PDF review woes 21:16 on Monday

With all the promise of PDF, it’s quite strange that Adobe Acrobat was the worst reviewing media we tried while writing the book during the past months.

Acrobat loses the advantages of paper:

  • Being able to write freeform notes on and around the text. Yes, there are many different tools for notes in Acrobat. But many inadequate tools don’t make a single good one. Rather, they become less than the sum of their parts (which isn’t much to start with). And they have nothing against the single, highly expressive, easy to use tool that is a pen on paper.
  • Second, having a paper next to my laptop is like having a second, high resolution screen. It is very easy to compare the printed notes to the text I’m editing and correcting on the screen.

Not only that, Acrobat even loses the advantages of using Word comments:

  • It is simply too hard to compare notes in Acrobat to the text being edited in Word (or Pages, if you’re lucky). Even on two monitors you need to scroll the two windows separately: the PDF in Acrobat and the text in Word. Having to keep these two in sync manually is a pain.
  • Word let’s you see the comments while you edit, in the actual document you’re editing. To see all of the PDF review comments you need Acrobat, and Acrobat is a huge resource hog.

Supposedly the new Preview application that came with OS X Leopard should work well with review markup so we Mac users can ditch Acrobat for good.

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