Sep 23, 2020 - Technology

Adobe reinvents PDF to work better on phones

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Adobe PDFs on mobile

Courtesy: Adobe

Adobe has added a new "Liquid PDF" feature to the iOS and Android versions of Acrobat Reader that makes documents more readable on mobile devices.

How it works: The feature taps artificial intelligence to analyze PDF documents, identifying headers, text and images.

Why it matters: PDF became the dominant format for reproducing paper documents in digital form 20 years ago, but when people open PDFs on a smartphone they often get frustrated and stop engaging with the document.

  • "We see a lot of abandonment on mobile," Adobe's Ashley Still said in an interview.

Yes, but: There are some limitations. At least for now, Liquid Mode won't work on scanned documents (which appear as one big image), nor does it work with some alphabets, such as Japanese.

By the numbers: Adobe is seeing strong growth in its Acrobat PDF business amid the pandemic, especially for viewing and signing digital documents.

  • Monthly active Acrobat users have more than doubled since the end of last year.
  • Adobe has seen a 253% increase in Adobe Scan installs since the end of last year.
  • The company generated $375 million in revenue from its Document Cloud business, up 22% from last year.

What's next: Adobe plans to bring Liquid PDF to the desktop and web versions of Acrobat as well.

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