Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Editing Actions, part of Acrobat X Essential Training.
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A great way to figure out more about an Action is to look at how it was put together, look at its anatomy and then from there, you can get ideas for your own Actions, or maybe you can figure out how to tweak or edit that Action to better suit what you need. Let's start by looking at one of these built-in Actions. First, let's run the Prepare for Web Publishing Action. This is the same Action I ran in the previous video, but maybe we're jumping in at this point. I am just going to click Prepare for Web Publishing, and it opens up this little dialog that tells us what it's going to do. I'll click Next.
It asks me which hidden information to remove. Next, it asks me which version of Acrobat to make it compatible with when it reduces the file size. Next, it does some sort of preflight at the bottom, but it didn't give me a dialog box, and then it asks me where to Save the file. So that's just a little review of how this is built. Now my question might be, why did it ask me for input on two of the steps and not for the third? I thought that was a little interesting. So let's take a look.
The best way to access the innards of one of these default Actions, or even one that you have imported yourself, is to choose Edit Actions, and it lists all of the existing Actions. So we want to look at Prepare for Web Publishing. It won't let you edit one of the default Actions, but you can create a copy of it and then edit the copy. So here we are. It's showing us--the top part is what file do you start with, and the choice that the person made who created this action was a file that's currently open in Acrobat.
But other choices that you can make would be when the action is started, a file on your computer or folder, a scanned document, and then you can automatically choose a preset, or the Combined Files into Single PDF dialog box. And in here are the steps, Remove Hidden Information, Reduce File Size, and Preflight. Where do these steps come from? They came from the panel on the left. So you can see the different categories are here. We're going to go over these in more detail in a different video, when we talk about creating your own Action from scratch.
But this is where the steps were pulled from. These are all of the choices that you have available to you to include in your Action. But take a close look at Options and Prompt user. So in Options, if you click that, you'll see it's where you configure the task. So this is where you as the Action developer can choose which Options to turn on and which Options to turn off. Now, if you want to give your user a chance to review what you chose, then you can turn on Prompt User. And that's why we were able to see a dialog box for Remove Hidden Information and Reduce File Size, but Preflight, we didn't.
There's no check mark next to Prompt User. If you want to be able to choose which Preflight is used in this action, then you would turn that on. But it's turned off. We'll leave it off. Let's look at what Preflight we actually ran, and it was this one: Convert to RGB. Nothing else was checked, which makes sense if you want to convert a PDF for the web that you want to convert the color to sRGB, which is the color model for most monitors. I am going to click Cancel out of there.
Then there is a button to Add Instruction Step. There are no instruction steps in this one, but some of the other automated actions do. And whenever you see a little pop-up in the middle of running an Action that gives you some information, that's because somebody added the instruction step. And finally, the last part of every Action, which is what to do with the file when it's done, is right here. So it says, Ask When Action is Started or The Same Folder Selected at the Start-- it would automatically save it to that folder--or Don't Save Changes--it would just leave it up onscreen, and so on.
If you're allowed to overwrite existing files, then that's turned on; otherwise the user is never allowed to overwrite an existing file. So those were the parts of an Action, and now all we need to do is create our own.
- Creating PDFs from web pages, Office files, and Creative Suite files
- Signing PDFs with a digital signature
- Creating interactive forms
- Annotating PDFs with comments
- Collaborating with others using PDF reviews
- Making scanned documents searchable with OCR
- Preparing documents for print with print production tools
- Automating routine tasks with Actions
- Securing PDFs with encryption and password-protection
- Removing sensitive content with the Redaction feature
- Sharing PDFs
- Using the new features in Reader X and Acrobat.com