Monday , October 26 2020

Adobe is making it less of a nightmare to read PDFs on your phone

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Gadgets for humans

Hell yeah

There are lots of things I hated about my university experience, but having to occasionally browse PDF files straight from my phone is certainly up there. Fortunately, though, future generations won’t have to endure the same dreadful experience.

Adobe is rolling out a new AI-powered feature in Adobe Reader that’ll make PDF files a lot more readable and responsive on Android and iOS devices. Dubbed Liquid Mode, the new functionality leverages Adobe’s AI framework, Sensei, to make PDFs fit your screen without having to constantly pinch and zoom.

Okay, here’s how it’ll work. When you open a PDF in Reader, Sensei will scan the file and identify parts like headings, paragraphs, images, and tables. It’ll then reformat the PDF to make it more dynamic and customizable.

“Liquid mode creates an intelligent outline, collapsible and expandable sections, and searchable text for quick navigation,” wrote Ashley Still, senior vice president of Digital Media at Adobe. “Users can even tailor font size and spacing between words, characters, and lines to suit their specific reading preferences.”

The cool bit? All changes are non-destructive, meaning the original PDF file will remain the same even after viewing.

It’s worth noting the feature is still in its early stages, so it won’t work on each PDF. Whenever you open a PDF, Sensei will scan the file and light up the Liquid Mode button at the top if the file is suitable for reformatting.

“The more documents pass through Liquid Mode, the more knowledge it will gain to expand its functionality and improve its reliability,” Still adds.

For now, Liquid Mode is exclusively available for mobile, but the company plans to expand it to desktop in the future. It’s also boasting about its vision to further boost Reader with AI capabilities that’ll make it possible to scan PDFs and break their contents down into actionable summaries. The the timeline for this isn’t clear, though.

While EPUB (an ebook format that already comes with responsive design features) enthusiasts must be rolling their eyes right now, making PDFs more readable is a change that many will happily welcome, especially considering the popularity of the format.

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Published September 24, 2020 — 10:39 UTC

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