Adobe, Microsoft join to put PDF document creation into the Office ribbon

Image: cc Creative Commons

20 June 2018

Adobe and Microsoft announced an extension of their ongoing collaboration, which began with the Adobe Sign e-signature solution, by adding the ability to create PDF documents right from the ribbon within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive and SharePoint.

Converting between PDF and Office formats can be frustrating for the average user, and that frustration is partially responsible for an entire cottage industry of services that promise that they can perform those conversions. Note that the current version of Word already allows you to save documents as PDFs, though it requires several menu steps. A button on the Ribbon would be a lot simpler.

Adobe’s vision is to allow Office customers to create PDF files from within Word or PowerPoint, then combine them with Sign to allow a contract to be created, reviewed and confirmed in one fell swoop. It sounds great, but it’s a pricey proposition, requiring an Office 365 subscription (€99 per year for Office 365 Personal, on up) and €191 per year on an Acrobat Standard Document Cloud (DC) subscription. If you want those PDFs to be editable, you’ll need to pony up for Acrobat Pro DC, which runs €221 per year.

Adobe Acrobat DC is also the foundation for a more practical application: an upgrade to Adobe Scan, a free mobile app for Android and iOS that scans in a receipt or printed sheet of paper or a business card as a PDF. Though other mobile apps (Microsoft’s Office Lens, among others) can zoom in and grab a document, Scan reads the business card and uploads the PDF into Acrobat DC – but, more importantly, allows you to export that information to your phone’s contact list, and in the proper fields, too. (The exception is the corporate logo, which many OCR readers struggle with.)

It seems a bit ironic that the more practical business app, Scan, is apparently free, while the convenience of PDF integration apparently requires not one but two pricey subscriptions. If your business is willing to foot the bill, however, the ability to go back and forth between Office documents and PDFs just got a little easier.

IDG News Service

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