Your Help Desk team has responded to several Adobe inquiries recently, specifically Adobe’s Reader and Acrobat programs. There can be some confusion when working with these two programs… so with my first issue of Keith’s Tech Tips, I’d like to help demystify these programs so users understand when to use one versus the other.
The Adobe Reader program is a free, limited-feature program originally designed to simply view (or “read”, hence the name) PDF files. Nowadays, it can do a bit more than view PDFs but it is still used primarily for reading existing PDF documents. Because of the popularity of the PDF format, the Adobe Reader program is a “must have” on both Macs and PCs.
Many folks mistakenly think Adobe’s Acrobat it is a word processing program for creating/editing PDF files. In reality, Acrobat is a conversion program designed to take an existing document, such as a Word document… and “convert it” into a PDF document.
Although you can edit existing PDFs using Acrobat, I wouldn’t recommend it and here’s why:
- It wasn’t originally designed with editing functionality in mind
- Editing features are very clunky, as if an afterthought and difficult to learn
- The learning curve is steep and most users will run out of patience before mastery
Since most users are already familiar with Word… you can save yourself some frustration by simply editing the existing Word document using “Word” first… then converting it again into another PDF using Acrobat. However, if you’re not already well organized, this process can lead to multiple iterations of the same document. Hey, there’s fodder for a future issue! (Hello Mudder, Hello Fodder… sing along if you know the lyrics… all together now!)
Many times when you’re wanting to just view a PDF file and you double-click on the PDF icon… it opens up inside Acrobat (the conversion program) when you’re expecting (or wanting) it to open up inside Reader (the viewing program). This has to do with “file association” and I will cover that (and the easy fix) in detail in next month’s issue.
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Tnology! (Technology with the “ech” taken out!)