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Our last blog warned about some of the pitfalls of upgrading to Acrobat DC. If you haven’t downloaded the upgrade yet, I recommend you take a few minutes to read it. Having given fair warning first, now let’s look into some of the exciting new features.




Adobe takes working with Acrobat documents to a whole new dimension with Acrobat DC. It now provides touch capability and has an entirely new interface. Most folks are saying the new interface is much more uncluttered than the old. Let’s look at a couple of examples. The following image (courtesy of shows the right-hand toolbox in both Acrobat Pro DC and Acrobat XI. Adding to DC’s functionality is the ability to customize the tools that appear in the toolbox. If you find that you never use the “Prepare Form” tool, for example, you can delete it. Similarly, if you find that you frequently use the “Print Production” tool, it’s easy to add it to the menu.

Adobe Acrobat DC Right-Hand Menu

Looking for a specific tool? If you don’t find it on the right-hand toolbox, you will find it in the Tools menu at the top of the screen. Clicking on the Tools menu shows all of them:

Tools Screen of Adobe Acrobat DC

Notice that each tool has the word “Add” below it. Click this button and it is added to the right-hand toolbox. If you click the dropdown arrow next to the word Add, the options to “Open” the tool and “Learn More” about the tool appear.

Not only has the right-hand side panel changed, the top menu bars have changed. Following is the top menu lines for both Acrobat Pro DC and XI, again courtesy of (Check out their blog about Acrobat Pro DC for their take on it.)

Acro DC Old and New Screens2

The top menu row in Acrobat Pro DC holds common commands and can be modified somewhat. There is a floating page control that can be docked to this top line, if desired. When not docked, it is visible at the bottom of the screen when you mouse over that area. The second row of the top menu is context sensitive. In other words, it changes depending on which tool you are using.

Having worked with DC just a little, I can tell you that it will take some time to learn the new interface and use it efficiently. To help with that process, Adobe has some excellent tutorials that teach the basics. You’ll find them here.

The good news is that the tools work the same across platforms. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a Mac or a PC, a tablet or a phone. Acrobat makes good on its promise that you can work anywhere with their Mobile Link that accesses recent files across desktop, web, and mobile. Additionally, whether you’re using Acrobat Reader, Standard, or Pro, the menus are all alike, with options not available in the Reader or Standard versions grayed out.

Work Anywhere

Adobe’s promise that you will be able to “work anywhere” is met in a number of ways. First is the multi-platform product itself. Acrobat DC is available on Mac, PC, and mobile devices. And did you notice earlier in this article that we said Acrobat DC is now touch capable for the growing number of users with touch screens. Additionally, there is the whole “DC” thing. “DC” stands for Document Cloud. Adobe DC includes 5 GB storage space in their Document Cloud. Lastly, Acrobat’s Mobile Link app enables you to access recent files across desktop, web, and mobile.

Enhanced Editing

Imagine you’re at a client facility and you recognize that your PDF has a typo in it or you want to add an additional bullet point to your features list. You can do that directly to the PDF from your phone or tablet. Or perhaps at the last minute you see that the image includes an old model of your product. You can swap the image in the PDF for a newer one.

Acrobat DC’s Pro version includes enhanced document editing capabilities, including the ability to edit scanned documents – yes, you read that correctly – you will be able to edit your scanned documents. The editing functionality has been improved to allow full paragraphs to reflow while editing. In other words, you won’t have a large white space in the middle of a paragraph because you deleted three words. The text will reflow. You can also change the text size and type directly in your PDF and resize or move the text boxes.

Not to be outdone by text, images can now be edited in the PDF. You can flip, crop, rotate, or replace images right in your PDF. That’s pretty amazing.

(Of course it creates a version control nightmare, but that’s fodder for another blog.)


Acrobat DC allows you to send, track, manage, and store signed documents with a built-in e-signature service. This service is included with your subscription to Acrobat DC. E-signatures are legal and enforceable in 27 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Adobe’s e-signature service complies with industry security standards including HIPAA and PCI v3.0 used by the credit card industry. You can learn more about this technology and it’s security here.

