Fill & Sign App With Paper Form

I wrote last week about Adobe’s impending release of an all new version of its Acrobat PDF software, Acrobat DC, and of the broader Adobe Document Cloud with which Acrobat DC will be tightly integrated. Yesterday, the new products officially launched. Here’s the announcement:

Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the availability of its newest cloud offering, Adobe Document Cloud, a modern way to manage documents at home, in the office and across devices. Document Cloud addresses the waste and inefficiency associated with document processes. Whether it’s school permission slips, health insurance forms or complex enterprise document workflows, Adobe is transforming how people and businesses get work done. At the heart of Document Cloud, and also available today, is the all-new Adobe Acrobat DC, the world’s best PDF solution taken to an entirely new level. With a stunning, touch-enabled interface and powerful companion mobile apps, Acrobat DC delivers free e-signing with every subscription, now included as part of both Document Cloud and Creative Cloud.

As I wrote last week, Document Cloud is similar to Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud, services that package related tools in an integrated cloud platform that can be accessed across any device. Document Cloud allows users to create, review, approve, sign and track documents from any device, mobile or desktop. A user can start working on a document on one device and then move seamlessly to finish it on another.

The new Acrobat DC includes e-signing that allows users to sign and send documents from any device. The pro version of Acrobat DC includes all the features that have been important to lawyers in past versions of Acrobat Pro, such as Bates numbering, redaction, and compliance with PDF/A and PDF/X.

Acrobat DC with Document Cloud can be purchased on a subscription basis at $12.99 a month. The Pro version is $14.99 a month. The software can also be purchased for a fixed price but not including Document Cloud services.

See my prior post for more details and watch for a hands-on review coming soon.

Acrobat DC Mobile App Tools View On iPad

Sometime in the next 30 days, Adobe will launch the latest version of its popular Acrobat PDF software, and it will be notably different from prior versions. The new Acrobat DC, as it will be called, will be part of a broader offering, Adobe Document Cloud, all aimed at reducing the waste and inefficiency of working with paper documents.

Document Cloud will be similar to Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud, services that package related tools in an integrated cloud platform that can be accessed across any device. Document Cloud will allow users to create, review, approve, sign and track documents from any device, mobile or desktop. A user will be able to start working on a document on one device and then move seamlessly to finish it on another.

Adobe’s general counsel and senior vice president Mike Dillon, who have me a preview earlier this week, says the goal is to eliminate the hassle and clutter of dealing with paper, whether it is for a multi-million-dollar legal transaction or your child’s school permission slip, and to make the product easy and intuitive to use.

“I can start to work on something from my desktop here in the office then go home and finish it,” Dillon says. “I’ll edit it on my tablet and then sign it on my mobile phone.”

Fill & Sign App Signature

Document Cloud will include:

  • Acrobat DC. It will retain all the features legal professionals expect in Acrobat Pro, but will present them in an all-new, touch-enabled user interface that Adobe says is simpler and more intuitive to use. It includes a new Tool Center that allows users to customize quick access to the tools they use most often.
  • E-signing. All subscriptions to Acrobat DC will include eSign Services, formerly called Adobe EchoSign. Users will be able to sign and send documents from any device. A new feature, Fill & Sign, will turn virtually any document into a fillable form that can be completed and signed from any device.
  • Mobile Link. All of your files, settings and signatures stay with you, no matter what device you work from. Two new mobile apps, Acrobat Mobile and Fill & Sign, will allow users to create, edit, comment and sign documents directly on their mobile devices and use their cameras as a portable scanner.
  • Document management and control. Document Cloud will include tools for managing, tracking and controlling documents. You will be able to know where documents are in the signing process, who has open them and when. This will include control over document permissions, including the ability to revoke permissions.

Document Cloud will be sold on a subscription basis at a cost of $14.95 a month. That will include the desktop version of the Acrobat DC software. The software will also be available for one-time purchase but will not include the cloud features. An enterprise version will be available later this year.

Subscribers will get 20GB of cloud storage. Users of the free Acrobat Mobile or Reader mobile apps will get 5GB for free.

The service will be agnostic with regard to cloud storage. The product will ship with a connector to Sharepoint and will be adding connectors to OneDrive, Box and Dropbox, as well as a set of APIs that will allow other products to set up integrations.

Acrobat DC Mobile App Tools View On Android

Scan, Sign and Manage Documents

Dillon and Chris French, senior product manager at Adobe, showed me some of the new capabilities. Using the Fill & Sign app on an iPad, French took a picture of a hard-copy non-competition agreement. The app uses technology derived from Photoshop to clean the image and adjust its lighting, cropping and orientation, and then converts it into a usable digital document.

