Adobe Systems is enhancing the security and document management features of its PDF-generating Acrobat software.

The company announced Monday that the upcoming version of Acrobat 7 Professional, when integrated with Adobe LiveCycle

Policy Server, will let content creators integrate security policies into PDF documents.

Such policies could, for example, limit a reader’s ability to read or print a document to a certain number of days.

Users of the new Acrobat 7 Reader will also be able to mark up documents with editing and comments without having a full copy of Acrobat, as with previous versions. However, this feature can only be turned on by a creator using Acrobat 7 Pro. The Reader continues to be freely distributed.

The new Acrobat family, along with Policy Server, will be available next month.

“”We have a universal format which we’re leveraging to allow users to do more than view a document,”” said Mark James, business development manager at Adobe Canada.

“”Customers need to make decisions on documents such as approve information, get information audited, tracked, and secured. With Acrobat 7 we’re extending that ecosystem and addressing not only the ability to internally secure information but to extend it out to business-to-business relationships.

“”This could be a document going out of the organization or a form that ties back into a back-end (system) and a business process, following rules on who can touch it and what can happen to the document.””

As before, Acrobat 7 will come in three versions. Professional, which has all features; Standard, with fewer features but allows the conversion of multiple files; and Elements, which allows only basic PDF creation for a minimum of 100 users.

There will be no change over the pricing from Acrobat 6.

Policy Server, needed for creating security policies, is a separate server-based product that lets an administrator manage policies attached to PDFs in Acrobat 7.

With the two applications companies can to manage PDFs beyond the firewall, said James. Improving on the previous version of Acrobat, the new version allows creators to apply user level access, revocation and expiration of a PDF document.

“”We think of it as security being always on the document,”” said James.

Also new on version 7 are enhancements to Acrobat’s ability to include metadata with PDFs for better document management.

“”Often smaller organizations are challenged to justify a content management repository,”” said James. “”This creates a powerful content repository they can use.””

Finally, both Pro and Standard versions now allow one-button conversion into PDF of Microsoft Office files.

The change opens up opportunities for resellers and partners who design Acrobat-based applications, said James.

“”Most resellers are positioning Acrobat as a way of generating PDFs. But we believe there are opportunities beyond that allowing resellers to deliver more concrete solutions tying into the importance of document management.””

“”For VARs that deal with the application development side of the (customers’) house, we are an extension of their solutions.””


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