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Adobe releases 'Liquid Mode' to make PDFs more mobile-friendly

Fri 25 Sep 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Adobe has a vision for the digital document, and it goes beyond large desktop or notebook screens to encapsulate other modern ways of working, such as mobile devices.

Adobe has created a new reading experience called ‘Liquid Mode’, which optimises documents for mobile.

The company believes that mobile has always been a tricky medium when it comes to reading documents – in fact, a recent poll of Australians found that 69% find it frustrating, 41% stopped reading or didn’t try. But if documents were easier to read, two thirds of respondents would use mobile more for work.

It is a similar story in other countries such as Japan – 29% have stopped reading or didn’t try to read a document on a mobile device in the last year. Further, 49% will read a maximum of 1-5 pages on a mobile device. Users in Japan feel frustrated about fonts being too small, zooming functionality, and how long it takes documents to load.

Liquid Mode is able to reformat text, images, and tables so that they present better on small screens.

Adobe states that Liquid Mode creates intelligent outlines, collapsible and expandable section, and searchable text. 

“Users can even tailor font size and spacing between words, characters, and lines to suit their specific reading preferences. This is especially useful for those who may see text as too small, squished together, tight, or jumbled. With Liquid Mode, pinching and zooming is no longer necessary. Words are resizable and reflowable, images are tappable and expandable, and tables are responsive.”

The technology behind Liquid Mode belongs to Adobe Sensei’s AI and machine learning capabilities to analyse and identify different parts of a PDF document, such as headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, and other areas.

Adobe believes it is the start of a ‘reimaging’ of how people read and interact with digital documents that don’t work in the traditional A4 page format. Adobe also says this is the first step in its multi-year vision to drive change.

Adobe’s Ashley Still says, “We’ve gone to great lengths to be thoughtful and methodical in addressing the most common reading pain-points, but it is still early days for the technology behind

Liquid Mode. Like all machine learning, the more documents pass through Liquid Mode, the more knowledge it will gain to expand its functionality and improve its reliability.”

Adobe built Liquid Mode for its free Acrobat Reader mobile app for Android, Chromebook and iOS, with expected availability across desktops and browsers soon.

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