- Adobe Acrobat
Screenshot of Adobe Reader X running on Windows 7
Developer(s) Adobe Systems Stable release +/−](September 13, 2011 ) [ Operating system Microsoft Windows
Mac OS X
BlackBerry Tablet OS
Size Type Desktop publishing software License Website
Adobe Acrobat is a family of application software developed by Adobe Systems to view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in Portable Document Format (PDF). All members of the family, except Adobe Reader (formerly Acrobat Reader), are commercial software, while the latter is available as freeware and can be downloaded from Adobe's web site. Adobe Reader enables users to view and print PDF files but has negligible PDF creation capabilities. Acrobat and Reader are widely used as a way to present information with a fixed layout similar to a paper publication.
- 1 History
- 2 Product history
- 3 Internationalization and localization
- 4 Security
- 5 Operating systems
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Since the early 1990s, the Acrobat product has had several competitors, some of which used their own document formats, such as:
- AnyView from Binar Graphics
- Common Ground from No Hands Software
- Envoy from WordPerfect Corporation
- Folio from NextPage
- Replica from Farallon Computing
- WorldView from Interleaf
- DjVu from AT&T Laboratories/DjVu Project/LizardTech/Varolmak/Caminova
By the late 1990s PDF had become the de facto standard, and the others had become largely historical footnotes. This in turn has led to many more competitors for Adobe Acrobat, providing both free and commercial programs that create or manipulate PDF, such as Ghostscript, Foxit, Nitro PDF and Nuance Communications. Adobe also allows Acrobat plug-ins to be developed by third parties, which can add extra functions within the Acrobat program.
Adobe has changed the names of the products in the Acrobat family regularly, also splitting-up, joining, or discontinuing products. Initially, the name "Acrobat" was used as the parent name to a suite of products which included Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Exchange and Acrobat Distiller. Over time Acrobat Reader became Adobe Reader; and, Acrobat Exchange was simplified to Acrobat. Between version 3 and 5, Standard and Professional versions were one product simply called Adobe Acrobat.
- Adobe Reader X (10.0.0)
- Adobe Acrobat X (10.0.0)
- Adobe Acrobat X Standard
- Adobe Acrobat X Pro
- Adobe Acrobat X Suite
Unlike most other Adobe products, such as members of Adobe Creative Suite, members of Adobe Acrobat family do not have icons that display two letters on a colored rectangular shape.
Acrobat 1.0 was originally released on 15 June 1993 for Macintosh. It was later for DOS and Windows 3.1. This was not available in single copies and was not initially free, with Acrobat Reader originally priced at $50 per user. After a while, the IRS purchased a right to distribute Reader 1.0, effectively making it seem free to those who obtained it that way.
Adobe Acrobat 1.0 included:
- Support for PDF version 1.0
- Acrobat Exchange 1.0 (included PDFWriter printer driver and Acrobat Exchange application)[clarification needed What is Adobe Exchange?]
- Acrobat Distiller 1.0, a software application that creates a PDF file from a PostScript source
Acrobat 2.0 was first released in September 1994 for Windows and Macintosh. It included:
- Support for PDF version 1.1
- Acrobat Exchange 2.0[clarification needed What is Adobe Exchange?]
- Acrobat Catalog, which creates searchable indexes for PDF files. Searching required a special version of Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Exchange.
Acrobat Professional 2.0 was also released, which included Acrobat Exchange plus Distiller.
Adobe also released the first Acrobat Plug-ins SDK; allowing third party developers to create plug-ins for the Acrobat Exchange application.
- Support for PDF version 1.2
- A free Reader that allows searching (It was not part of the default download)
- Acrobat Catalog
- A Distiller printer driver.
Acrobat 4.0 was released in April 1999. It included:
- Support for PDF version 1.3
- Support for Public key infrastructure (PKI) and digital signatures via plug-ins
Adobe also released Distiller Server 4.0, a version of Distiller for Windows, Linux and Solaris that is licensed to multiple users, as well as Acrobat Business Tools 4.0, a limited version of Acrobat.
Acrobat 5.0 was released in May 2001. It included support for PDF version 1.4 and was the last version to support Windows 95. Acrobat 5.0.5 was the first to be able to run native in Mac OS X, but also ran in Mac OS 9.
This version did not include PDFWriter in Macintosh release.
Acrobat Reader 5.1, the subsequent version of Acrobat reader supported the Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions for forms saving
Adobe also released Distiller Server 5.0 and Acrobat Approval 5.0, a limited version of Acrobat mainly sold to people who wanted to digitally sign PDF files or save fill-in forms.
