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Adobe Looks To Cut Paper Processes with Document Cloud and New Touch Enabled Acrobat DC

Adobe is gearing up to release a major revision of its PDF tool for desktop and mobile, Acrobat, and to launch a new service called the Adobe Document Cloud, which will provide document management, control and electronic signing capabilities.

Adobe Document Cloud includes both software and services. Among those are:

  • Free electronic signing across desktop and mobile platforms;
  • Document creation, review, approvals and tracking features on desktop and mobile devices;
  • A "Mobile Link" feature for synchronizing documents between devices;
  • Two new mobile apps for iOS and Android: Acrobat Mobile and Fill & Sign;
  • Support for using a phone's built-in camera as a scanner, with the ability to convert captured images into editable and e-signable documents; and
  • New tracking and sending features for distributing files and observing where they are in the document process (and who has read them).

The launch also includes a major new version of Acrobat called Acrobat DC, which is now touch-enabled (for devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3) and offers:

  • Automatic document conversion (image to editable document);
  • Autofill capabilities;
  • E-signing;
  • An updated user interface; and
  • A new Tool Center for accessing document tools.

According to Adobe, taking document management to the cloud is a move designed to address the relatively slow move to digital document processes across all sectors, including, in particular, education. Adobe cited an IDC study that found that, all told, some 80 percent of processes continue to be paper-based, from attendance tracking to procurement to health insurance forms. And, further, a full 63 percent of document processes are perceived as having a negative impact on workflow.

"Our study shows that organizations of all kinds are suffering from what we call the 'document disconnect,'" said Melissa Webster, program vice president, content and digital media technologies, IDC, in a statement coinciding with Adobe's announcement. "[It] afflicts organizations of all sizes in all industries around the world. It results in significant delays and errors across critical business functions such as sales contracting and quoting, procurement, talent acquisition, and onboarding. And it is a serious impediment to business that — according to our respondents — [that] negatively affects revenue, compliance, cost, productivity, and customer experience."

"People and businesses are stuck in document-based processes that are slow, wasteful, and fragmented. While most forms of content have successfully made the move to digital (books, movies, music), documents and the process of working with them have not, and that needs to change," said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of technology and corporate development at Adobe, in a prepared statement. "Adobe Document Cloud will revolutionize and simplify how people get work done with critical documents."

Adobe has not yet announced education licensing options or pricing for Acrobat DC or Adobe Document Cloud. The standard subscription for Document Cloud will run $14.99 per month, and, as of this writing, a perpetual license (a one-time purchase as opposed to a subscription) for Acrobat DC was also expected to be available. According to a company representative, the product will launch within 30 days; when it does, education pricing will be disclosed.

Additional details can be found at

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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