Adobe, with Document Cloud, attempts to change the way of sharing PDFs

By | March 17, 2015

Adobe thinks it’s time we all finally go paperless, and it’s releasing some new technology for the same.

Adobe, the company behind the famous PDF format for documents, is touting electronic-signature and mobile capabilities in a new subscription package aimed at helping individuals and businesses manage their documents.

Adobe document cloud

On Monday, Adobe unveiled the curtain on Document Cloud, an upcoming service for storing and sharing documents. It’s launching ‘in the next 30 days’ and will set you back $15 a month, not if one already has a Creative Cloud or Acrobat subscription. Besides free or cheap software available from third parties, many browsers including Google’s Chrome now come with that capability built-in.

Users will be able to store documents in the Adobe created and widely used PDF format in Document Cloud. As they could with other cloud-based services, users will be able to access and edit the same documents stored on Document Cloud wherever they are on their PCs or on mobile devices. The service will also keep track of which documents users were last accessing, allowing them to continue working with the same document when they move to a different device.

If this makes you think Document Cloud is just a clone of Google Drive or DropBox clone, they you are wrong. It has much more for the service also includes built-in support for electronic signatures. Users will be able to use the service to digitally distribute documents that need to be signed or to e-sign documents that have been forwarded  to them. The service can keep of where documents are in the signing process and what signatures are still outstanding.

The service also will include a feature that allows users to scan in paper documents and then edit them as if they were digital ones. An executive could use one of the new Adobe apps on her smartphone to scan in a contract — with the phone’s camera — and then edit the document using the device’s keyboard. Adobe’s technology will not only recognize text on the page, it can recognize and duplicate the font that was used.

New mobile apps will let people create and edit PDF documents on the go, and online storage will be available so people can access the latest versions wherever they are. The desktop app is also getting an update, including e-signature features formerly sold separately as EchoSign.

Adobe’s Document Cloud along with other new tools are expected to launch within the next month and prices start from $13 a month. People will be able to buy Acrobat DC for a one-time fee that’s expected to start at $299 ($139 for upgrades), but that does not include online storage and some of the mobile features.

According to Adobe, after the launch of Creative Cloud (a design app suite) and Marketing Cloud (a bundle of marketing services), Document Cloud is the company’s third major investment in the cloud. This comparison shows the Adobe’s commitment to PDF, a technology which it first launched 22 years ago.