As noted by my esteemed fellow Blogger and AUC Editor Kurt Foss, AcrobatUsers.com has now made it easier to learn how to get things done with Acrobat by posting the Acrobat Help file online.
Now, why do they need to post it online, you might ask? Isn’t the Acrobat Help file available right there in the Acrobat Help menu?
Indeed it is. However, note that the clever little “mini PDF browser” invoked from the Help menu doesn’t allow one to know the page-number one is looking at. This can make it sometimes quite difficult to quickly and effectively refer people to the correct section of the manual to assist in clarifying a point.
To illustrate; two different ways to refer to the same location in the Help file:
- Acrobat Help, via the Help Menu: “Go to the ‘Converting Adobe PDF documents to other file formats’ section, try a text-search to find it.”
- Acrobat Help, as referenced via page number (hyperlinked or no): “Page 176”
Which would you prefer? One way to know which page-number you are looking at in the manual is to track down or even provide links to the file itself (ACROHELP.PDF) on Windows machines, usually found at C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 7.0\Help\ENU\. But this advice is bad – for it encourages users to poke around in the program files area… not a good idea.
Making the Help file available online thus provides a straightforward way to address a variety of training and reference issues. AcrobatUsers.com currently makes the Manual is currently available as a Zip file.
The next move (and it would be a good one), would be to deploy each page and/or topic of the manual as a separate file (PDF or HTML), with a durable URL. This would allow any user to easily create a hyperlink direct to Adobe’s documentation to illustrate a training or reference point, or easily incorporate it within their own documentation.
Now, Adobe shouldn’t encourage anyone to actually print the Acrobat Pro 7.0 manual… quite a few of the pages are over 20 inches in length, with no page-break – injurious to their appearance when printed, even under the best of circumstances.
Ironically, the “Print Adobe PDF Documents” page (p. 642) is over 41 inches long. (!)
by Duff Johnson