Gee, thanks Adobe

February 7, 2011

So what’s wrong with this scenario?

I’m a professional technical writer and editor. Among my regularly used tools of the trade are Microsoft Word (2003, 2007 and now 2010) and Adobe Acrobat Professional 9. I have paid hundreds of dollars for the full version of Acrobat Professional since about v4, instead of using the cheap/free versions out there.

About three years ago I purchased a new laptop. It runs Vista 64-bit and so far I’ve had no problems with it for any of the software I use. Until today.

A couple of months back I installed Office 2010 on this laptop as a test environment, and when I was checking out a whole lot of new stuff in Word 2010 and comparing it to Word 2007, I noticed that my Acrobat tab was missing from Word 2010. No problem, thought I — I’ve written a blog post on getting it back.

So I read my own blog post, and clicked the link for the Word 2007 solution options provided by Adobe’s knowledge base. And in there I find this gem:

Note: The PDFMaker is designed to run in 32-bit versions of Microsoft Office [2010] applications. It does not function within 64-bit versions of Office 2010 at this time.

Do you want to know how much I swore?  No, I didn’t think so.

Suffice to say, I’m really p***ed off at SOMEONE: Microsoft and/or the chip makers for touting 64-bit operating systems as the way to go a couple of years back; Microsoft for making a 64-bit version of Office 2010 that will only install on a 64-bit OS (I can’t install a 32-bit version of Office on a 64-bit machine It seems I can install a 32-bit version of Office 2010 on a 64-bit machine — see the comments from Dimitry, below); Adobe for totally ignoring anyone who has a 64-bit operating system and who uses Office 2010.

Someone has just prevented me from earning my income, and I’m NOT HAPPY. Sure, I can create PDFs from Word, and I will. But I will lose some of the functionality that full Acrobat provides. Adobe is forever trying to get my business with all sorts of packages and offers and the like. Well, until they can provide a way to support a 64-bit version of Office 2010, they won’t be getting any more business from me.

Update 14 February 2011: I’ve done a bit more testing with my 64-bit Word 2010 since writing my original post and here are some things I’ve found out:

  • You can create a PDF with clickable links from within Word 2010: File > Save and Send > Create PDF/XPS. What you don’t get is the option to set your Word to PDF settings, as you could when the Acrobat tab was part of the Word interface. You also don’t get any automatic bookmarks (and yes, I had 5 levels of Heading styles in my test document).
  • You can ‘print’ your document to PDF from within Word 2010: File > Print, then select Adobe PDF as the printer. You will lose all clickable cross-references, TOC entries, etc. and you don’t  get automatic bookmarks.
  • You can open Acrobat Professional (in my case, version 9.1.1), then create the PDF from within Acrobat: File > Create PDF > PDF From File, then choose your Word 2010 document. If you then choose Microsoft Office Word from the Files of Type list, the Settings button becomes active. You will lose all clickable cross-references, TOC entries, etc. even though creating links is the default setting. I couldn’t see how to get these working, as the only place you can change these settings already had them set.

So, the situation is not quite as dire as I first thought. However, creating PDFs via other means results in some loss of functionality. The best option is the first one, but bookmarks are not created. For some, that may be critical.

Update 9 November 2011: I may have been blaming the wrong company. This appears to be a Microsoft issue, not an Adobe one, though I still think that there’s certain amount of ‘blame’ to be leveled at Adobe too. In this article (http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/word-help/choose-the-32-bit-or-64-bit-version-of-microsoft-office-HA010369476.aspx), is this statement from Microsoft:

Third-party ActiveX controls and add-ins None of these work with the 64-bit version of Office.

The article lists a whole slew of other things that also don’t work in the Office 2010 64-bit edition, so you’ve got to wonder why they released it and who will use it. Meantime, I’ve got to uninstall the 64-bit edition and install the 32-bit edition. <sigh>

[Links last checked February 2011]


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Perth Web News, Technical Comms. Technical Comms said: latest cybertext: Gee, thanks Adobe http://bit.ly/e8J293 […]

  2. “I can’t install a 32-bit version of Office on a 64-bit machine)”

    You should have no problems doing it. Moreover, Microsoft recommends using x32 versions until you really need the extended functionality x64 offers: “If not, we’re recommending 32-bit Office 2010 as the default installation on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows ”


  3. That is a real bitch of a problem. I’m not up to the current versions of Word and Adobe Acrobat, but the lack of coordination between hardware and software capabilities, and the way that the major vendors selectively support features that they’ve gotten users to relay on aggravates me, too. They make their products extremely interactive in that every time you log on, you are asked if you want to search for updates, but they fail to ask users what we want to be updated. For myself, I am less concerned with new bells and whistles than I am that upgrading to the next release will let me continue using the features I rely on to get my work out without a slew of new headaches and incompatibilities every time I upgrade my PC or another program.

  4. Thanks for the link to that article on 32-/64-bit Office. Unfortunately, I had no knowledge of this beforehand. I just selected to download and install the 64-bit version from the Microsoft site because I had a 64-bit computer — a logical mistake. There was no information about whether I could or should install the 32-bit version from the download site (I’m a Microsoft Action Pack subscriber).

    Do you happen to know if I can uninstall the 64-bit version and then install the 32-bit version? Or would that just create more problems?


  5. Rhonda, uninstalling 64-bit Office and installing 32-bit Office should work OK. No special actions/knowledge needed.

  6. Thanks Dmitry! I’ll do that after I return from a conference where I’m going to be demo-ing Word 2010. I’d rather do it after in case I run into any issues ;-)


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