As I've written about in the past, in addition to being a freelance technology journalist, I'm also a freelance technical writer. I've got a new client and last week I handed in my first deliverable. To simplify the editing cycle (or so I hoped), I decided to use the Acrobat Review and Comment feature, which enables me to send the comments to all the reviewers in one step, then merge the comments into a single master PDF upon return.
Recipients mark up the PDF inside the free Adobe Reader using the Acrobat markup tools. The secret here is that the markup tools only appear in the Reader when activated as part of this type of editing cycle. Otherwise these tools are hidden.
In order to implement this type of editing cycle, you have to own the full version of Acrobat (not just the free Reader). I'm using Adobe Acrobat 8 3D that came with the Adobe Technical Communication Suite, but other versions of Acrobat support this feature.
I selected the Review and Comment Feature from the Getting Started with Acrobat Home page and followed the wizard instructions to activate the Adobe Reader markup tools for any recipients. I then entered the email addresses of each reviewer and customized the instruction letter Acrobat generates as part of the process.
Today, after receiving my comments back, I opened up each one. As I opened the reviewer comments, Acrobat knew this was part of a review and comment process and prompted me to merge the comments into my original PDF. I repeated this process for each reviewer and it worked like a charm and I now have all the comments from my reviewers conveniently in a single PDF.
My only issue is that Adobe uses the same file name regardless of the reviewer, so you can't save all the reviewer comments in a folder without renaming them (otherwise the next one simply overwrites the existing one). Might be nice if there was a way to append the file name with the reviewer initials, but overall I'm very pleased with the results and it's a huge time saver not having to check against multiple documents when implementing the reviewer comments.