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Wednesday, June 25, 2008, 03:30 pm PT (06:30 pm ET)

Adobe ships Acrobat 9, updates CS3 suite

Adobe on Wednedsay made available Acrobat 9, the latest version of its PDF creation and reading software, and also revamped its Creative Suite 3 bundle to include the new Acrobat edition.

As previewed late in May, the new suite is an evolutionary upgrade that makes standard features that were previously left to outside plugins and reworks existing features.

Adobe's biggest offerings are its format and collaboration tools. Version 9 now adds native support for Flash animations embedded into PDF files, a redesigned interface for packaging multiple PDFs now dubbed PDF Portfolios, and a beta online collaboration service at acrobat.com that lets workgroups view and edit PDFs online at the same time.

The refresh also lets owners of differing versions make scanned-in documents searchable, the ability to track when people complete and submit forms, and create geospatial-aware PDF-based maps.

The full Acrobat 9 software is available immediately in a Standard edition for $299 with a $99 upgrade price; a Pro edition at $449 adds the ability to validate PDF files to certain standards, convert files from AutoCAD and other formats to PDF, and embed either Flash or H.264 video clips. It can be purchased as an upgrade for $159.

A definitive Acrobat 9 Pro Extended version at $699 ($229 upgrade) bundles Adobe Presenter, which lets users edit PowerPoint presentations and translate them to PDF, allows more 3D and video conversion formats, and adds the map creation feature.

The unveiling of Acrobat 9 also brings the launch of Creative Suite 3.3, an upgraded version of the audiovisual editing package that now includes Acrobat 9 by default. Photoshop and other programs in the suite are unchanged from their respective versions released last year.