Ditch the 2023 User Interface in Acrobat
There are so many shortcomings and problems with the new 2023 GUI interface. Here are just a few:
Swapping left and right-hand panels for no reason. This does not improve anything for users. It just forces users to change everything about how they work in Acrobat every workday.
Functions are indicated by random icons. In the 90s, we learned that icons in software and websites don't work across different populations. Users have a difficult time figuring out what the heck they mean. Give text labels.
The left panel is permanently positioned on the screen and obscures part of the document below. Seriously Adobe, WTF.
The entire menu/panel system can't be customized, moved, or docked. Another WTF.
Hamburger menus (those obscure 3 horizontal lines) are used on mobile interfaces to collapse menus. They are totally unnecessary and inappropriate on desktop interfaces — where working people spend most of their time working. Give people real menus with real names. "Menu" is not accurate, either. What is the name of the other menu to the right? Menu 2? Cheeseburger Menu?
The new interface is inaccessible for those with disabilities who use assistive technologies, especially screen reader users. Adobe has seriously violated its VPAT with governments and corporations worldwide who are required by law to provide accessible work environments and tools.
Grey on Grey is not an accessible color scheme. Can't tell if some icons are active or disabled. Those with low vision can't discern the icons.
Digital signatures, Document Cloud (where Adobe stores your files by default), subscriptions, OCR, file creation, file combining, and accessibility all have reported major problems for the past few years...but rather than fix these critical problems, money was instead spent on rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.
As long-time PDF consultants, my firm has found that the majority of customers are professionals who use Acrobat for their jobs. These are not "casual" users working on their smartphones. They are using desktops/laptops with full screens, not mobile devices to do their jobs. And they work with PDFs a lot.
They have developed actions and scripts to automate processes on dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of PDF files every day. These industries include print, prepress, graphic design, accessibility & remediation, accessible forms, variable forms, variable printing, data validation, financial institutions (think of all those bank statements every month!), health care, investment and finance, and manufacturing.
Dramatic GUI changes like 2023's completely change how these automated processes work...if they still work at all.
The cost to these industries to correct the now-broken processes — brought on by Adobe's whimsical, untested design idea — is appalling. If I was a major corporation hit by this unnecessary expense, I'd ban Adobe products from my company and look for another PDF vendor.
There are now many reputable competitors to Adobe Acrobat: See:
Calling this Acrobat's "Modern Viewer" is a form of gaslighting Adobe customers. It's not modern at all — 30 years ago, using icons failed in software and web interfaces, and it's failing again with Acrobat 2023. Sometimes retro isn't good, especially retro user interfaces. Please don't attempt to bring back disco, old-fashioned 20 inch TVs, polyester suits, rotary phones and VHS tapes as being "Modern," too.
Ditch this "Modern Viewer" and instead give us a working tool to get our jobs done.
Revert the interface back to what it was.
Fix Acrobat's bugs. There are so many!
And improve the accessibility for those with disabilities (who can't get to the Comments panel, Bookmarks panel, understand what and how much is redacted, make edits or change the content, scale/enlarge the interface, nor sign a PDF).
For those still reading this, users can revert to the old interface for now (August 2023).
— Windows: Hamburger Menu / Disable New Acrobat
— Mac: View Menu / Disable New Acrobat
I have no idea who long Adobe is going to let us revert to the "real" interface.
I really dislike the new layout - I can't find things and the userbility is severely impacted. It is also so glitchy! No one in our office thinks it is an improvement.
K Z commented
the update to adobe acrobat pro is extremely problematic. why am i paying for a service that just made itself unusable to me?
Web Trans commented
If you have no Idea of GUI/UX - oh and the whole planet have no real good idea - why do you not first research in it BEFORE you make a change?
I had to search for 30 minutes to get back to the toolbar to change the view to only one page instead of 2 page view!
Is that what you think about User-performance and usability? From YOU ADOBE ???
and if you are at GUI why nota fluent one? Why nota one with F-Key to drop-down or drop-away ?
Or a circular human approach ?
You see, you have no answers to those simple questions, because you have no standards set through research!
So so not waste time wasting other peoples and your time and the programmers time!
INVEST IN RESEARCH AND AS ADOBE YOU CAN IMPLEMENT A STANDARD!
and then force it on people!
Else it is and was a time and money waster!
Neil Kirklees commented
I struggled with it for a few weeks before giving up and reverting to the old layout. I've been using software for decades and am very comfortable with change, but this was just shockingly bad.
MAKE IT GO AWAY! This new interface makes all of the mistakes that Apple has made in recent years - it's very clean, so clean that you can't easily reach the common things you want, and the contrast is so low one can hardly pick out the nonsensical tiny pictures from the background. It might look 'good' for some values of that word, but it's not very useful and has a huge annoyance value.
