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Adobe announces death to paper with new Document Cloud

It seems that no matter how digital we become, we're still shackled to paper. You can do all your business via email, but if you have to sign a contract or fill in an application form, chances are you'll have to print it out, physically sign the thing and then send it through the post. It's time consuming and incredibly wasteful, and today Adobe has made a play to do away with the whole process for good.

Announcing its new Documents Cloud (opens in new tab) service today, Adobe states that it plans to revolutionise the way we work with documents. Based around its next version of Acrobat – Acrobat DC – Document Cloud is Adobe's latest cloud-based service, aimed making the whole business of dealing with documents easier – and less wasteful – for everyone.

Using Acrobat DC you can take existing paper documents and photograph them using your phone or tablet, then using know-how imported from Photoshop it can transform the photo into a scanned image, with corrected perspective and lighting, as well as analysing the text areas and creating dynamic synthesised fonts so you can edit the document while retaining the original's look and feel, and finally save it as a PDF that you can send and track securely.

Acrobat DC lets you simply take a photograph of a rotten old paper document...

Acrobat DC lets you simply take a photograph of a rotten old paper document...

If you're using it to import an application form or contract, once you've filled in all the necessary details (using a smart autofill option for all those details you'd normally have to input over and over again), the other big weapon in Adobe's new document arsenal comes into play.

...and then converts it into a shiny PDF, leaving you free to recycle the original

...and then converts it into a shiny PDF, leaving you free to recycle the original

Its e-sign service lets you sign things electronically; if you're on a tablet or smartphone you can simply scrawl your signature straight onto the screen. Adobe already has widespread support for its e-signature system, and with e-signatures already recognised in 27 countries – including the UK, US and Canada – this could be a crucial step towards the truly paperless office.

Adobe's e-sign system is easy, secure and already has plenty of support

Adobe's e-sign system is easy, secure and already has plenty of support

Acrobat DC's Mobile Link lets you work on documents on any platform, anywhere with an internet connection, and crucially it's not locked to Adobe's cloud services; you can also connect to Microsoft Office 265, and while there's no specific mention of support for the likes of Dropbox or Google Drive, Adobe says that it's building out a set of broader connectors to other cloud services as well. So watch this space.

The whole system enables you to work on rich documents across desktops, tablets and even phones

The whole system enables you to work on rich documents across desktops, tablets and even phones

Document Cloud and Acrobat DC will be available within the next few weeks; for more details, head over to Adobe (opens in new tab).

Words: Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, editor and occasional podcaster, and is available for children's parties.

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