The newest version of the popular Adobe Reader software, Reader X, comes with many new, useful, enhancements. Beginning with the user interface, Reader X has been redesigned to allow for a more streamlined workflow. The program now mainly functions in expandable task panes along the right side, as opposed to drop down menus at the top. The main toolbar for Reader X is now a location for commonly used tools. Simply right-clicking the toolbar will allow you to add or remove tool buttons. Also streamlined is Reader X’s Reading Mode. Reading Mode is used for viewing PDF documents through other programs, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer.

When viewing a PDF document within a website, the menu bar, tabs, and toolbars are all hidden. This view minimizes visual clutter and allows the reader to focus more on the document. Moving your mouse towards the bottom of the document will pop up a toolbar for basic functions, as well as allowing you to restore the full Reader X experience.

The expandable task panes in Reader X are not simply a new way for organizing old features. Adobe Reader X now gives you the ability to add annotations to your document. There are two types of annotations available in Reader X – Sticky Note and Highlight Text. Access the Annotations by expanding the Comment task pane. This pane contains the tools for adding annotations, as well as a Comments List for finding and viewing any annotations that are in the document.

To add a Sticky Note, first click the Sticky Note button. Your mouse pointer will now appear as a speech bubble. Click on the document in the appropriate location to add your note. Once the note has been added, you will see a speech bubble icon to mark its place. Use the Comments List to easily move between notes. By right-clicking and then choosing Properties, you have the ability to change the icon and the color used.

The second Annotation tool is Highlight Text. In order to be able to use Highlight Text, the document must contain searchable text. Depending on how the document was created, the words may simply be an image, and not actual text. A document that has been scanned is usually just an image of the original, in which the text and other information has been combined into one single object. Optical Character Recognition software (OCR) is required to differentiate text from the rest of the document. To highlight text in Adobe Reader X, first click the Highlight Text button. You can now click and drag over text to highlight it. The Comments List will show any text that has been highlighted.

Published in the Plummer Slade Solutions Newsletter: Second Quarter 2012.