Hazardous cleanup

Six-frame cartoon. Frame 1: Bespectacled editor and curly-haired editor are each holding a litter picker and a trash bag. The littler pickers have cursors at their tips. The editors are sweeping rolling hills of text, picking up stray commas and misplaced apostrophes. Frame 2: Bespectacled editor notices a "thorough" that should be "through" and reaches with her litter picker to pick up the O. Frame 3: As she does, the cursor at the tip turns into a hand. Curly-haired editor yells, "Look out!" Frame 5: All we see is a flash of light. Frame 6: The editors find themselves in a jagged, windswept valley. Bespectacled editor says, "Dammit—that was a link!"
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(See the mouseover text if you’re in this situation in a PDF and aren’t aware of the quick way to get back.)

A rant might not be the most auspicious way to start a new year, but the 2023 Acrobat interface change has effectively doubled the time it takes me to input my proofing markup, and I want to talk about it, dammit. The changes started rolling out in March 2023 but didn’t affect me till the fall.

I was debating whether my old brain is now just inflexible to change but have concluded that, no, Adobe has, in fact, created a worse user experience for those of us who use Acrobat as professional proofreaders.

If you’re not already familiar with the changes to Acrobat (including Acrobat Reader), check out Adrienne Montgomerie’s orientation video for a summary. (And see their PDF Markup Basics demo for an excellent primer on how proofreaders tend to use Acrobat’s tools.)

Some proofreaders might have a different workflow from mine—especially if they use stamps to mark up. My clients have expected me to use the built-in annotation and commenting tools, and in the new interface I’ve come across several points of friction that have contributed to my frustration. Continue reading “Hazardous cleanup”