Adobe’s online service, Acrobat.com, is free, has great apps and lets you share files.
Sharing electronic documents can be a real challenge and we often find ourselves dealing with bounced emails, FTP accounts and other issues. Adobe’s free Acrobat.com cloud based service was designed to make it easy to share information quickly and easily and is a combination of many useful features, including a word processor [that I’m writing this article with), a presentation and tables tool, web conferencing and more.
For this article we’ll be focusing on sharing files. First you need a free Acrobat.com account. Browse to http://acrobat.com and click the Sign Up button. Enter your email address, create a password and other details, then click Sign Up and you are ready to go.
Once logged in, you will see a list of your files. These are stored online and can be accessed by anyone that you give permission to [and anywhere). Let’s start by uploading a file of your own. In the ‘Actions’ palette on the left-hand side, click on ‘Upload’ and then browse and select the file you wish to upload.
Click on the file name, and if you uploaded a PDF then Acrobat.com will l show you a preview. You can zoom in and out and navigate through the pages. To download the file again, click ‘Download’ to copy the file back to your computer. No matter where you go now, you can store and access up to 5GB of files on any computer by browsing to Acrobat.com and logging in.
Another way to upload and share documents is via a mobile device, and at time of writing there was support for both iPhone and BlackBerry, with more mobile platforms planned. [Web update: Android supported now too] You can scan documents with the built-in camera and have them automatically converted to PDF and uploaded, browse your files, preview them and even share them with other users while out and about.
Adobe has created additional ways to quickly share documents, including an Adobe AIR-based desktop application which lets you drag and drop files to be uploaded, a Microsoft Outlook plug-in, and even Adobe Reader 9 has a button in the tool bar to allow you to share documents quickly. You can access these additional plug-ins here: http://acrobat.com/downloads.html.
To share a file that is already uploaded, open the preview once again and click the ‘Share’ button at the bottom left of the preview. Acrobat.com will present you with a list of options on how to share the document. To share with individuals, type in their email address and Acrobat.com will send them an email with a link to your document. Other options allow you to control what they can do with the file or allow you to open up access to anyone. When finished, Acrobat.com will show you who you are sharing the document with, if they’ve opened it, and at any time you can add additional users by simply clicking the Share button once more.
After using Acrobat.com for a while, you will start to build up a large collection of files . Use the icons at the top of the file list to sort your files by different properties, or use the Lists and Collections feature on the bottom left of the screen. [Web update: This feature has been replaced with Tags & Workspaces]