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Adobe Acrobat X Classroom in a Book: Actions

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Adobe Press.
  • Date: Jan 11, 2011.

Chapter Description

Learn how to run an action in Acrobat Pro, create an action, create an instruction step for an action, set options in steps so the user doesn’t need to provide input, prompt the user for input on specific steps, and share an action.

Creating an action

You can create your own actions, assembling Acrobat steps and instructional steps to automate a process or to make it more consistent. Before you create an action, consider the steps involved and the logical order for those steps. For example, encrypting a document with password protection or saving it with Reader-extended features should be among the last steps in the action.

You’ll create an action for assembling a multimedia presentation in Acrobat X Pro. The steps you’ll use for creating a multimedia presentation are to combine files, add a header or footer to visually link the pages to each other, add video files, create page transitions, set the file to open in Full Screen mode, and then add a password to the document to prevent others from making changes.

  1. In Acrobat, choose File > Action Wizard > Create New Action.
  2. In the Create New Action dialog box, choose Combine Files Into A Single PDF from the Start With menu.

You can apply an action to an open file, prompt the user to select a file or folder, require the user to scan a document, ask the user how to apply the action, or start by combining multiple files. Presentations often include multiple document types, so you’ll start this action by combining files.

  1. Choose Ask When Action Is Started from the Save To menu. When the action runs, Acrobat will prompt the user to specify a location for the saved file.

Adding steps to an action

Now you’re ready to add the steps.

  1. Expand the Pages panel in the left pane of the dialog box, and select Header & Footer (Add).

The Header & Footer (Add) step is listed in the right pane.

  1. Select Prompt User at the right side of the step. When the action runs, the user can customize the header or footer for the presentation.

The next step is to add video files. There is no Add Video step available in the Create New Action dialog box, so you’ll add an instruction step for the user.

  1. Click Add Instruction Step.
  1. Type Add video in the Step Name text box in the Add/Edit Instructions dialog box.
  2. In the Instructions text box, type Add video files as appropriate. To add a video, choose Multimedia > Video in the Content panel, drag a box on the page, and select the video file and any settings. Then click Save.

You can add as much or as little information as you want in an instruction step. If you’re sharing your action with people who are less familiar with Acrobat, consider providing detailed steps. If you’re creating an action for yourself, a reminder to perform the step, such as “Add video,” may be enough.

  1. Expand the Document Processing panel in the left pane, and click Page Transitions.
  2. Click the options button in the Page Transitions step.
  1. Choose Dissolve from the Transition menu, and then choose Medium from the Speed menu. Then click OK.
  1. Make sure Prompt User is not selected in the Page Transitions step.

Acrobat will automatically apply the options you select for the Page Transitions step, without prompting the user.

  1. Click Set Open Options in the Document Processing panel. Click the options button in the new step. In the Set Open Options dialog box, choose Yes from the Open In Full Screen Mode menu. Click OK.
  1. Expand the Protection panel, and then click Encrypt. Select Prompt User in the Encrypt step so that each user can set an individual password.

Saving an action

When you’ve added all the steps, confirmed that they’re in the appropriate order, and specified the options you want, save and name the action.

  1. Click Save.
  2. Name the action Prepare Multimedia Presentation.
  3. For the action description, type Combine files for a presentation in full-screen mode with page transitions. Then click Save.

Give actions names that help you remember what the actions do. It’s usually a good idea, especially if you’ll be sharing the action, to describe the product of the action or when you should use it, such as when you’re preparing documents for a particular client or purpose.

Testing an action

You’ve created an action. Now you’ll test-drive it to ensure it works the way you expect. You’ll create a multimedia presentation for a fictitious beverage company.

  1. In the Action Wizard panel, select Prepare Multimedia Presentation. (If you don’t see it, click More Actions to see additional actions.) The action description and steps appear.
  2. Click Next.
  1. In the Select Files dialog box, click Add Files, and then choose Add Files from the menu. Navigate to the Lesson11 folder, and then Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) to select the Aquo_Bottle_Ad.pdf, Aquo_CEO.pdf, and Aquo_FAQ.pdf files. Click Add Files.
  2. Arrange the files so that the Aquo_Bottle_Ad.pdf file is first, followed by the Aquo_FAQ.pdf file, and then the Aquo_CEO.pdf file. To move a file up in the file order, select it, and click Move Up. To move a file down, select it, and click Move Down.

This is the order in which the files will appear in the final presentation.

  1. Click Next to combine the files and move to the first step in the action.
  2. In the Add Header And Footer dialog box, click an insertion point in the Left Header Text box, and then type Aquo Shareholders Meeting 2012. Click OK.

The instruction step you created appears on the screen. You’ll add a video.

  1. Open the Content panel in the Tools pane, and choose Multimedia > Video. Drag a box over the right half of the bottle ad page (the first page in the document). Click Choose or Browse, select the Aquo_T03_Loop.flv file from the Lesson11 folder, and click Open. Then click OK.
  1. Click the Play button to preview the video file. When you’re done, click the Pause button to stop it. Then click Next Step in the instruction step to proceed through the action.

Acrobat automatically performs the next two steps—adding page transitions and setting the presentation to open in Full Screen mode—because no input is required. The final step is adding a password, which does require input.

  1. In the Document Security dialog box, choose Password Security from the Security Method menu. In the Permissions area of the Password Security –Settings dialog box, select Restrict Editing And Printing Of the Document. In the Change Permissions Password box, enter Aquo1234 as the password. Then click OK.
  1. Click OK in the informational dialog box, enter the password again when prompted, and then click OK. Click Close to close the Document Security dialog box.
  2. In the Save As dialog box, name the presentation file Aquo_meeting.pdf. Click Save.

Acrobat reports that the Prepare Multimedia Presentation action has been completed.

  1. Click Close. Close the document file. If you want to see the presentation open in Full Screen mode with its header and page transitions, open the file in Acrobat. When you’ve viewed the presentation, press Escape to exit Full Screen mode, and then close the file.
4. Sharing actions | Next Section Previous Section

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