Acrobat 6.0 was released in July 2003. This version introduced significant changes to the family of Adobe Acrobat:
- Adobe Acrobat Standard 6.0 was released. It is a limited version of Acrobat Professional that includes Distiller but lacks Adobe Catalog, form design features and pre-press support.
- Adobe Acrobat Elements 6.0 was introduced. It enabled PDF creation but was aimed at the corporate market and was only volume-licensed for a minimum of 1000 licenses. It was available for Microsoft Windows only.
- Acrobat Elements Server 6.0, a server software version of Acrobat Elements, was introduced.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader was renamed Adobe Reader.
- Distiller printer driver was renamed Adobe PDF.
- PDFWriter was discontinued. PDFWriter was a printer driver used to create PDF files. It was discontinued in favor of the Adobe PDF printer driver to Distiller.
- A new version of Adobe Catalog was included, which was not compatible with earlier products for searching.
- Support for many operating system was dropped. Mac OS 9 was no longer supported. No version of Adobe Acrobat for Linux or Unix was released. Adobe Acrobat Standard did not support Windows 95 and Windows 98, although it supported Windows 98 SE. Adobe Acrobat Professional ceased to support Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me.
This version included:
- Support for PDF version 1.5
- Support for PKI (without a plug-in) via Microsoft CryptoAPI
- Support "Reader enabling", allowing Adobe Reader to save, sign or annotate PDF files if the PDF file allowed
Version 6 of the application was criticized for its performance. Adobe Acrobat 6 is slow to load and use. The Acrobat 6 plug-ins for web browsers was also criticized for suffering from low performance and potentially rendering one's web browser non-responsive.
- Support for PDF version 1.6
- Support for Adobe Policy Server rights management
- Support for embed 3D object information from the .u3d Universal 3D format
The Adobe Acrobat 7 family saw multiple changes. Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional for Windows now included Adobe LiveCycle Designer 7.0. Adobe Elements 7.0 was also released which was still only sold through volume licensing outlet but dropped the minimum licenses limit to 100 licenses. Finally, another edition of Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat 3D, was added to the family.
Adobe Acrobat 3D included all of the functionality of Acrobat Professional 7.0 as well as updated support for embedded 3D computer graphics, tools for capturing 3D content from OpenGL applications, and the Adobe Acrobat 3D Toolkit for converting CAD documents to PDF objects. Also included is a version of the capture tool for installation on Unix.
Adobe Acrobat 8.0 was released in November 2006: It included:
- Support for PDF version 1.7
- Acrobat 8 Elements, which was withdrawn before its expected release in mid-2007. But it is bundled with RoboHelp 7 as a Distiller prompting that the product had been finished.
- Acrobat Connect (formerly Macromedia Breeze), a support application and an online personal meeting rooms to collaborate in real time for up to 15 participants
A later update 8.1 on June 2007 was released in order to support Microsoft Office 2007, Windows Vista, and 64-bit Windows operating systems. Also in September 2007, Adobe Reader 8.1.1 released for Linux and Solaris (SPARC) users.
Adobe Acrobat 8 family saw a handful of changes. Acrobat 3D was now able to produce embedded PRC file format, a highly compressed format for geometry and graphics which requires Reader 8.1 to display. It also supported Product Manufacturing Information and many different CAD formats.
Acrobat Connect Professional (formerly Macromedia Breeze) was also added to the family. It allowed scalable interactive web conferencing and multiple personal meeting rooms for everyone across an enterprise.
The Mac OS X version of Adobe Acrobat Pro saw a significant favor: Adobe Acrobat for Macintosh was in Universal binary and ran on both PPC and Intel.
- Support for PDF version 1.7
- Support for Adobe extensions to PDF 1.7
- The ability to create Acrobat forms was in Acrobat Standard, which was previously only available Acrobat Professional 6, 7 and 8
- Support for real-time collaboration on PDF files with synchronized document views and chat
- Improved Web Capture for capturing entire web pages or just some parts into PDF
- Integration with Acrobat.com to enable storage and sharing of PDF files
- Support for comparing and highlighting the differences between two versions of a PDF document
- Support for playback of Flash Video or H.264 video in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader
- Support for conversion of a variety of[weasel words] video formats to Flash Video for playback inside PDF
- Support for creating PDF maps by importing geospatial files that retain metadata and coordinates
- Support for Optical character recognition (OCR) on PDF files using ClearScan. Adobe ClearScan technology creates and embeds custom Type1-CID fonts to match the visual appearance of a scanned document after optical character recognition. ClearScan uses these newly created custom fonts instead of system fonts or Type1-MM.
Adobe Acrobat 9 family includes a new member: Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Extended for Microsoft Windows. This product includes Adobe Presenter as well as the features of Acrobat 3D.