This blog just touches the surface of Acrobat DC capabilities. If you think you’re ready to purchase, please read our last blog that discusses some of the issues surrounding the implementation of Acrobat Pro DC.

If you’re ready to buy, click here to purchase your copy.

In Adobe’s ongoing quest to add even more value to their Creative Cloud software subscription service, they are now including free online video tutorials on many of the products that make up the Creative Cloud suite. These tutorials are only free to Creative Cloud subscribers. They have been produced by some of the top software training companies, who will continue to add new content each month.

Under their agreement with Adobe, Adobe gets exclusive access to these new tutorials for 14 days, even before the training development companies can make them available to their own paid subscribers. What’s more, the tutorials will remain permanently available to Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers. You can access them from anywhere on any kind of Net-connected device by logging in to your Creative Cloud account and clicking on “Learn” in the black menu bar at the top of the screen.

7-day free trialAs good as this training is, and as good as free is, it’s not as good as our favorite source for online training, There are a couple of reasons for that. First, it’s just not as comprehensive. Adobe currently has a couple of hours of instruction on each of the products covered, 22 courses in all right now. I know that this is just the initial rollout of a new service and that they will be adding to it monthly, but it’s just not fully there yet. offers hours and hours of training on Adobe products — on not just the most current version, but many previous versions as well. As for the number of courses offered, it’s not even close. currently has over 2,000 courses available to their subscribers, and not just on Adobe products, but just about anything you can think of. That’s 2,000 complete courses, not just individual training segments. Viewing a course on is like attending an expensive workshop or seminar on the given product or procedure.

My other critique of Adobe’s free training is that in addition to not being comprehensive, it’s also not cohesive. Granted, I haven’t watched a lot of it, but in the time I spent in the InDesign training area, I saw videos from three different training vendors. In other words, Adobe has assembled training segments from various different sources and cobbled them together to make a topical package. Once again, I like the approach better, where you have one or two industry-leading instructors that teach the entire course. I have some assurance with this approach that there are no gaps in my instruction. If it’s an Intermediate Photoshop Techniques course, I trust that I’m getting a thorough and consistent overview of that level of common Photoshop features.

So kudos to Adobe for launching a service that comes at no extra charge to Creative Cloud subscribers. I look forward to it becoming more fleshed out and valuable in the months and years to come.

If you know me very well, you know that a motto that I live by is, “If it’s for free, it’s for me!” That’s almost always true. Not this time. For the very reasonable price of $25 per month (or $250 for a full year), you can subscribe to what I believe to be the best value in online software instruction available, worth far more than the very reasonable price of the subscription. So if you have some training money left in your budget or you want to make yourself more valuable to your employer (or more marketable to your next employer), check out Click on the ad above to sign up for a free 7-day trial. You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a sample of a training video from (You’ll need to move your mouse over the black rectangle below to access the video.)

Computer industry news source ZDNet published an article today called “Microsoft security research paints bleak picture for XP users”. You can click on the title to read the whole report, or you can save yourself some time and just peruse our executive summary:

  • Windows XP was released in October 2001. That’s 12 years ago, which is forever in computer years. But, as Windows versions go, XP has been a rock-solid workhorse. Thrifty users, both individuals and businesses, who don’t have a pressing need to upgrade to the latest and greatest new software, have hung onto Windows XP and milked it for all it’s worth.
  • That ride is coming to an end. You can still continue to use your antiquated XP, but do so at your own risk. Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for it in April of next year. Once the last Windows XP patch is issued, unpatched vulnerabilities will begin to emerge. With no one watching the store, the bad guys will loot and pillage to their hearts’ content.
  • Even before all this happens, the vulnerability situation for XP users is bad compared to later versions of Windows. Microsoft has steadily incorporated new defensive technologies into Windows with each new version. Windows XP is 12 years behind in that defensive technology. As such, Windows XP users are many times more likely than Windows 8 users to become infected with malware. The number of vulnerabilities in Windows XP has steadily increased over the last few years. Things will get worse — much worse — when Microsoft stops releasing security patches in April.

