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Why Abobe Acrobat should NOT be used to manipulate files

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02 Apr 2015

On June 15th, 1993, Adobe Acrobat was first released to the graphic design community. It's sole purpose was to generate a single file that any printer could print from. It contained all the images and fonts, etc., into one single file that normally a graphic designer would have to send separately to service bureaus for printing. This was a huge breakthrough! It saved the artists' time and avoided incompatibility with the printer at the other end.

Two decades later, Acrobat is now more robust with tools to change text, images and more, but it is not perfect. From my own experience as well as listening to other graphic designers, Adobe Acrobat, if in the wrong hands, can be a complete nightmare. 

For example. 

Let's say a graphic designer creates a brochure for a client. He would normally create it in a program like InDesign. Once the artwork is approved, the designer then sends the job as a pdf to the client so in turn they would send it to their printer. Now guess what happens if the client has a copy of Acrobat Pro and does some tweaking of their own to the pdf? Next time around when the client asks for changes, the designer would have to make the changes to the original file which doesn't have the changes the client made themselves. This would mean twice the amount of time spent on the job that could have been avoided if the client hadn't altered the original. 

You may be thinking ... why doesn't the designer just make the new changes using Acrobat Pro on the altered file the client created? The problem is, the tools in Acrobat Pro are very basic and does not allow the freedom to easily format text, move around images, etc. It's a frustrating experience and not worth the effort. Adobe Acrobat is a great tool for sharing and printing files, but it is not and should never be used to create or change files. Leave that to programs that were designed to do so, such as InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop.

Last Modified: April 03, 2015
Adobe Acrobat Software

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