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Like this article? We recommend Thing I Like #1: Fewer Menus

Thing I Like #1: Fewer Menus

Acrobat 9’s menus stretched across your entire screen (Figure 1). There were 11 of them on the Mac, 10 in Windows (because it lacked the Mac-specific application menu). Furthermore, there was a measure of duplication among the menu items. For example, both the Comments menu and the Tools menu had submenus that let you select among all of the possible annotation tools (Figure 2). I’ve never heard a convincing rationale for this duplication; certainly, most people looking for an annotation tool would go directly to the aptly-named Comments menu.

Figure 1 Acrobat reduced the number of menus from its predecessor’s 11 (top) down to five (bottom).

Figure 2 Acrobat 9 had some odd duplication among its menus. For example, both the Tools and Comments menus offered a complete selection of annotation tools. Acrobat X eliminates this duplication.

Acrobat X has only five menus (Figure 1, bottom). Most of the menu items were moved to the new Actions panes, where we don’t have to look at them if we don’t need them. Further, the redundancy among the menu items has been eliminated; each feature will be found in one place only. This actually improves usability for most of us; having memorized the location of a feature, we aren’t being surprised by its popping up in another location entirely.

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