More than a decade ago Adobe came up with the concept of the PDF, or portable document format. The idea was to create a digital page that could be opened by anyone and would look the same on any PC. Now Acrobat 7.0 Professional has pushed the concept a step further.

It can take documents and compress them for emailing or online publishing. Security settings mean that without editing rights a client can see a document as it was intended, but can't change its content. This is ideal for invoices, marketing materials and publishing. It's even possible to prevent copying and printing.

The PDF has been adopted by publishing houses and design agencies keen to ensure that what is sent to the printer is exactly what comes out at the other end. A preflight tool checks all is well with your print-ready document so that there are no surprises in post-production.

But Acrobat 7.0 Pro is far more than a way of safeguarding a design. It's also a collaborative tool. The document author decides who can edit what and who is able to see annotations, comments and changes made by other users. The £245 Standard version of Acrobat 7.0 doesn't allow you to use these tools. Another improvement is that PDFs are now created more quickly, are searchable, and their text can be read aloud.

Already in tune with other Adobe products, Acrobat now has tighter integration with Microsoft Office. It puts an icon in Office programs' toolbars for one-click PDF creation. PDFs can also be created straight from Internet Explorer web pages.

7.0 Professional: Specs

  • Pentium PC
  • Windows 2000 with SP2 or Windows XP
  • 128MB of RAM (256MB recommended)
  • 460MB hard disk space
  • Pentium PC
  • Windows 2000 with SP2 or Windows XP
  • 128MB of RAM (256MB recommended)
  • 460MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

Packed with features and easy to use, Acrobat 7.0 Professional will attract professional designers with its support for layers and computer design applications. Those with less complex needs may find the price tag off-putting - and it is available as part of the £1,045 Creative Suite 2.0 Premium Edition.

Find the best price