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Getting Familiar with Adobe Reader

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Peachpit Press.
  • Date: Sep 2, 2005.

Chapter Description

Adobe Reader offers an overwhelming array of options. Luckily, Ted Padova offers his services as a guide through the thicket of choices in this sample chapter.

Working with Menus

Adobe Reader offers several menu commands at the top of the Adobe Reader window. You can use these menu commands in addition to tools and Navigation panes to invoke actions.

File Menu

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The File menu enables you to open/close documents, save files, save copies of files, email documents, manage digital editions, and print files. You can also open and close files, print files, and email files using keyboard shortcuts or tools in the File toolbar. The File menu is most useful when you're working with Digital Editions. You can open the Digital Editions window from the File menu and work with eBooks. You can also use the Digital Editions window as your personal file manager. In addition, you'll find a list of recently viewed files at the bottom of the menu (Windows) or in a submenu (Macintosh). You'll frequently use the recently viewed files in Adobe Reader to quickly access files in the current or previous Adobe Reader sessions. For more information on working with the Digital Editions window, see Chapter 20, "Working with Digital Editions."

Edit Menu

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The Edit menu contains the traditional cut, copy, and paste commands, along with other commands for selecting data, checking spelling, looking up definitions, and using the find and search features. Almost all the commands in the Edit menu are accessible via keyboard shortcuts. Two items you may use often include Edit Dictionary, found in the Check Spelling submenu, and Copy File to Clipboard. These commands don't have keyboard shortcut equivalents. You can use Copy File to Clipboard to copy all the text in a file to the clipboard for pasting into a text editor or word processor. The Edit Dictionary command is handy when you want to add or delete words in the dictionary used for checking spelling in comment notes.

View Menu

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The View menu contains all the commands you'll use for viewing and navigating PDF documents, opening toolbars and tabs, and changing views. Zoom levels, page layout modes, autoscrolling, reading aloud, and page rotations are also in this menu.

For page navigation, it's faster to use the Status Bar, keyboard shortcuts, and tools in the Toolbar Well. The real value in the View menu is opening/closing navigation tabs and displaying the Wireframe view, which has no keyboard shortcut. In the Navigation Tabs submenu, you find the tabs that do not load by default in the Navigation pane. Use the submenu commands to show hidden tabs. The Wireframe mode shows you lines on drawings displayed at 1-point size regardless of the zoom level. Use this feature when you want to examine oversized engineering drawings and need to see lines when zooming out of the document pages.

Document Menu

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The Document menu contains commands for handling digital signatures, working with secure documents, and checking document accessibility. Most of the menu commands in the Document menu do not have keyboard shortcuts or tools to access these commands. For more information on digital signatures and document security, see Chapter 17. For information on accessibility, see Chapter 18, "PDFs and Accessibility."

Tools Menu

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The Tools menu offers menu commands in submenus for accessing tools found in the Basic, Zoom, and Object Data toolbars. Using the menu commands selects tools the same as if you click on tools in the Reader Toolbar Well.

All the tools in the menu and submenus have equal counterparts in the View submenu and in the context menu opened from the Toolbar Well.

Window Menu

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The Window menu provides menu commands to assist you in viewing documents. You can cascade and tile several open documents, close open documents, view the clipboard contents, and view the foreground file in Full Screen mode. For more information on using Full Screen mode, see Chapter 4.

As you open documents in Adobe Reader, the most recent document opens in the foreground in the Document pane and hides all other open documents. If you view several files at one time, use the Window menu to select among open files at the bottom of the menu. When you select a filename listed in the menu, the file moves to the foreground in the Document pane. You'll use the Window menu often if you open more than one document without closing previously viewed documents.

Help Menu

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In addition to the help documents you access with menu commands, you'll find an assorted number of commands in the Help menu to access information about and check for updates to the Adobe Reader program. Choose About Adobe Plug-Ins to view information on all installed plug-ins; System Info to view information related to your operating system; Check for Updates to check Adobe's Web site for any updates to the Reader program; Purchase Adobe Acrobat to open a Web page to get buying information on the full version of Acrobat; Detect and Repair to use the self-healing features that keep Reader performing properly; and the Accessibility Setup Assistant to set the viewing attributes of PDF documents for visually and/or motion-impaired users.

Of the important items listed in this menu, you should plan to make periodic visits to Adobe's Web site for Online Support and Adobe Expert Support. Use the Detect and Repair command when Adobe Reader appears to malfunction with one feature or another. And use the Check for Updates command routinely to see if maintenance upgrades have been posted on Adobe's Web site.

Context Menus

All Adobe products make use of context menus. To open a context menu, right-click the mouse (for Windows and Macintosh users who have a two-button mouse) or press Ctrl+click (Macintosh). When you change tools by clicking a tool in the Toolbar Well and then open a context menu, the menu options relate to the selected tool and may differ from context menu commands that appear when you use the default Hand tool. Figure 3.8 shows a context menu opened in the Document pane when the Select tool is the currently active tool.

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Figure 3.8 Right-click (Windows and Macintosh) or Ctrl+click (Macintosh) to open a context menu.

Context menus opened from different areas in the Adobe Reader window contain different menu commands. Context menus opened in the Navigation pane, the Document pane, and the Toolbar Well, respectively, each have different commands in their menus. In addition, context menus opened on selected items, or without an item selected at all, often display different menu choices. When in doubt about how to select a tool or perform an action in Adobe Reader, always open a context menu. In many cases, the context menu offers a command to achieve your desired results.

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