Introducing the Adobe Acrobat Workspace and Tools

Introducing the Adobe Acrobat Workspace and Tools

To take advantage of all that Adobe Acrobat has to offer, you’ll want to discover the workspace and tools Acrobat uses. Even if you’re a veteran Acrobat user, this is a useful tour because Adobe has made some significant changes to Acrobat’s interface with this most recent version.

The Acrobat workspace, shown in Figure, is divided into three areas: the document window, the toolbar well, and the navigation tabs (palettes). When you open a PDF document using Acrobat, you can use the toolbars, buttons, and tabs called out in Figure to navigate and manipulate the PDF file. For example, Adobe PDF files may contain multiple pages. You can use the buttons at the bottom of the document window to navigate through the document’s pages:

Click To expand
Figure: The Acrobat 6.0 workspace.
  • Current page: You can view the page information area at the bottom of a document to determine exactly how many pages are included in a document. Click in this area, enter a page number, and then press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac) to view a specific page.

  • Previous page/Next page: You can use these navigational buttons to skip forward or backward by one page.

  • First page/Last page: You can click these buttons to jump to the first page or last page of a file.

The Zoom tools

You can change the magnification used for viewing pages with the Zoom toolbar. Using the toolbar, select from a preset magnification by choosing the drop-down list showing magnification percentages, or use the minus (–) and plus (+) symbols on either side of the magnification percent to increase or decrease the zoom level.

Also in the Zoom toolbar is the Zoom In tool (a magnifying glass with a plus sign), which you can use to identify specific portions of a page that you want to magnify. Click and drag around a portion of the page where you want to increase the magnification. You can also click multiple times on an area to increase its magnification, but clicking and dragging a box with the Zoom In tool is generally a much faster way to focus on a portion of a page you want to view. The Zoom In tool can be changed to the Zoom Out tool (magnifying glass with a minus sign) by clicking and holding down on the tool, and then selecting the Zoom Out tool. The Zoom Out tool can be used to reduce the magnification of a page, but it is usually faster to choose a preset zoom percentage.

Adjacent to the Zoom tools are three page icons that you can use to change the page magnification to some commonly used magnifications:

  • Actual Size: Use this button to quickly change the magnification to 100 percent.

  • Fit Page: Use this to fit the current page within the available screen space on your monitor. For smaller documents, such as a business card, the magnification is increased. For larger documents, the magnification is decreased.

  • Fit Width: Use this button to avoid scrolling from left to right when reading a document. The view is changed to fit the document’s width in the available space, making it necessary to only scroll up and down on a page.

Acrobat also includes two more advanced tools for navigation in the Zoom toolbar, the Loupe tool and the Pan & Zoom window accessed by clicking and holding down the arrow to the right of the Zoom tool:

  • Loupe tool: With the Loupe tool, you can click an area of the page that you want to magnify. The Loupe Tool window appears (see Figure), showing a portion of the page at an increased magnification. In the Loupe Tool window, you can increase or decrease the magnification by adjusting the slider left or right. You can change the area of the page being magnified by clicking a different portion of the page while the Loupe tool is selected.

    Click To expand
    Figure: The Loupe Tool window.

  • Pan & Zoom window: Using the Pan & Zoom window (see Figure), you can have a second view of the page you’re presently viewing. You can use the Pan & Zoom window to navigate within a specific page without scrolling. For example, if you have a detailed technical drawing, you can increase your magnification considerably. Then use the Pan & Zoom window to move around the page to view different portions of the document.

Click To expand
Figure: The Pan & Zoom window.


Acrobat 6.0 makes many of its functions immediately accessible within a series of 12 toolbars. You can use these toolbars to perform many of the same tasks that would typically require choosing an item from a menu. For example, you can search a PDF file by clicking a button on a toolbar instead of choosing Edit®Search. Only half of the toolbars are visible when you initially start Acrobat. You can add to the toolbars by choosing View®Toolbars and then choosing the toolbars that you want to display, as shown in Figure. Similarly, you can remove toolbars that are currently visible by choosing View®Toolbars and clicking those you want removed. Toolbars that have a check mark next to their names are currently visible, while those with no check mark are not visible.

Click To expand
Figure: Acrobat offers many toolbars that you can choose from.