The moral of the story is that it’s time for every XP user who is connected to the Internet or who receives files of any kind from any outside source to make plans to scrap their beloved operating system and make the move to Windows 8 (or at least to Windows 7 if you can still find it). XP has become a “bad neighborhood” for system security, a magnet for malware. It’s time to pull up stakes and head to higher ground.

On the bright side, Windows 7 and 8 open up the bold new world of 64-bit computing. Windows XP was a 32-bit operating system, a 32-lane data highway so to speak. (OK, there was a 64-bit version of XP, but it was rare. Who needed 64 bits in 2001?) It moved data around in 32-bit (4 byte) chunks. Windows 7 and 8 come in both 32-bit and 64-bit variations.  Take the 64-bit option.  It allows your system to access more memory, it runs all of your 32-bit software, and it opens the door to 64-bit software. Notably, the newest versions of Adobe’s Creative Cloud software require a 64-bit operating system, so go with the 64-bit option and hopefully you won’t have to upgrade your operating system for another 12 years.

But don’t count on it.

Many people are seriously interested in moving to Adobe®’s Creative Cloud but have some nagging issues. This purpose of this post is to address those issues. Here are the questions we hear most often:

Does the software run on the Cloud? Do I need Internet access to use the programs?

No. When you purchase a subscription, you download all the software that you want to use to your local computer.You obviously need internet access for this. Your software is then stored and run from your computer. You will also need Internet access to validate your license periodically. If you have an annual subscription, you are required to validate your software license at least every 99 days. If you are a monthly subscriber, you must validate your software every 30 days. Validation is automatic if you start any Creative Cloud program while you have an Internet connection. You’ll never have to do anything.

Am I required to download all the Creative Suite programs? Am I required to download all the programs I want to use when I first subscribe?

No. You can download only the programs you want to use. You can download additional programs at any point during your subscription. This is a great opportunity to play with all the great Adobe stuff that your budget would never allow before.

Am I required to store my files in the Creative Cloud space?

No. While subscription to the Creative Could includes cloud storage, you can (and in our opinion should) maintain your files on your local drive. Use CC storage for collaboration and/or backup — or not at all. The choice is yours.

If I cancel my subscription to the Creative Cloud, do I lose access to my files?

No. If you maintain your files on your local computer, you will have access to all your files. If you maintain your files in the Creative Cloud storage space, you will be downgraded to a free storage membership which includes 2GB of storage.  If you’re using more than 2GB of storage, you will not be able to sync files until the amount of online disk space used in your account drops below 2GB. You have 90 days to reduce your online usage, after which you may lose access to some or all files.

What you do lose if you cancel your subscription is access to the software, so unless you have a traditional CS6 license, you’ll have access to your files, but be unable to use the software that reads them. If you are an occasional user of Adobe programs, you can opt for a month-by-month subscription and cancel it during months when you don’t need it. Anytime your subscription is active you can use your files.

Am I required to install upgrades and new  CC programs as they are released?

No. You choose when and which upgrades or new software to download to your computer and install.

If I have a perpetual license Adobe program, can I have both it and the Creative Suite version installed on the same computer at the same time?

Yes. You can have both installed at the same time. We maintain copies of CS 3, 5, 5.5, and 6 applications on our systems so that we’re able to access old files from our archives or that are provided by clients. We also have the Creative Cloud version installed. If you keep multiple versions of Adobe products on the same computer you just have to be careful to not use Windows’ File Explorer to open you files. It will always want to open the file in the most current version of the software associated with a file type. That means that if you open an InDesign CS5 file by double-clicking on it in File Explorer while you also have a newer version of InDesign on your computer, it will convert the file to the newer file format so that it can open in the newer version. If you wanted it to open in CS5 and stay a CS5 file, you need to open it from within InDesign CS5.

Can I install the Creative Suite programs that I download on multiple computers?

Yes – but only on two computers that are used by the same person. The program may not be used on both computers at the same time. So if you need it on your desktop computer at work and also on your laptop, no problem. And here’s a beautiful thing – you can split your two installations between two different operating systems. In the past, you were required to purchase a PC version of the software or a Mac version. Now you can share a single subscription between both a PC and a Mac. Again, it is limited to a total of two installations and they may not be used at the same time. Check out Adobe’s licensing agreement for more information. (Scroll down the page to the “Adobe Creative Cloud Products” subhead.) Warning: Download the file, don’t view it online. It is a 511-page PDF done in 29 different languages. It seriously freaked out my browser when I viewed it online. No damage was done, but I had to shut down the browser. It caused all my open tabs to convert to various foreign languages.

