Adobe's Acrobat software has evolved beyond merely reading Adobe's PDF files. With the new Acrobat 9.0, Adobe adds features that elevate Acrobat to a potential must-have application for business and individuals alike.

See also:

Adobe Acrobat.com beta review

You can choose among three flavours of Acrobat: the £311 Standard (which includes the cool new PDF Portfolio feature), the £499 Pro (which adds additional options to Portfolio), and the £727 Pro Extended (which now bundles Adobe Presenter for automating PowerPoint presentations with audio and video - previously a separate application - and can convert various video file types to Flash video and has a 3D mapping overlay so you can create PDF maps). We looked at a late beta of the Pro Extended version.

Portfolio is one of the most useful additions to Acrobat in years. With Portfolio, you have the ability to very easily create a suite of related files and documents - complete with their own intro screen. Conceptually, this almost reminds me of how Apple's OS X 10.5 lets you group files and documents into related "Spaces". The difference here is that you can create a single document that you can send to others, too. The Portfolio can be read by the free Adobe Reader 9.0.

Creating a Portfolio is simple: choose from among the existing file templates, and then choose the behaviour and presentation within a file template (for example, you can opt for files to be lined up, or to revolve around in an iTunes CoverFlow-like fashion) for the welcome screen.

Then you drag and drop what you want to be in this Portfolio into the container. Portfolios remain organic documents; you can add files and folders to an existing portfolio as needed. A Portfolio outputs as a .PDF document.

NEXT PAGE: Flash support, comparing PDFs and our expert verdict > >

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