Adobe Document Cloud review

A dream come true for office administrators

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Our Verdict

Adobe has revolutionized document management software again. There are some limitations to Document Cloud, but you won't be disappointed.

For

  • Ease of use
  • Vast feature set
  • Mobile photo to PDF creation

Against

  • Bland interface
  • No editing on smartphone
  • Crooked output of mobile photos to PDF

Anyone who has worked in an office has probably interacted with an Adobe tool. More than likely you've opened a PDF using Adobe Acrobat Reader and wondered how, where and why that document became a PDF. That's because for more than 20 years PDFs were primarily used by document creators to disseminate a combination of images and text to third-parties for passive viewing.

Today, because of cloud collaboration tools like Google Docs and Microsoft OneDrive, business users are more likely than ever to have administrative access to documents on which they are required to provide input, edits and signatures.

Until recently, making these changes on Adobe tools required an Acrobat subscription, from which you would download a document to your local drive on a desktop, where you would make changes. Then you would be required to email the edited version of the document to your colleagues. Forget about making edits or creating documents on mobile devices.

Adobe's newest tool, Adobe Document Cloud (free with your $14.99, £13.33, AU$14.99 monthly Acrobat subscription), addresses these problems and more. Document Cloud lets you snap a photo of a document, save it to the cloud as a PDF, edit it, sign it and password-protect it - all from a mobile device. Built with a touch-enabled user interface, Photoshop imaging tools, a revamped Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe eSign technology, Document Cloud is a dream come true for business users. Like most Adobe tools, it is available in a free Reader version, a standard version, and a Pro version that you can upgrade to for an extra $9.99 (about £6.33, AU$13.08) per month.

Design

If you're looking for an avant-garde user interface, you've come to the wrong place. The Adobe Document Cloud is about as boring as a touchscreen architecture can be. Designed with a white background and pastel-colored buttons, Document Cloud doesn't pop in any way shape or form. This is true across mobile and desktop environments.

Adobe Document Cloud review

Don't fret. Despite its unappealing design, Document Cloud is a pleasure to use. On the desktop home screen, you're provided with a list of documents saved to the application. Once you've selected which document you want to work off of, you're taken to a screen that provides you with a large format view of the document itself, and a toolbar with options that include turning the document into a PDF, editing, exporting, commenting and e-signing. Each option comes with its own colorful icon and a text label, so it's not as confusing as Photoshop, in which you have to hover over abstract icons to determine what you're about to click.

At the top of the page you're provided with a text button that lets you return to the home page or enter the neat Adobe tool trove. You're also provided with gray and white icon buttons that let you save the document (locally or to the cloud), print, or search within.

If you click on the tool button you're taken to a page that features 27 text and image icon options - the mother lode of Document Cloud tools. You'll only be able to access all 27 if you have a Pro account, but a Standard account will let you edit and sign, among other basic features.

A nice little feature that Adobe added to this page is the ability to search within the set of tools to find options that help you accomplish a given task; for example, when I type in the word "text" I am shown the 11 tools that have text adding and editing functionality. When I type in the word "sign" I am shown the three tools that let me add or edit signatures.

The mobile environment is much more bare bones. On the home page I'm shown a list of available documents, as well as a search box where I can look within documents to find a given phrase, and a red home icon. When I click the home icon I am given the following options: comment, create PDF, export PDF, camera to PDF and organize pages. I am also provided with text buttons to access my account or ask for technical support.