More questions? Give us a call (419-660-0500) or check out Adobe’s FAQ page.

Remember, Adobe®’s incentive pricing for the Creative Cloud ends August 31. Check out this blog for more info.

Adobe Creative Cloud Just a reminder, folks…

Adobe® has announced that their incentive pricing to join the Creative Cloud ends August 31. This pricing is available to users with previously registered product serial numbers of Creative Suite 3.0 and above and requires a one-year subscription commitment. The incentive pricing represents a significant discount from their standard pricing structure. Standard pricing is $49.99/month; their incentive pricing ranges from $9.99/month to $29.99/month, depending on the option that you choose. See the image at the end of the blog for more pricing details, or click here to go to Adobe’s site.

That may seem pricey to some of you, but consider three things:

  • Annualized, you’ll pay between $120 and $360 at the discounted rate. This approach simply breaks the cost into monthly payments. Yes, when the incentive price expires, the price increases (presumably) to an annualized price of $600. That’s about the same that we’ve been paying for a Creative Suite software upgrade. If you upgraded Creative Suite every other year, it’s a wash. The price may seem a bit hefty, but perhaps not so much when you consider the second point.
  • Logos of Programs Included in Adobe's Creative Cloud SubscriptionWith the exception of the lowest subscription plan, you are gaining access to many, many quality Adobe products. The full Creative Cloud subscription gives you full access to more software than was included in the Creative Suite Master Collection (the biggest conglomeration of Adobe software under the old system), which sold for $2,600 per copy. How many of these logos do you recognize? They’re all included in the CC subscription fee. In case logos aren’t your thing, here’s just some of the programs included in a Creative Cloud standard subscription:
    • InDesign® – desktop publishing
    • Photoshop® and Lightroom® – image manipulation
    • Acrobat® Pro – portable document creation
    • Illustrator® – drawing
    • Dreamweaver® and Muse™ – website development
    • Edge Animate – creates interactive web content
    • Typekit® – website font management
    • Premier® Pro – video production and editing
    • Audition® – audio editing
    • After Effects® – cinematic visual effects and motion graphics
    • Bridge – image management and more
    • And more…click here to learn more about these programs and others included in the CC subscription
  • Programs are updated and enhanced on a regular basis. You will no longer have to wait a year or two to receive the latest updates. As Adobe rolls them out upgrades and new features for each program, they are available to Cloud subscribers. With the pace of changing technology today, this is a great benefit, but if that makes you nervous, you can relax because you choose whether or not to update your copy of the software.

This article doesn’t begin to address other benefits of CC membership, the most prominent of which is cloud storage. Check out Adobe’s site for details.

Adobe’s incentive pricing for individual users is summarized in their graphic below. They also have team subscriptions available. If you have two or more users in your office, check out their team subscription pricing here. Click here to purchase Creative Cloud. Still have some concerns? Check out our blog, Adobe’s Creative Cloud – Addressing Top Concerns About Going to Subscription Service.

Creative Cloud Discount Pricing

Data Designs Publishing turns 25!July 1 officially marks Data Designs Publishing’s 25th anniversary!

Yes, we started desktop publishing when the industry was still in its infancy…

1985 – Aldus Corporation released PageMaker on the Macintosh. It used Adobe’s PostScript page description language. (Aldus and Adobe merged in 1994.)

1986 – Aldus released PageMaker for the PC.

1986 – Ventura Publisher released. It later became Xerox Ventura Publisher and then Corel Ventura.

1987 – Quark released QuarkXPress.

1987 – Adobe released Adobe Illustrator.

1988 – Data Designs entered the desktop publishing world. We, of course, were the only major desktop publishing milestone in 1988 – at least the most significant one! We opened our doors with a state of the art PostScript laser printer, two powerful (by 1988 standards) PCs, and a couple of copies of Ventura Publisher software. We had a couple of years of desktop publishing experience under our belt working for a non-profit organization in Chicago before we decided to make it our full-time career.

