If you are familiar with Adobe’s Creative Cloud, then a new cloud formation, announced today, will operate on a familiar concept. Adobe has announced its Document Cloud with a brand new version of Adobe Acrobat at its heart and a mobile workplace in its soul.
With Document Cloud, Adobe is consolidating and integrating business customers in the same manner as it did with creative pros under Creative Cloud and marketing customers with Marketing Cloud. It’s all about universal accessibility to professional tools and services that help people get work done on the desktop and in the cloud whether they are at the office, at home or out and about and cutting out the inefficiencies of document handling.
At the heart of Document Cloud will be a completely overhauled version of Adobe Acrobat, called Acrobat DC (for Document Cloud), featuring an updated, simplified and streamlined interface that is designed to be easy on the learning curve.
The Document Cloud is a subscription program much like Creative Cloud: You pay a monthly fee to access shared services and libraries, and updates are automatically installed. It is specifically designed to solve workflow problems that keep business folk stuck in slow and outmoded processes (like fax machines) that translate poorly in a mobile environment.
Acrobat already is part of Creative Cloud, employed by a subset of creative users for tasks like mock-ups, markup and response, pre-press support and more. All Creative Cloud subscribers automatically become Document Cloud subscribers, too.
It’s easy to forget that Acrobat has always been in integral part of Creative Cloud, because its updates often did not correspond with Creative Cloud launches. Acrobat’s connection to Adobe’s Marketing Cloud can be equally obscure. But with Adobe Document Cloud, Acrobat is poised to emerge from the shadows.
Like Adobe’s Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC, Acrobat DC is now touchscreen enabled so that, for example, it works with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
Acrobat users know that the app is highly functional, but not always intuitive. Over the years, Adobe has tried to make Acrobat easier to use, and the new version streamlines the interface even more. The new Tool Center gives you quick access to the app’s basic and most-used functions. Acrobat DC also incorporates Photoshop imaging technology to convert paper documents into digital, editable files that can be electronically signed.
Thus, Document Cloud will allow creatives to work with PDFs anywhere, with e-signing and syncing capabilities with Creative Cloud.
Speaking of e-signing, Adobe has made it more convenient to do that. The newly renamed eSign Services — previously called Adobe EchoSign — will now be included with every subscription of Acrobat DC. The new Fill and Sign function lets you electronically send and sign any document from any device, and even includes smart autofill across devices.
New mobile apps
It wouldn’t be an Adobe cloud without mobile apps. With the new Document Cloud, Adobe has introduced two new mobile apps for its Mobile Link service, which let you access your files, settings and signatures as you move between desktop and devices, and pick up any form or document where you left off.
The two new mobile apps, Acrobat Mobile and Fill and Sign, let you create, edit, comment on and sign documents directly on your mobile phone or tablet. You can use the camera on your device as a portable scanner to swiftly convert paper documents to digital, editable files for sending and signing.
You can also manage, track and control your documents via an intelligent routing feature that lets you track critical documents, while control features let you protect sensitive information. In the future, additional services, such as document analytics and the ability to enable digital certificate signing, will become available, Adobe said.
Adobe Document Cloud e-Sign services also integrate with Adobe Experience Manager forms to improve customer experiences across Web and mobile sites. In the future, Adobe plans to integrate elements of its Marketing Cloud to help businesses track, test, measure and manage documents.
Document Cloud for the Enterprise caters to larger companies for the handling of complex and sensitive documents, providing departments and entire organizations with enhanced services both inside and outside the company.
Enterprise customers can centrally manage Document Cloud and Creative Cloud user accounts and licenses with a single sign-on in Adobe’s Enterprise Dashboard.
Acrobat comes in standard and pro versions in both perpetual licenses and subscriptions. So be sure to check which capabilities and services are included in the license and version you choose. For example, the electronic send, track and delivery of documents is available only with a subscription. And only pro versions of both types will let you create high-quality PDFs in Microsoft Word for Mac or turn scanned paper documents into editable PDFs.
Adobe Document Cloud and Acrobat DC will be available within 30 days. Like Lightroom, Adobe will continue to offer Acrobat as a desktop perpetual license without a subscription. Subscriptions are $14.99 per month, if you chose that route. And it’s included in all Creative Cloud subscriptions. It works with Mac OS X 10.9 or higher and Windows 7 or higher.