Then, French was able to simply tap on fields that he needed to complete. The system saves a user’s frequently used information, such as company name and address, so that it can be inserted with just a couple of taps. A signature can be added from a saved image or by signing directly with a stylus or your finger.

Fill & Sign App With Paper Form

Everything you could do on the desktop can also be done on your iPad or Android device. Select and open documents, edit PDFs and organize pages within a PDF, for example.

The process is much the same on the desktop. The software will automatically recognize fields within a document that need to be filled in and will even label them as “name,” “address” or whatever. To send the document out for signatures, click a send for signature button. The file is uploaded to the server and an email is created with an encrypted link to the document to send to the person who must sign. If multiple signatures are required, they can all be scheduled at once and in a specific order.

The recipient of the email clicks the link to be taken to the document and is then walked through each of the fields that must be completed.

Dillon wrapped up the demonstration with a recap of what Adobe sees as key benefits of this new product for the legal profession:

  • It uses a trusted PDF platform to manage document-intensive work.
  • It offers the ability to digitize the entire document process, from creation and editing to sharing and approval.
  • It provides a documented audit trail of who viewed the document and when.
  • It tracks the document workflow status in real time.
  • It includes secure e-signing to finalize documents and more efficiently get approvals.
  • It provides the ability to remix documents and contracts.

Dillon, who was formerly the GC at Sun Microsystems and was one of the first GCs in the U.S. to have his own blog (and who still has a personal blog), says he is really excited about the capabilities this new release will provide to legal professionals. It will, he believes, enable lawyers to spend less time managing and tracking documents and thereby deliver greater value to their clients.

Just a few days ago, I titled a post here, Maybe I Need to Give Up on Adobe Acrobat X Pro. As I explained there and in an earlier post, I was never able to install and run Adobe Acrobat X Pro. Try as I might, it crashed every time I tried to launch it. An Adobe support technician seemed as clueless as me. I tried everything I could think of. He seemed to have tried everything he could think of. All without success.

Today, a different Adobe technician called me back. In under five minutes, he had Acrobat up and running without a glitch. I am enormously thankful to him.

His fix was surprisingly simple. He had me create a new user account in Windows with full administrative privileges. He then had me log in as that new user and install Acrobat there. Once I logged back in under my usual username, there was Acrobat and it worked seamlessly.

I assume this means that there was some conflict between Acrobat and another program running under my username. Whatever the problem was, I am glad it is fixed.

In a post here two months ago, I wrote about my problems with Adobe Acrobat X Pro. Adobe invited me to download and test a review copy. I was never able to run it. Each time I tried, it crashed immediately.

After writing that post, Adobe said it would send me a boxed version and assured me I would have no further problems. The boxed version arrived and I had exactly the same problem. I tried everything I could think of — uninstalling potentially conflicting programs, shutting down all security, etc., etc.

Today, I spent roughly 1.5 hours on the phone with Adobe support, trying to diagnose and fix the problem. Frankly, the support specialist seemed every bit as clueless as I was. He did what I did, having me uninstall various programs and try reinstalling Acrobat. He took control of my desktop and fiddled around in my registry. Suddenly, after 1.5 hours of this, our call and his desktop connection were terminated.

I was left having to clean up — reinstall various programs that he’d had me uninstall and uninstall the still non-functioning Acrobat. I would love to get this program working, but I simply do not have the time to spend hours fiddling with my computer.

The image you see here is the error message I sometimes get when I try to start Acrobat. It tells me to download a new version of Adobe Application Manager. When I tried to do that, it would download but would not install. The support technician tried the same thing and had the same result. I don’t always get that message; sometimes Acrobat looks as if it is starting, then just closes after a few seconds.

I am running Windows 7 Professional, 64 bit, with an Intel Core i7 cpu at 2.67 GHz and 4 GB of RAM. All I can think of is that there is a conflict with some other program, but the same problem occurs even when I start the computer in “safe mode.”

If anyone has any clues as to what is causing this, I’d love to hear from you.

Recently, I received an invitation from Adobe to download a review copy of its latest PDF software, Adobe Acrobat X Pro. I downloaded and installed the program and immediately ran into problems.

Every time I tried to start it, it immediately crashed. Sometimes it would stay open for a few moments longer than other times, but consistently, within a matter of seconds, it would crash.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the program, this time making sure no other programs were running when I installed it. I even shut down my firewall and virus software. Same problem. I used “system restore” to restore my computer to where it was before the first install and then tried again. Same problem.