I was trying to read a reference document and got lost trying to find things in the new interface. Then, I couldn't put them back where they've been forever, where I was accustomed to them and where they worked well for me. In less than 3 minutes I was ready to throw a very expensive laptop across the room. If I were compelled to use this product with this interface for a job, I would quit. Can't pay me enough to deal with this ****.
More directly: This is AWFUL! An ABOMINATION, even!
Jack Stafford commented
Some of the Problems:
1. You Cannot remove the 1st 6 with flyout/dropdown menus from the customized Toolbar?
Last Adobe version, you could create a totally customized Toolbar with ONLY the commands you want.
2. The floating Toolbar Hides the document in the background! Why can you not "Doc" the Toolbar like previous version??
3. Only want "single" commands in customized toolbar like previous version. (so you mouse click only once for a command, not 2 times for a flyout/ drop down menu!
4. If my customized comands are more than 6, you have to click on the "3 dots" to get to them causing 2 more mouse clicks!
Bastian Saris commented
I was so glad I found out how to deactivate this abomination of an Interface.
NONE of the Tasks I had to do worked intuitively or even after trying to figure out a way to do it with the new Interface.
Also - Don't just change the interface on me from one file to another - You made me seriously rage and almost throw something across the room.
Big no from me. :/
Philip Taylor commented
Mags, if you have control over the application that is generating the PDF (or if you can edit the latter at a low level) you may want to try setting /UserUnit (in the page object) to an integer larger than 1 (the default). Following text from PDF specification section 18.104.22.168. —
(Optional; PDF 1.6) A positive number that shall give the size of default user space units, in multiples of 1/72 inch. The range of supported values shall be implementation-dependent. Default value: 1.0 (user space unit is 1/72 inch).
My biggest issue with Acrobat, even after I disabled the new version is that I can’t view HR PDFs for display banners at 100% – or even 50%! This has only been a problem since the latest update. Please fix this Adobe - we pay enough to use your programmes.
The latest update is a nightmare. Get this toolbar out of the way so I can do my work. Sluggish performance as well. Please restore the old interface.
Denny Esford commented
I am a lawyer--more specifically a solo litigator. I read pdfs. I combine or separate pdf files and individual pages. I scan, Bates stamp, redact and produce documents to opposing counsel. That is it. Every. Single. Day. I opened my own litigation practice in 2013. If the selection to use the old interface goes away, so will my subscription if there is ANY other option to do the same thing in the same simplistic way.
Mike McKee commented
I’ll add that it’s impossible to use the text editing tools and functionality of what was in the previous version has drastically decreased and frustration has increased and NOT because it’s different. It’s a poor design.
Liz Gee commented
Couldn't agree more with all that is said above.
Madalyn Pettenati commented
As someone whose company, with each team member, uses Adobe every single day of work, we are all already fed up with the new interface/mode that came with an update and have all already "disabled" this terrible option and reverted to what we had before/originally. Not enough time in the day to wrestle with a program that is supposed to make our lives and jobs easier.
David Peters commented
𝖶𝗁𝗒 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖿𝗎𝖼𝗄𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗁𝖾𝗅𝗅 𝗂𝗌 𝗒𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝖿𝗂𝗅𝗍𝗁𝗒 𝗌𝖼𝗎𝗆 𝗌𝗈𝖿𝗍𝗐𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝗌𝗈 𝗎𝗍𝗍𝖾𝗋𝗅𝗒 𝗎𝗇𝗎𝗌𝖺𝖻𝗅𝗒 𝗌𝗅𝗈𝗐, 𝖺𝗌 𝗌𝗈𝗈𝗇 𝖺𝗌 𝖺 𝖯𝖣𝖥 𝖼𝗈𝗇𝗍𝖺𝗂𝗇𝗌 𝗆𝗈𝗋𝖾 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗇 𝖺 𝖿𝖾𝗐 𝖽𝗈𝗓𝖾𝗇 𝖼𝗈𝗆𝗆𝖾𝗇𝗍 𝗈𝖻𝗃𝖾𝖼𝗍𝗌?
