Adobe releases Reader XI, Acrobat XI

Adobe has announced the availability of its next generation PDF reading and creation tools, Adobe Reader XI and Adobe Acrobat XI. And this looks like a useful upgrade, with plenty of interesting additions and extensions on offer.

Adobe Reader XI offers more drawing and annotation tools, for instance: sticky notes, stamps, file attachments, audio recordings and more. Form support finally works at it should, too, with you able to fill, sign, send and save PDF forms as necessary.

There are plenty of extra security features. The new Protected View runs the reader in a separate desktop and winstation, for instance, a little low-level trickery, which will help keep it more isolated from the rest of your system.

And Adobe also says their “◦Enhanced Protected Mode now includes data theft prevention capabilities”, intriguingly, though we’re not yet clear on exactly what they are.

Elsewhere, a new online service allows you to store key PDF’s on Acrobat.com for easy access from anywhere. The free account offers 2GB storage space for free, while commercial accounts start from a monthly $14.99, and offer 15GB storage space, more workspaces, the ability to convert unlimited files to PDF, telephone support, and more (the full pricing details are here).

Adobe Reader also offers easy access to an online PDF conversion service, which can convert various file types to PDF (Word, Excel, JPEG, more), export PDF files back to various Office formats, and more. No free options here, unfortunately: prices start from $7.50 a month if you pay annually up-front.

Of course there is also a nod to Windows 8 here (and OS X Mountain Lion), with a new touch mode aiming to make the program just a little more tablet-friendly.

And as you’d expect, Acrobat XI also sees significant improvements in many of the same areas. So a new Edit Text and Images tool simplifies editing; Adobe’s bundled FormsCentral app makes it easier to create and work with forms; it’s now more straightforward to import, create and work with Office documents; and there’s better handling of electronic signatures, improved PDF file protection, Microsoft App-V support, and more.

There’s a vast amount to explore, then, and both Adobe Reader XI and Adobe Acrobat XI are available now.

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