When it crashes, I get the message, “Adobe application manager has stopped working.” I am running 64-bit Windows 7.

I contacted the folks at Adobe who replied that they would “take this up with engineering” and get back to me when they had an answer.

I haven’t heard back from anyone. Has anyone else experienced this problem? If so, have you found a work-around?

A full-featured PDF program is a must-have for any lawyer these days. But at a price tag of $449, Adobe Acrobat X Pro is a lot to pay for lawyers in solo and small firms. CutePDF Pro is a program that provides much of the same functionality as Acrobat Pro, but at a much-cheaper price — a budget-friendly $49.95.

You might want to act soon to take advantage of this price. The CutePDF website makes it appear that this price is a limited-time offer and that the normal price is $89.95. Plus, this price currently includes a second program, CutePDF Form Filler, which otherwise has a stand-alone price of $29.95.

I should mention here that, for the perfect price of $0, you can get the CutePDF Writer, an application that lets you print to PDF from any Windows program, but that offers no additional functionality.

CutePDF Pro integrates with the CutePDF Writer to provide an array of features comparable to Acrobat Pro. Using CutePDF Pro, you can:

  • Digitally sign PDF documents.
  • Scan documents to PDF.
  • Add Bates numbers to PDF documents.
  • Convert PDF documents to image files.
  • Extract, reorder and duplicate pages within PDF documents.
  • Type text anywhere on a PDF page.
  • Add notes, comments, highlights and other mark-ups to PDF documents.
  • Add passwords and set security options for documents.

The added Form Filler program lets you save interactive PDF documents to your computer and then fill them in and print them at your convenience.

Features You Don’t Get

At $400 less, CutePDF Pro does not give you everything you get in Acrobat Pro. Some of what Acrobat offers that CutePDF does not includes:

  • An OCR option when scanning into PDF.
  • The ability to convert PDF documents to Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Version comparison.
  • Ability to create fillable PDF forms.
  • Various wizards and quick-action features.

One question I have is whether CutePDF complies with the PDF/A standard that the federal courts have said will be required at some future date. I could find nothing about this on the company’s website so I submitted the question through its support site and will let you know what I find out.

The bottom line is that you have a choice between a $449 program (less if you’re upgrading from an earlier version) and a $49.95 program. The cheaper program lacks some of the bells and whistles of its higher-priced rival, but it does most of what the typical lawyer would need — and it does it well.

Adobe today today a major leap from the desktop to the Web with its introduction of Acrobat.com, a suite of hosted services available for free as a public beta. The suite combines word-processing, Web conferencing, PDF creation, file sharing and file storage in a stylish and functional package built using Adobe Flash technology. The company today also introduced the latest version of its software, Adobe Acrobat 9, that provides integration with the Web site and that also more fully integrates Flash than any previous version, meaning your PDFs will now be able to play video and audio and do other cool tricks.

As for the Web site, its services include:

  • Adobe Buzzword, a Web-based, WYSIWYG word processor similar in concept to Google Docs but distinct in both appearance and functionality through its use of Flash.
  • Adobe ConnectNow, a personal Web conferencing service that includes desktop sharing, video and voice conferencing and integrated chat.
  • Centralized online file sharing and storage with access controls.
  • Online PDF conversion for up to five documents, and support for high quality, Web-embeddable documents.
  • Developer APIs for real-time collaboration, file sharing and conversion.

The Web site integrates with the Adobe software through the ability of Acrobat 9 owners to use Acrobat.com as a central location for sharing forms and collecting forms data, conducting shared reviews, and co-navigating a PDF document with colleagues.

Adobe Systems today introduced a new service that should be of interest to lawyers in firms of any size. Called the Adobe Document Center, it is a secure, hosted service for sharing documents in Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel formats. It allows you to control who has access to your documents, track updates and versions, and change rights to any document, including local copies on anyone’s desktop. From today’s announcement:

“Adobe Document Center is designed for the professional who shares or publishes business-, time- or version-sensitive documents. Whether it is an independent graphics designer submitting designs for client review, or a legal practice exchanging sensitive files with clients, users can customize access settings, closely audit usage of their documents, and retain control over the files regardless of where they travel. Users also have the ability to set expiration dates on documents, supersede an older version once a new version is distributed, and revoke access after distribution. They even have the ability to track who has received the documents and what recipients have done, or attempted to do, with the files.”

Here is the best part: The service is absolutely free to try through the end of the year. The commercial release is due early in 2007 and will carry an introductory six-month, per-user subscription price of $19.99 a month or $199 a year.