Adobe Reader 9 drops support for Adobe Reader Extensions 5 and 6 which permit Adobe Reader client software to save changes to filled-in forms in PDFs. Adobe Reader Extensions 6.1 and newer are still supported. Legacy PDFs will still be viewable, however they will open with the following warning:
“ This document enables Reader capabilities that are no longer enabled in this Reader version. ”
Adobe Acrobat 9 family also dropped the multiple document interface. Previous versions of Adobe Acrobat opened multiple PDF files in the same window. Acrobat 9 however, only supports the single document interface scheme, wherein each PDF file is opened in an instance of Adobe Acrobat.
Adobe Acrobat X (version 10.0) was released on November 15, 2010. It included sandboxing protection for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 and protected mode view dropping support for Windows 2000 as well as Macs running on PPC.
Adobe Reader X is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS. Support for Linux is not planned. The latest version of Adobe Reader X is 10.1.1 For Android and IOS :10.1.0, and 10.1.1 for Windows and Mac.
Internationalization and localization
Adobe Acrobat is available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian. Arabic, Hebrew and Greek versions available from WinSoft International, Adobe Systems' internationalization and localization partner. Adobe Reader is also available in Catalan as of version 9.1.
Specific features for Arabic and Hebrew languages
The Arabic and Hebrew versions are specifically developed for these specific languages, which are normally written right-to-left. These versions come with special TouchUp properties to handle digits, ligatures option and paragraph direction in right-to-left Middle Eastern scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, as well as standard left-to-right Indian scripts such as Devanagari and Gujarati. The Web Capture feature can convert single web pages or entire web sites into PDF files, while preserving the content's original text encoding. Acrobat can also copy Arabic and Hebrew text to the system clipboard in its original encoding; if the target application also supports the text encoding, then the text will appear in the correct script.
The latest security bulletins from Adobe are published on their Security bulletins and advisories page
September 2006 warning
February 2009 warning
- Disable the displaying of PDF documents in the web browser. This can be disabled in the General preferences dialog (Edit, Preferences, Internet, and un-check "Display PDF in browser").
- Prevent Internet Explorer from automatically opening PDF documents (by editing a registry key in Microsoft Windows).
January 2010 Google/China incident
It was reported  on January 14, 2010 that an analyst identified a vulnerability in Internet Explorer as a tool used to spy on companies and individuals.
"...independent research conducted by security firm McAfee, which has found evidence that a vulnerability in Internet Explorer—but not Acrobat Reader—was exploited in the attack. iDefense later retracted its claim about PDFs, but stands behind the rest of its report."
- Symbian: Adobe Reader LE v2.5 developed by QuickOffice lets the user view PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format) files on S60 3rd Edition mobile devices.
- The name "Adobe Reader LE" is also used for officially-supported versions of the reader on other mobile platforms.
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- ^ Adobe Systems Inc., Help file for Acrobat 5.0 wrote "Note: PDFWriter is a custom install option and is supported for Windows only".
- ^ Sherman, Chris (10 January 2005). "Speeding Up Acrobat Reader". SearchEngineWatch.com. Incisive Interactive Marketing LLC. http://searchenginewatch.com/3456481. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
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- ^ Adobe – Acrobat 7 Elements : FAQ[dead link]
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- ^ Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions ES Update 1 Upgrade Center, see 'Previous generations' tab for information on the missing support 
- ^ "MDI vs. SDI in Acrobat – Shredding The Document". Adobe Systems. 11 September 2008. http://blogs.adobe.com/acrobat/2008/09/mdi_vs_sdi_in_acrobat.html. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
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- ^ "Post by Adobe employee Atanu Dhar on the Adobe Reader X UNIX forum". Adobe. http://forums.adobe.com/message/3336241#3336241. Retrieved 10 Jun 2011.
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- ^ Naraine, Ryan (2006-09-15). "Hacker Discovers Adobe PDF Back Doors". eWeek. Ziff Davis Enterprise Holdings Inc. http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2016606,00.asp. Retrieved 2011-08-05. "David Kierznowski, a penetration testing expert specializing in Web application testing, has released proof-of-concept code and rigged PDF files to demonstrate how the Adobe Reader program could be used to launch attacks without any user action."
- ^ a b "Vulnerability Note VU#905281". US-CERT. 2009-02-20. http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/905281. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- ^ Paul, Ryan (2010-01-14). "Researchers identify command servers behind Google attack". Arstechnica.com. http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2010/01/researchers-identify-command-servers-behind-google-attack.ars. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
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- ^ "Reader LE". Adobe Systems. 2009-07-14. http://www.adobe.com/products/readerle/. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
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