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Tolerating Microsoft Word & Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

I'm currently studying to earn my certifications as a copyeditor and proofreader, and as part of that process I've had to get reacquainted with both Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader DC1, which are both standard tools of the trade.

Of the two, I have more experience with Word, although my usage has been fairly light over the last few years. It's not the tool I'd reach for when I'm doing my own writing, but it does a decent job as a way to organise and layout text. Its biggest issues, for me, are the occasional unpredictability of its document formats2 and the sheer density of its user interface3.

Having said that, I cannot deny that its Tracked Changes system is excellent, and if used judiciously4 can be very effective at showing where corrections were made.

By comparison, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is what I can only describe as a 'franken-app'. It's neither a Windows app nor a Mac app, but a mutant from whatever pocket dimension Adobe's developers reside in. And after using it a bit, I'm convinced that its primary purpose is to entice you to sign up to their Document Cloud service (the DC in the app's name). But its Commenting tools are fairly comprehensive, so for those jobs where copy text is supplied as PDF documents it's the best too for the job5.

  1. Good grief, that's a mouthful!
  2. I've had documents open with altered layouts due to missing fonts, and sometimes formatting changing as I copy text!
  3. The Ribbon merely hides the true scale of the horror, in my experience.
  4. By 'judiciously', I mean not just letting the Spelling & Grammar Checker run rampant.
  5. Sadly, the tools in Preview on the Mac don't even come close.
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