E-signature, mobile tools touted in Adobe's new PDF subscription service

Markets Associated Press

Adobe, the company behind the ubiquitous PDF format for documents, is touting electronic-signature and mobile capabilities in a new subscription package aimed at helping individuals and businesses manage their documents.

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Tuesday's announcement of Acrobat DC and Adobe Document Cloud comes as people have more options for creating their own PDF documents. Besides free or cheap software available from third parties, many browsers including Google's Chrome now come with that capability built-in.

Before, people had to buy Adobe's Acrobat software for hundreds of dollars. (The company's Acrobat Reader is free, but can be used only to read PDF documents, not create them.)

Adobe, which is based in San Jose, California, said the new tools go beyond the basic features available elsewhere.

Its e-signature features will, for instance, let parents easily fill out school permission slips. One app lets people photograph a paper form with a mobile device. The app converts that to Adobe's Portable Document Format and lets the user fill out and sign the form electronically. Adobe said small businesses will be able sign contracts without needing to print and mail documents.

New mobile apps will let people create and edit PDF documents on the go, and online storage will be available so people can access the latest versions wherever they are. The desktop app is also getting an update, including e-signature features formerly sold separately as EchoSign.

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The new tools are expected to launch within the next month. Prices are expected to start at about $13 a month. People will be able to buy Acrobat DC for a one-time fee that's expected to start at $299 ($139 for upgrades), but that excludes online storage and some of the mobile features.