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October 2, 2018

Adobe Announces Acrobat Document Cloud Updates, AI Sensei for Faster PDF Signings

"Everything in Acrobat DC functions the same whether you are on your laptop, a tablet, or on a phone."

By jonathan chadwick

Adobe Acrobat has announced updates for Document Cloud and its connected apps such as Reader and Scan, that aim to make the process of opening and editing PDFs more seamless.

The updates, outlined in a series of blog posts, include a review service for Acrobat DC, simplifying the process of adding multiple updates to single PDF.

Users can send a PDF for review to any number of users with a single link, including via Slack. Those reviewers can then access the document from any device for annotations and comments.

“When it comes to personal technology, software, and apps, we expect everything to integrate seamlessly and work perfectly, whether you’re on the phone, tablet, or the web,” the company said.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to software and apps for work, that experience is often less than optimal. Apps are built in silos, they don’t talk to each other, and they typically only work well in one environment, usually in a browser or on your laptop.

“Adobe is reimagining what’s possible with the PDFs that people work with every day.”

Adobe acrobatAdobe Acrobat: UI Allows User Mentions and Faster PDF Signings

The company has introduced a redesigned Home view for Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader, meant to act as a hub for keeping on top of incoming and outgoing tasks, such as documents sent out for review.

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On the Adobe DC interface, incoming tasks are displayed at the top of a homepage as “To Do cards”. Users can click on the recent files tab to do editing and annotation on these files without leaving the homepage.

The company has also added Dropbox Paper-like username tagging and commenting to Adobe DC, such as for specific highlighted parts of text. Users can enter names from contacts, sending them a message  prompting them that they have a PDF to review.

An improved Adobe Scan, meanwhile, allows scanning and storing business cards. Sign also replaces the Send for Signature tool and is integrated throughout DC and Acrobat Reader for signing trackable documents.

Adobe has also added PDF editing for the Acrobat Reader mobile app and iOS and Android tablets.

Creative Cloud members who subscribe to the All Apps plan have to update their apps to get the updates. Documents are also hosted in Adobe Document Cloud avoiding back and forth via email.

Adobe and Microsoft Creating “Brand New Industry” With AI

The updates also include a leg up with the help of AI for Reader. Form field recognition, powered by the company’s Sensei AI tool, analyses documents and makes text suggestions to help users fill out and sign forms faster in the Acrobat Reader app.

Sensei is also being used on Document Cloud to detect components of documents to convert to PDF, and using “semantic structure analysis” to make PDFs accessible to visually impaired customers. Sensei is also on Experience Cloud for smart tags, anomaly detection, and even budget detection for Adobe Advertising Cloud.

The company has a partnership with Microsoft to push collaboration in the cloud, bring Microsoft Teams to Adobe Cloud Services. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen previously told CNBC that the companies will use AI to push deeper into customer relationship management and create “a brand new category industry”.

“Documents are certainly moving from analogue to digital and the document cloud is the lingua franca for the internet,” he said. “Every enterprise wants to real-time engage with customers.

“We continue to think content and data and how content and data come together is really how this magic happens. … It’s all about what is the right content being delivered based on the intelligence.”

Adobe said that last year, around 200 billion PDFs were opened in Adobe products. The company is therefore “accelerating the pace of innovation in PDF and the role it will play for future generations,” according to Adobe Digital Media’s Bryan Lamkin.

“Today marks an important step in our journey to transform what’s possible with PDF, with much more innovation to come,” he said. “PDF is no longer just a thing; it’s a fundamental verb.”

Read more: Adobe Confirms $5 Billion Acquisition of Marketo

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