To make Acrobat meet your needs, you may want to customize the location of toolbars on your screen. Along the left edge of any toolbar is a serrated edge (refer to Figure). By clicking and holding onto this edge with your mouse, you can drag a toolbar to a new location on your screen. This new location can be within the same area holding the other toolbars, known as the docking area, or you can pull the toolbar anywhere in the Acrobat work area. If you pull a toolbar out of the docking area, it becomes its own independent floating toolbar. You can continue to reposition the toolbar or drag it back into the docking area when you’ve finished using it. You can also close a toolbar by clicking its Close Window button.


While the flexibility of placing toolbars anywhere you like is useful, it may lead to a chaotic work environment. Rather than leaving toolbars all over your screen, you can have Acrobat clean up the workspace by choosing View®Toolbars®Reset Toolbars.

Some toolbars contain tools, which you can click to select to perform certain tasks. For example, you choose the Zoom In tool to increase your magnification. But other toolbars contain buttons. When you click these buttons, Acrobat performs a certain task, such as printing, saving, or applying security to a PDF document. In general, most of the task buttons are on the top row of the docking area, immediately below the menu bar, and most of the tools are on the bottom row (but you can move these toolbars). Some of the tools and task buttons also include additional options that are accessed through drop-down lists within the toolbars. For example, the Zoom In tool can be switched to the Zoom Out tool by clicking and holding on the tool to view the other available choices.


Tools and buttons that contain additional choices are noted by the small triangle immediately to their right.

Viewing Modes

Acrobat also provides four viewing modes that control how the entire document is displayed. You can choose which viewing mode is used by clicking the appropriate icon in the lower-right corner of the document window (refer to Figure). The viewing modes are

  • Single Page: This displays only the current document page on-screen, and does not show any adjoining pages. Even at reduced magnifications, all other document pages remain hidden. When you scroll to the top or bottom of the current page, other pages are not visible at the same time as the current page.

  • Continuous: With this option, you can see the current document page, and if you scroll to the top (or bottom) of the current page, the adjoining page is also visible. If you reduce your page viewing magnification, all of the document pages are visible.

  • Continuous-facing: If you have a document with many pages containing text or pictures on their adjoining pages, you can use this option to scroll from one pair of visible pages to the next. Unlike the Continuous option, when you have the Continuous-facing view selected, you can see adjoining page spreads when you scroll or reduce the page magnification.

  • Facing: Use this option to see pages as a spread, where you can view both the left and right side of adjoining pages at the same time. When you have documents with pictures or text that spans across a pair of pages, use this option to see the pages presented side-by-side in Acrobat. As with the Single Page mode, other pages that go before or fall after the spread are not visible — only the one pair of pages is visible on-screen, regardless of the magnification or scrolling.

Navigation tabs

Acrobat offers a variety of tabs that are helpful when navigating through PDF documents. The term tab might be a bit misleading because similar options are called palettes in all the other Adobe Creative Suite programs. Regardless of the name, however, you’ll use these to more easily get around PDF files. Later in this minibook, we show you how to add items to these tabs, such as bookmarks, which make your documents even easier for your readers to navigate.

The navigation tabs are visible along the left side of your document window (refer to Figure). You can click the name of a tab to make it visible. For example, you can click the Pages tab (also called the Pages palette) to make visible thumbnails of each page; click a thumbnail to go to that page. You can also choose View®Navigation Tabs®Pages to access this tab. All of the other navigation tabs are also available under the View®Navigation Tabs submenu. As with the toolbars, you can see which tabs are presently visible by the check mark adjacent to the tab’s name in this submenu.

While many of the tabs have more advanced uses that we cover in later chapters of this minibook, here we provide you with a brief understanding of how you can use the Pages tab to more easily navigate through a PDF document. Just do this:

  1. Make sure that the Pages palette is visible by clicking its tab.

  2. Click any page thumbnail to navigate directly to that page.

    A dark border appears around the selected page.

    In the lower-right corner of the page is a small red box — a very small red box. Depending on your present zoom level, you might already see the red bounding area representing the present view of the active page.

  3. Drag this red box up and toward the left (in a diagonal movement) to focus the magnification on a smaller portion of the page, as shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Drag the red box up in a diagonal movement to zoom in on the active page.

  4. When you’re zoomed in on a page, click the page thumbnail on the spot that you want to see to change the area of the page shown in the document window.

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