The Adobe Acrobat Pro interface has undergone multiple updates, each bringing changes that disrupted our accustomed view of the workflow.
Despite initial grumbling, adapting to these alterations became swift as meeting deadlines took precedence.
Fast forward to 2024, and we find ourselves with the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Pro, featuring a diverse set of tools and menus that differ from what you saw before. This new version was deployed in late fall of 2023. This discussion excludes mobile Adobe apps. In this attempt, I aim to bring order and understanding to the new interface.
Upon launching the updated Acrobat, I was confused. The tools meticulously arranged from the Tools tab, a fixture that used to be on the right side of the screen for years (depicted in the left screenshot), had vanished. The panes, traditionally positioned on the left side of the screen (as seen in the right screenshot), were also absent. Just as I had grown accustomed to distinguishing between panels, panes, and toolbars, I found myself starting anew. You might describe the new layout as following a left-to-right progression of tasks across your monitor screen.
To better illustrate the issue, here are some old-versus-new screenshots:
Thankfully, after spending a few hours exploring a document, perusing help files, and conducting tests, I came to the realization that the new interface isn't as challenging as I thought initially. Surprisingly, this time around, transitioning from one version to another is a breeze, thanks to a single menu. Take a look at these:
Navigating the changes is not overly complicated once you're familiar with them, much like many aspects of life. It may take some time to locate frequently used tools and adjust to their new positions. The revised workspace and tool arrangement mirror the browser version of Acrobat, which has been in use for shared documents. You have the option of switching the layout between old and new.
In the desktop/laptop version of Adobe Acrobat Pro, the interface becomes evident when a PDF is shared via Adobe Cloud. Here, you'll find small icons denoting users sharing the document, and while the set of commenting tools is limited, the navigation panels on the left and the tools on the right remain largely consistent.
A third interface emerges when accessing a shared PDF through a browser window, typically by clicking a link sent to your email. Notably, the Pages and Bookmarks panes are now on the right while commenting tools now appear in a floating bar on the left side of the screen. Importantly, you don't need to have Acrobat installed on your device to read or comment on the document. This version closely resembles Adobe Reader in functionality, but upon signing into your Adobe account, additional editing tools become available. Here is a screenshot: