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Why I Like the Acrobat X UI

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If you have been snarly about the new Acrobat X user interface, knock it off. Acrobat expert John Deubert gives you five reasons why it's a real improvement over Acrobat 9.
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Several people have emailed me recently, complaining about the changes Adobe made to the Acrobat user interface in Acrobat X.

“Where’re all my toolbars? I’m missing my menus! What’s that stuff on the side of the windows? What have they done to my Acrobat!”

Calm, people, calm. The Acrobat X user interface is an improvement over its predecessor: less cluttered, more easily customized, and generally easier to use. You may wish to stop reading now and go about your business. However, if you won’t take my word for it, read on.

A New Design Philosophy

Acrobat X’s user interface displays a change in Adobe’s basic approach to UI design.

Its predecessor, Acrobat 9, represented the end point of a UI philosophy Adobe had been following ever since Acrobat 6, perhaps summarizable as “more is better.” Each version of Acrobat had more toolbars, more menus, more menu items, and more different ways of doing the same thing. Acrobat X breaks with this trend; it has fewer menus, simpler menus, only two toolbars, and generally only one menu item and one toolbar button per software feature.

Now, I grant you that taste in software design is a personal matter, but most people find the new, slimmed Acrobat X UI a great improvement—once they learn their way around.

Let’s look at the things I like about Acrobat X’s user interface.

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