat, so text can be embedded in multiple languages within a single document. The new Loupe tool lets users zoom specific areas while not affecting the entire document’s magnification level. It also features a pan-&-zoom tool via a thumbnail preview pane. Other new tools include a Split Window Pane; Rulers and Guides; and Dynamic Zoom. Adobe has added a feature for searching the Internet for PDF-content keywords from within Acrobat, as well as XML-support.

Distiller goes X:
A key element of Acrobat for PDF workflows is Acrobat Distiller, which creates PDFs from PostScript files. Until now this was not OS X-compatible, something remedied in version 6.0.

The Reader 6.0 element of Acrobat now lets users fill-in PDF forms and view Photoshop Slide Shows and eCards. PDF files can also be created from within many applications, including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, as well as Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer – allowing users to archive entire Web sites in PDF form, while retaining links and supporting multimedia.

Acrobat 6.0 lets users gather disparate document types – such as images, Word documents, other PDFs, Web sites and other content – into single or multiple PDF documents. Documents can also be scanned into fully searchable PDF files.
Adobe has also created an Acrobat family, launching Professional, Standard and Elements versions of the application.

Professional tools Adobe says Professional is “the natural upgrade path from Acrobat 5.0.” It adds tools for the business, engineering and creative markets – including preflighting and previewing tools for those working with PDF workflows. These include checks for PDF/X compliance and PostScript-level compatibility. Users can now embed preflight information for use by print houses and service providers. It also includes tools for previewing colour separations and transparency flattening, meaning users can view and print colour separations and set marks and bleeds. Adobe claims this is especially useful to small publishers, because it removes the need to buy expensive bespoke software.

Other features in Professional include the ability to modify tagged-PDF files, and PDF-form creation. Engineering professionals can create PDFs from within Autodesk and AutoCAD through a single Menu button, and it supports large-page formats, as well as offering commenting tools for engineers.

Standard is a business-orientated tool, providing built-in support for digital signatures and 128-bit encryption. It can create, review and exchange PDFs, offering comment-creation tools for use in office-proofing workflows. A review tracker automatically creates a list of those to whom documents have been sent, and tracks any feedback given. It also allows for comments to be either stored in a new document, or in the PDF. Users can create PDFs by drag-&-dropping files onto the Acrobat icon.

Elements is a stripped-down version aimed at companies withover 1,000 users. It helps Windows users easily convert documents into PDFs for distribution across various hardware and software platforms.

Acrobat 6.0 Professional costs £355, £109 to upgrade; Standard is £235, and £75 to upgrade; while Elements is £59. All prices exclude VAT. The products will be available in mid-May.