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Adobe Gives Acrobat The Cloud Treatment

With new features and mobile apps, Document Cloud aims to take the pain out of paper in a more modern way.

Adobe Gives Acrobat The Cloud Treatment
[Photo courtesy of Adobe]

In 2011, Adobe took its software for artists, designers, and multimedia types–Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and much more–and bundled it up with related Internet services and mobile apps. It called the result Adobe Creative Cloud, and sold it on subscription plans rather than as a boxed product. Now the company is doing something similar for document workflow, with a service it’s calling, logically enough, Adobe Document Cloud.

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Document Cloud offers a new version of Acrobat for Windows PCs and Macs, Acrobat DC, with features such as a tool that lets you scan in a paper document and then (using technology borrowed from Photoshop) edit the text it contains. It adds a new mobile Acrobat app that brings beefier document-wrangling features to Android and iOS, such as the ability to create PDFs. (Some of the mobile app’s features are free; others require a Document Cloud subscription.)

Also new and free is Fill and Sign, a mobile app that lets you snap a photo of a paper form with your phone or tablet’s camera. You can then reconstruct it as a PDF, fill it out, and add your signature via fingertip or stylus.

Acrobat DC on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet

Adobe says that all of these incarnations of Acrobat are linked together, so that you can begin filling out a form on one device and then finish it on another, for instance, or use the PC software to create a PDF that will get signed on mobile devices. And the service includes online storage for PDFs, as well as the ability to open and save files saved on third-party storage services.

Document Cloud will be available within the next 30 days and will cost $15 a month. Acrobat is also part of the full $50/month version of Creative Cloud, so people who subscribe to that will get access to all of Document Cloud’s features.

And in a twist which wasn’t a given, Adobe says that it will also sell Acrobat DC as a traditional, pay-one-time packaged piece of software and has no plans to stop doing so. (In 2013, the company ended development of the version of Creative Cloud you could buy for one price and use forever, a move which ticked off customers who wanted to upgrade at their own pace and who didn’t want to be locked into ongoing fees.)

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About the author

Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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