Since we stepped into the industry we’ve seen the introduction of CorelDRAW (1989), Adobe Photoshop (1990), FreeHand (1990), Acrobat and the PDF file format (1993) and Adobe InDesign (1999).

We’ve been using the major desktop publishing programs since their infancy. We started using:

  • Ventura Publisher when it was version 2.0 – it came on twenty-one 360K floppy drives, installing a program that was mind-boggling 4.49MB.
  • Aldus PageMaker when it was version 3.1. (We went to it reluctantly, believing it to be a downgrade from Ventura.)
  • CorelDRAW, Photoshop, Acrobat and InDesign when each was version 1.0.

There were other programs along the way, and tremendous changes in the industry. Of course the greatest changes are being made today with cloud and mobile computing.

Over the 25 years we’ve operated out of four home offices and enjoyed working with many employees, but two require special recognition:

Donna Smeal served as our office manager for 13 years. Our move to Norwalk in 2005 made it too long of a commute for her to continue with us. Besides, she had a growing cruise travel business that has since blossomed. If you ever – ever – want (or need) to take a cruise, she’s the best agent you’ll ever find. Check out her website here. (For those of you who have never cruised, we find it to be the most relaxing, most affordable, and most fun vacation available. Unpack once and let the ship take you to exotic locations while lavishing you with great food and entertaining you with shows, dancing, games, and relaxing deck chairs.)

Charlotte Tuttle holds the employee longevity record, having been with us for 14 years. She has served us and our clients invaluably as a desktop publisher and account manager during that time. We are so very thankful for her talent, friendship, and faithful service. Whenever Donna sends us on a cruise (which isn’t nearly often enough), you’re likely to be speaking to Charlotte while we’re gone. She is abundantly capable of handling everything in our absence.

What will the next 25 years bring? Changes happen so quickly in the publishing industry that I doubt anyone has a clue. For now, we’re celebrating the previous quarter century.

Happy 25th anniversary, Data Designs Publishing!

Watch for our our e-newsletter, The Alpha Channel, for a special rate in July in honor of our 25th anniversary.

Adobe Creative Suite 6
This week in Los Angeles, Adobe is holding their annual Adobe MAX conference for users, developers, and industry reporters. It’s their venue for generating enthusiasm for their product line and their platform for making major announcements. This year’s Adobe MAX was launched with a bang.

Adobe has announced that this is the end of the line for their Creative Suite product line. You can still buy CS6 (for now, at least), but this will be the last time you will be able to purchase any software from Adobe.

Say WHAT!!??

Yep. After this, Adobe will no longer “sell” software. From this point forward, everything is moving to the Cloud.

Adobe’s “Creative Cloud” is an Internet-based software subscription model that has been in effect for almost a year now.While some people have balked at making the leap to subscribing to software rather than purchasing a license (read the End-User License Agreement on any piece of software — you never “owned” any of it — you just bought a license to be able to use it), there are a number of advantages to Adobe’s Cloud scheme. The cost of subscribing to the Creative Cloud is about the same as buying an upgrade under the old system, so that’s a wash. But Adobe gives you much, much more software than you got with the Creative Suite, even if you bought the massive-priced Master Collection. Will you use all of that new software? Not a chance in the world. But might you use some of it? You bet. (At least I know that I will.)

Another advantage of the Creative Cloud is that you no longer have to wait a year or two for a major upgrade for your software. As improvements, upgrades, and bug-fixes are made to any of the components of the Creative Cloud, you will be able to download them immediately. And speaking of downloading, you will indeed be downloading the software and running it on your local computer. The software itself doesn’t reside in the Cloud, and you don’t need to have access to the Internet to use the programs once you’ve downloaded them. But you do need to be online at least once a month while you start up any Adobe program to ping their server in the Cloud and let them know that you’re still there. (It’s automatic. No action required on your part.)

