What is an Acrobat Plug-in?

Adobe Acrobat plugin

What is an Acrobat Plug-in?

Acrobat plug-ins are software components that extend the functionality of Adobe Acrobat, a popular program for viewing, creating, and editing PDF documents. Plug-ins can add new features to Acrobat, such as the ability to create interactive forms, add watermarks, or perform advanced document processing tasks. Some plug-ins are developed by Adobe, while others are created by third parties. These plug-ins can be installed within the Acrobat application and are typically activated when a particular action or task is performed within the software.

Why do we need plug-ins?

To make Adobe Acrobat more flexible and applicable to a broader range of industries and organizations, the number of built-in features must be restricted to the wider community. This is because adding features that serve only a small portion of Acrobat's user base would unnecessarily increase the application's size. Consequently, plug-ins are required to add functionality as required by the user.

Can Acrobat plug-ins be used in the Adobe Reader?

Special support needs to be added to the plug-in so that it can run under Adobe Reader. However the Reader plug-in will require a special license and needs to go through an approval process with Adobe Systems Inc. - https://www.adobe.com/devnet/reader/ikla.html.

Are plug-ins specific to a particular version of Adobe Acrobat?

We have plug-ins that we developed for Acrobat 6 that still run without modification in Acrobat DC. However, if new features are used that are specific to a later version then it won't work under later versions. If earlier versions used the Adobe Dialog Manager (ADM) then they won't now work in current versions of Acrobat.

Examples of Plug-ins

  • New security handlers that might be specific to a particular organisation. For example, we have developed security handlers that do not allow PDF files to be viewed outside a particular organisations offices. 
  • New annotations types. For example, we created a plug-in that supported all of the British Standard Markups.
  • Flattening annotations and form fields into the main document. This ensured that they could not be changed or modified and that they would print as part of the document even if the printing of annotations was switched off.
  • Adding text and images to PDF files.
  • Creating a table of Contents for PDF files
  • Adding fields for variable data printing
  • Hardware integration of Adobe Acrobat into whiteboards and interactive tables
  • Automation of the creation of bookmarks.

Contact Info:

Michael Peters


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