𝖠𝖽𝗈𝖻𝖾 𝖠𝖼𝗋𝗈𝖻𝖺𝗍 𝗁𝖺𝗌 𝖻𝖾𝖼𝗈𝗆𝖾 𝗌𝗈 𝖿𝗎𝖼𝗄𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖻𝗋𝗈𝗄𝖾𝗇, 𝗂𝗍'𝗌 𝗅𝗂𝗀𝗁𝗍 𝗒𝖾𝖺𝗋𝗌 𝖻𝖾𝗒𝗈𝗇𝖽 𝗍𝗈𝗅𝖾𝗋𝖺𝖻𝗅𝖾. 𝖨 𝗐𝗈𝗎𝗅𝖽𝗇'𝗍 𝗀𝗂𝗏𝖾 𝖺 𝗌𝗁𝗂𝗍 𝖻𝖾𝖼𝖺𝗎𝗌𝖾 𝖨 𝗁𝖺𝗏𝖾𝗇'𝗍 𝗐𝗈𝗋𝗄𝖾𝖽 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗒𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝖿𝗎𝖼𝗄𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗉𝗂𝖾𝖼𝖾 𝗈𝖿 𝗀𝖺𝗋𝖻𝖺𝗀𝖾 𝗌𝗈𝖿𝗍𝗐𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝖼𝗋𝖺𝗉 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝗒𝖾𝖺𝗋𝗌 𝖺𝗇𝗒𝗐𝖺𝗒.
𝖡𝗎𝗍 𝗎𝗇𝖿𝗈𝗋𝗍𝗎𝗇𝖺𝗍𝖾𝗅𝗒 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗆𝖺𝗃𝗈𝗋𝗂𝗍𝗒 𝗈𝖿 𝗆𝗒 𝗍𝖺𝗋𝗀𝖾𝗍 𝗀𝗋𝗈𝗎𝗉 𝗌𝗍𝗂𝗅𝗅 𝗁𝖺𝗌 𝗒𝗈𝗎𝗋 𝖿𝗂𝗅𝗍𝗁𝗒 𝗌𝗁𝗂𝗍𝖾 𝗌𝗈𝖿𝗍𝗐𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝗂𝗇𝗌𝗍𝖺𝗅𝗅𝖾𝖽, 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖺𝗌 𝖺 𝗋𝖾𝗌𝗎𝗅𝗍 𝖿𝖺𝖼𝗍𝗎𝖺𝗅𝗅𝗒 𝖼𝖺𝗇'𝗍 𝗏𝗂𝖾𝗐 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖽𝗈𝖼𝗎𝗆𝖾𝗇𝗍𝗌 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗍 𝖨 𝗉𝗋𝗈𝖽𝗎𝖼𝖾.
𝖩𝗎𝗌𝗍 𝖿𝗂𝗋𝖾 𝖾𝗏𝖾𝗋𝗒 𝗌𝗂𝗇𝗀𝗅𝖾 𝗈𝗇𝖾 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖿𝗎𝖼𝗄𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗌 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖽𝗈𝗎𝖼𝗁𝖾𝖻𝖺𝗀𝗌 𝗒𝗈𝗎'𝗏𝖾 𝗁𝗂𝗋𝖾𝖽 𝗈𝗏𝖾𝗋 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗅𝖺𝗌𝗍 𝖿𝗂𝗏𝖾 𝗒𝖾𝖺𝗋𝗌 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗉𝗎𝗍 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗈𝗅𝖽 𝗍𝖾𝖺𝗆 𝖻𝖺𝖼𝗄 𝗂𝗇 𝖼𝗁𝖺𝗋𝗀𝖾 𝖿𝗈𝗋 𝗀𝗈𝖽𝗌 𝗌𝖺𝗄𝖾.
Kenneth J. O'Connor commented
The worst sentence in the English language:
"I'm from IT and I have updated and improve the program." Which means I have taken away you have been working with to take away the features you like and use and put in things we like and need to put in to justify our existence.
Thank goodness for the disable new Acrobat.
David Cottrell commented
I completely agree with Bevi Chagnon's assessment of the new interface. It is so much harder to navigate than the original one, please keep the original version available inperpetuity. Thank you.
Tamás Bálint commented
THIS! : GSK77 - Agree - ditch the new (or make it optional to those who just need to change for change's sake). Too many years invested and the "new", while I have used it (until today), doesn't seem to bring any real functional advantage. It is just "NEW". Not improved, not modern, and not welcome.
Rich Tamayo commented
New interphase is terrible. Editing pdf is useless. Inserting link(s) is horrendous. Please just spend the time and energy fixing old buggy use instead.
My cynical guess is that since Adobe is now selling on subscription model, which means constantly charging you on a monthly basis, rather than sell Acrobat outright, it wants to show you that it's actually doing something to justify taking more money than it did before. So making inconsequential changes logs on their "what we did for you last year to deserve your payment" sheet. What if the changes are not inconsequential but actually detrimental to user experience? That's even better so they can roll out another update to improve your user experience, and only if 1% of users who stayed with the new UI just because they did care was a proof of their innovation.