UPDATE 2019-01-10: Checkboxes were reintroduced in the December 2018 update of Adobe Acrobat. More information can be found here, but I will keep this article visible for the sake of posterity.
At the beginning of October 2018, Adobe released its updates for Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader DC. For those users who have the “Automatically install updates” checkbox checked in the Acrobat preferences, the update was installed without prompting.
Unfortunately, as part of this update, the Acrobat team removed a checkbox that is visible in the commenting panel when a comment is selected, as shown in the following image:
By checking the checkbox on or off, it allows the comments to be filtered as checked or unchecked – quite handy when checking mark-ups that can’t be imported directly into InDesign’s new PDF comment import feature.
Strangely, while the checkbox was removed, it is still possible to mark a comment as checked, but this is done by right-clicking on the “Add checkmark” option of the contextual menu.
Thinking this must be a bug, I went onto the Adobe Acrobat forums to see what was going on, only to be astonished that this was not a bug, but an intentional change:
However, I completely disagree with the terms “clean and intuitive to use” and would substitute the terms “ludicrous and mind-boggling“. The idea of a checkmark is to either check it or uncheck it. If it is not possible to check the checkmark because it is not there, to me that is not intuitive, that is frustrating.
In my mind, this user interface change is the equivalent of removing the right indicator signal on a car, and activating the right indicator required changing the radio station twice.
Once I knew the workaround of using the contextual menu to click on the checkbox, I was still frustrated as this triples the amount of work to perform the same task. Instead of a one-step procedure of clicking a check box, the procedure now involves three steps:
- right click,
- scroll down,
- click the Add checkmark option.
This is fine if checking one item as marked, but if checking dozens – if not hundreds of these items – one at a time, that is an inconsiderate inconvenience.
Knowing the keyboard shortcut (Shift + K) is another workaround, but again this requires clicking on the comment(s) and then putting both hands on the keyboard to activate the shortcut.
For long-time readers of the Colecandoo blog, this may come as a sense of déjà vu, and that is because two years ago, a similar problem occurred.
Unlike the previous situation, I happened to be attending Adobe MAX 2018 in Los Angeles when the change had occurred, so was able to pass this feedback directly to the Senior Product Manager of Document Cloud. I took a selfie to prove that we in fact met while at MAX:
To be fair on the Acrobat team, they have changed their stance and now listed the Uservoice issue as a planned one:
However, despite going straight to the top about this issue, and having over 200 complaints to the Acrobat Uservoice page at the time of writing this article, the issue is STILL here.
In short, this is an important issue that many regular Acrobat users would like to see implemented now as a patch, rather than as a roll-back of the feature for the next scheduled release of Acrobat DC. I know the Acrobat team never intends to frustrate users, but keeping users waiting for this change back to be implemented is exacerbating the issue, especially when it was made clear through the Acrobat Uservoice that the change was unpopular.
My last comment on the matter is to those who design the UI/UX for Acrobat. When considering improvements for the software, please ask the users of the software what they would like implemented, and leave features alone if they are already there!
[…] on from my last post (or rant) about the removal of the checkbox in Adobe Acrobat’s commenting tools, I can report […]
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