Early Adopters

Here at Data Designs Publishing, we’ve been Creative Cloud users since it was first rolled out last summer. Except for the fact that we’re paying a software bill every month like it was a utility bill, we’ve experienced no change to the way that we do business as a result of using the Creative Cloud. Don’t be afraid. It won’t hurt you. Some people have expressed a fear that after everyone gets signed onto the Cloud, Adobe will jack up the price of their software and you’ll either have to pay up or they’ll turn off your ability to use it. That scenario is in no one’s best interest. How many subscribers, how much revenue, and how much trust and reputation would Adobe lose by doing something stupid like that? It would be suicide for them. It isn’t going to happen. But it is true that if you don’t pay your subscription bill, they disable your software until you do.

OK, so how much is that bill? For new users — those who aren’t upgrading from a qualified copy of Creative Suite — a Creative Cloud subscription is $50 per month with a full year commitment. For those who are upgrading from CS3 or above, Adobe is offering a 40% discount until July 31, 2013. That takes the price to $30 per month with a full year commitment. $360 for a full year of all of Adobe’s best software. That’s a great deal! If you want to jump on that before the deal expires, CLICK HERE.

Many of our clients have begun to include QR bar codes in their marketing literature, but there are still many people who ask “QR what?” when the subject comes up. I was surprised to learn that QR (Quick Response) codes were created almost twenty years ago. A subsdiary of Toyota, Denso Wave Inc., created the codes to track vehicles as they were manufactured. Now they’ve been hijacked by the internet to provide information to consumers.

QR codes are simply a two-dimensional bar code that is encoded with information. They are a lot like the traditional bar codes you see on the sides of cans and other products but they contain 100 times more information. A user can scan the code with a smart phone and access a tremendous amount of information, either directly from the code or by being linked to an information source like a website.

In today’s smart phone environment, they’re used to educate customers and potential customers, and to provide instant promotions. To educate, QR codes are being used to direct customers and potential customers to product benefits, information about purchasing, or to pages on your website that provide installation instructions or warranty information. A QR code can be created for any web page – which means don’t let any discussion of QR codes limit your thinking about how to use them. But that’s not all they can do.

The two-dimensional nature of QR codes means that they have a greater surface area allowing them to hold thousands of alphanumeric characters that can accommodate web URLs, text or other information like photos, videos, graphics and more. QR codes can even dial a number or generate text messages! It’s like having the ability to control your prospective customer’s smart phone almost anywhere in the world!!

QR codes are surprisingly simple to implement and use. You can generate a QR code using any of a number of code generators. Most are free. Google “QR code generator.” We’ve already done that to make your life even easier. Here are three easy to use code generators:

We’ve used the code generator at To generate a code that will take the reader to a web page, you simply enter the URL in the QR code creator and hit enter. In seconds you have both an image of the QR bar code and the HTML code to add the QR bar code to a web page. We generated the code used in the upper right of this blog.

QR codes are read by code readers – again, there are many free apps available for whatever smartphone device you own. Download the app and scan the code. Scan the above code and it’ll take you to our InDesign Basics & Beyond training page.

For you techies, here’s the HTML code provided by Kaywa’s site for the above QR bar code.

<img src=”” alt=”QRCode”/>

(We modified the HTML to place the QR code into the blog so that it would be right aligned and properly sized.)

QR codes are a good choice for the business marketers:

  • They work! Consumers are responding to the scan codes they see and taking action to get more information about products/services promoted by these codes. According to the CIA World FactBook, as of 2011 there were 290.3 million mobile phones in use in the US. Two-thirds of that group are scanning QR codes to learn more about a product.
  • The future is bright for QR codes. 290.3 million potential users is a respectable number, and experts agree that the number of QR code users will continue to grow, in keeping with the aggressive growth trend in QR code usage over the last few years. Scanlife (a provider of QR code services) reports that from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012 the number of unique users scanning codes through its system tripled. NOTE: While usage is up, how QR codes are being used is changing…significantly. You’ll need to be on top of that information to succeed.
  • Low cost! Unlike a printed brochure or poster, the QR code is one marketing tactic that you can create for free! And even though it’s free, it doesn’t fall into the category of “you get what you pay for.” Rather, it falls into the category called “if it’s for free, it’s for me!”

