By Audrey Ehrhardt, JD, CBC, Founder/CEO Practice42
Are you one of the many people who want to learn how to use Adobe, but just don’t know how? The numerous features that Adobe has makes it very appealing to the customer, but it also makes it a complicated tool to learn quickly. Teaching yourself Adobe without any assistance can be a daunting (see multi-hour) task. The good news? There are a great quantity of resources, support and community forums out there for you to get the most out of Adobe, even from the company itself on the Adobe Support website.
Looking for practice enhancements to add? Adobe offers multiple products; InDesign for design work, PhotoShop for your photos, and Document Cloud (DC) for your workflow, just to name a few. You can license one or multiple products in your office. Specifically in this article, we are discussing getting started and the use of Adobe DC.
Here are our 9 Best Practice Tips to help you gain a better understanding of how to use Adobe and its most versatile tools.
- Take time to learn. Accept the fact that learning how to effortlessly use Adobe will not happen overnight! Any new skill takes practice, and the same is true for using Adobe. It will take several times to learn each tool and master it correctly. Be prepared that the product may update as well, requiring a realignment on your end when that happens.
- Break the learning into pieces. All of the Adobe products have feature after feature after feature, all layered on top of each other. This is excellent news for your office efficiency and productivity but can be a hard learning curve initially. Instead of tackling the whole software at one time, create miniature goals for yourself. Make a list of the key features that drew you to the program and decide which one you want to add each week. Set aside an hour or two each week to work with the software until you are comfortable using it every day.
- Learn the integration from Microsoft Word to Adobe Pro. For professional offices, being able to save a word processing document into a PDF is essential. It is also important to be able to take a document out of PDF format and into a word processing format. Keep in mind, word processing isn’t the only Adobe exporting feature. You can also export to picture files, Excel and other file types you need in your office. To start, make sure both software programs on your computer recognize each other and then try the functionality out.
- Don’t forget security. You may not want to send or use an unsecure PDF. Adobe DC has security functions that allow you to set password, control user access and lock the original PDF. Using the Publishing Sensitive Information feature is a tool you want to become familiar with and then decide how you and your team will use it in your office.
- Learn to create a document ready for e-signature. One of the best features of Adobe DC is the ability to create a document that is ready to sign. After you have exported your document from your word processor into Adobe, you can use Adobe Sign to prepare it for signature. Adobe intuitively fills in the signature boxes for you within the tool.
- Master the Pen Tool. The Pen Tool allows you to create many different designs and graphics but for attorneys you can also use it to write, comment and highlight important parts of an Adobe document. This multi-purpose tool is a good one to learn from the start.
- You can edit PDFs in Adobe as well. (This is a different part of Adobe, it is called Acrobat DC) Through Adobe you can add text boxes, remove language you do not want and edit text within your PDF. This can make your PDFs more useful and comprehensive in your practice.
- Learn to save your documents. One of the most fundamental parts of using Adobe is knowing how to save your documents. After all, you don’t want to spend hours of time just to find out it saved to your computer incorrectly and is unable to be viewed. When saving your document, you need to make sure you save it as the correct file type. For example, you do not want to save a .doc as a .pdf. Make sure you pay attention to these details and train your team.
- Use it anywhere! Gone are the days when you or your employees need to be tethered to a desk. Adobe DC can be used across multiple-devices including tablets and smartphones. Decide how this feature can best support your practice and train your team. When using a tool like this, don’t forget to address device security in your technology procedures manual.
There are so many resources and tutorials out there for beginners using Adobe. If you don’t master something within the first week, keep trying and push yourself, and you will succeed. Remember, at the end of the day, you hold the keys to your own success!
Audrey Ehrhardt, Practice 42 ([email protected])
Audrey Ehrhardt, JD, CBC, is the founder of Practice42, an innovative consulting firm and full suite marketing agency for C-Level Executives, creatives, and lawyers. Audrey has unique experience in building and running successful law practices and corporations nationwide. Her expertise gives her a unique perspective when working with clients of all shapes and sizes. Audrey is a national speaker on topics such as business strategy and processes, marketing with today’s technology, cyber security and the science of team building. Audrey lives in Florida with her husband, son and two dogs.