Adobe has noticeably improved the editing tools in the most recent versions of Acrobat Pro and Acrobat Standard. The tools feel more fluid and integrated into the user interface than they did in previous versions; and while they aren’t as intuitive as Microsoft Word’s Track Changes, Acrobat’s text comments, highlight comments, and sticky notes (shown below) actually provide quite a bit more flexibility than Word does.
Plus, Adobe’s subscription-based pricing options have significantly lowered the threshold for accessing the company’s professional programs individually or as a software suite. However, before you wave goodbye to Word, note that Acrobat’s spell-check tool is still quite limited because Adobe assumes that the majority of text-heavy PDF files were originally written and edited in another program.
Currently, Acrobat’s spell-check tool reviews comments, sticky notes, form fields, and editable text boxes (which are technically comments). It doesn’t check content written in another program or created with the Add Text tool. If you want to spell-check regular text, you have to install a third-party script or rely on outside software. (One option is to simultaneously view the document in Acrobat and Word in a split screen.)
I am hopeful that Adobe will eventually provide Acrobat users with comprehensive spell-check capabilities. In the meantime, here are the steps to access the existing spell-check tool in Acrobat XI:
- Select Edit.
- Select Check Spelling.
- Select In Comments, Fields, & Editable Text.
- Select Start in the Check Spelling window.
Erin Wright is a freelance copy editor and writer in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in business documents, marketing material, web copy, technical content, and nonfiction.