The Bane of Auto Updates – What Worked on Friday No Longer Works on Monday

If you opened a file in CorelDRAW, QuarkXpress, Powerpoint, Excel or a few other programs, you may have experienced font problems this morning. We did. While working on a large project for a client Charlotte opened one of several hundred CorelDRAW files to do a quick correction to some text…only to find that all the text in the file had disappeared! Well, sort of disappeared. It was no longer visible, which one might describe as having disappeared. Yet the text was still there. We could select the text, we couldn’t see the text. When we changed the font and the text appeared. Hmmm…Strange.

What was causing this issue with the text?

Time for more troubleshooting.

Next check: When the file is opened on a different system does the problem still exist? Yes.

Next check: Are other files affected? Yes. (OK, now is the time to remember not to panic – remember I did say several hundred files.)

Next check:  When the file is opened in different versions of CorelDraw does the issue still exist? Yes.

So let’s review…all files on all systems (including laptops and desktops) seem to be affected in multiple versions of CorelDraw.

Time to go to forums and boards. Font issues can be the worst to diagnose and there were some pretty strange explanations out there, but we’ve found the culprit. Microsoft did an update last week that caused the issue. Windows Update KB2753842, designed to patch some potential security issues with fonts seems to have broken some fonts. Specifically some OpenType and Type 1 fonts. If you installed this update (or you have your computer set to automatically install updates), you may be experiencing font issues today.

You can learn more about the Microsoft security update here.

You have several options at this point:

  • Uninstall the update and continue to use your fonts. That might sound scary, and yes, it does leave you exposed to a known security risk…but you’ve been using your computer with the known risk for quite some time.
  • Keep the update installed and no longer use your OpenType and Type 1 fonts. Your machine is safer but you’ll have to update all your documents. (Don’t forget, that can mean reflowing of text, so check the whole document before printing.)
  • Hold your breath and wait. OK, you don’t have to hold your breath. Microsoft hasn’t said yet whether they are working on a fix to their fix, but they would be fools not to…it’s just a matter of when.

The options aren’t great at this point, but they are what they are.

If you choose to uninstall the update, click here for instructions. Or go to IT and let them handle the uninstall. Go directly to IT. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

That, my friend, is how you lose several hours on a Monday. Hope your Monday is going better!

Who would have believed it? Microsoft, the old gray mare of the computing world, has become cool again. After years of derision from the Apple crowd, Microsoft has re-established itself as a consumer technology powerhouse with products that people actually want to buy and use.

The list of Microsoft’s product flops is lengthy. Microsoft Vista, which many users felt had more in common with a virus than an operating system, sent hoards of users running to the Mac platform. And it wasn’t the only bad operating system Microsoft produced. Who can forget Microsoft Me and Microsoft Bob? Everyone? Yeah, I thought so, and for good reason.

Let’s face it. In this century, the only hits that Microsoft has had have been the XP operating system and the Xbox gaming platform. It was looking like Microsoft’s future would only be servers and gaming.

But Microsoft has the invaluable ability to learn from its (many) mistakes. And while theirconsumer products still don’t command the type of market share that Apple has, Microsoft has laid the groundwork for a much brighter future.

It’s generally accepted that Microsoft’s Zune was the Edsel of portable media players. It got it’s hat handed to it by the Apple iPod. But the technology developed for the Zune is re-emerging in new Microsoft products such as the Windows Phone, the Surface tablet, and the Windows 8 operating system. All of these products are putting Microsoft back on the map of consumer technology leaders.

New life is being breathed into old mainstays such as the Office suite, as well. Office 2013 includes dozens of improvements to the usability and user interface of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. And then there’s Office 365, a cloud-based service that makes all of your Office apps and documents available anywhere, via desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. This is a big step toward transforming tablets and phones from devices that simply pumped out entertainment to tools that can be used to get real work done. Productivity — what a concept!

I hope I don’t sound like a Microsoft fanboy. That’s not my intention. It’s just that I get some satisfaction out of seeing a once great company show some chops once again. Microsoft is a great American company that employs thousands of people. We can use all of those that we can get right now.

Click here to learn more about Microsoft’s *cool* new product line.