The latest version of Creative Suite is now shipping. If you’re expecting CS4, this isn’t it. But the new Creative Suite 3.3 is still a substantial upgrade (thus the dot version designation), thanks to the inclusion of Acrobat 9 and Fireworks. (When you purchase the upgrade, you get a disk with installers for Acrobat 9 and Fireworks only; nothing is changed for the other applications in the Suite.)
As you’ve probably noticed, Acrobat isn’t like the other kids in the box: its schedule is not synchronized with the other products in the Creative Suite stable. And, yet, it’s increasingly an integral part of the creative fabric, and Acrobat 9 Professional is full of features for creative folks to love:
- Object Inspector: Choose this option, then select any object (image, text, or vector content), and resolution, colorspace, rendering intent, dimensions, font usage, overprint information, and more will be displayed in the Output Preview window.
- Enhanced Preflight and Fixup Functions: In Preflight, you can inspect PDFs for image resolution, colorspace, security settings — even text size. Fixups are repair procedures that can be applied as part of exercising a preflight profile.
- Improved Document Comparison: In previous versions of the doc comparison feature, changed areas were outlined in magenta “balloons,” but it was still up to you to figure out exactly what was different within the area (and good luck finding that one infinitesimal comma). In Acrobat 9, choose Document > Compare Documents, browse for two documents to compare (or choose from currently open files), and Acrobat displays a copy of the newer version of the PDF, with comments and highlights to indicate changed areas. Roll over a marked graphic will show the original graphic used (in a floating window). It’s really quite elegant.
- Permanent Ink Manager Changes: In previous versions of Acrobat, Ink Manager was a bit of a tease. Well, OK: a bit of a lie. Oh, it remapped spot colors or converted them to process. But those changes were only exercised if you imaged directly from Acrobat. Save the PDF, reopen it and the spot colors were still there, like zombies in a cheap B movie. Designers were understandably misled to believe that they were fixing extraneous inks, only to blithely submit their 27-spot-color PDF to the unsuspecting print shop.Acrobat 9 now gives you the ability to use Ink Manager to truly, permanently remap spot colors, but it doesn’t do it in a straightforward way. If you use the Ink Manager available through Output Preview, or via the ink bottle on the Print Production toolbar, you get the same old pretend change as before. But there is a different Ink Manager, available under the Convert Colors function (Advanced > Print Production > Convert Colors). And this Ink Manager (which even recognizes settings from the “provisional” Ink Manager) actually wreaks a permanent change, as evidenced by the “operation cannot be undone” alert:
For once, you’ll be glad to see that alert.