A Digital Workspace: Quick Tips to Integrating Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Acrobat Pro

While the creative digital designers, coders and UX/UI developers of the world spend much of their time staying up-to-date with the advancements in technology, many employees in corporations across the world have adapted from physical work processes to the digital workspace with much less ease. This blog post is meant for those corporate employees who consider themselves beginners in the digital workspace. Before going any further, let’s define what is meant here by the “digital workspace” or as referred to in the definition below, “digital workplace“.

The digital workplace is the collection of all of the digital tools provided by an organization to allow its employees to do their job.

So what is the digital workplace anyway, Chris Tubb, Digital Workspace Group

Across multiple disciplines, presenting material in clear and dynamic ways is a daily task. You’ve probably been asked to produce reports, presentations, memorandums, request for proposals, meeting materials, and the list goes on. The tools that a majority of companies provide to their employees in the digital workspace are Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and maybe if you’re lucky Adobe InDesign. This blog will focus on tips to help you digitally integrate widely used programs, as listed below, (no printers or scanners necessary) to create a quality PDF.

  • Microsoft Office Suite Programs
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • Web Browser

Yes, the end result should be a PDF because your reader’s choice of device (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile) won’t affect the way you intended the document to be viewed. Also, it is noteworthy to mention that presentations given without exiting applications to pull up presentation materials from other applications is for lack of a better word, classy.

Working on desktop

The 4 quicktips featured:

  1. How to use the “Combine Files into Single PDF” tool 
  2. Using the Acrobat PDFMaker Add-in to set preferences within Microsoft Office 
  3. The Acrobat Attachments Panel 
  4. Creating a link in your PDF document

Combine Files into a Single PDF

This is the most basic, yet very important tool to creating quality PDFs. Once you’ve written your report in Microsoft Word, created an amazing spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel and have slides of images showcased in Microsoft PowerPoint, you do NOT want to print the files and scan the document to create a PDF. Rather use the “Combine Files into Single PDF” tool to combine native file types into a quality PDF package. This means that it is not necessary to convert your native documents to PDFs before combining. For step by step instructions access this short tutorial by Acrobat Expert, Donna Baker. Using this tool also assists you in visual hierarchy and saves a few steps by creating automatic bookmarks and links for your PDF package.

What if you don’t want automatic bookmarks or links? Well that brings me to my next point.

Acrobat PDFMaker Add-in

If you already have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer, Microsoft recognizes this. All of the Microsoft Office programs will display an Adobe tab at the end of the ribbon tabs (File, Home, Insert, etc). By selecting the Preferences action in the Adobe tab, a new window will pop-up and many options become available. For the purposes of this quick tip, notice the Application Settings under the Settings tab. You can choose to automatically include bookmarks and links in the Adobe PDF once the file is converted.

Adobe preferences

Note that this setting applies across the program that you are using (for example, Microsoft Word), and does not need to be set for each file (for example, each .doc file you open).

To understand the Acrobat PDFMaker Add-in and it’s full capabilities visit the Acrobat User-Guide.

Acrobat Attachments Panel

Let’s say that your PDF has external references, such as a 50 page appendix and you’d like your reader to have access to it without adding 50 extra pages to the end of your PDF. The Attachments Panel located on the left hand side allows you to attach the file, which when clicked will open in it’s native program. You also have the option to show the attachment pane by default when your reader opens the PDF.

There is also an alternative way to place an attachment in your PDF that displays an icon of your choice (graph, paper clip, attachment, tag) in a specified location of your document. Simply select “Add a New Attachment” available in the Comment tools and follow the prompts. Note that your attachments will be accessible through the Attachment Pane and as Comments in your document with this method.

Now let’s say that you are not the owner of the file or media you want to reference in your PDF and you’d like to reference material from the web for example,  this is where creating a link is useful.

For instructions on both the Attachment Panel and Creating a Link, visit the Acrobat User Guide.

Creating a Link

If you simply would like to transform text in your PDF to a clickable link, highlight the text, right click, select “Create Link…” and a new window will pop-up. First, you have options to tailor the appearance of your link, and second you have Link Action options:

  1. Go to a page view (a link to a page in your document)
  2. Open a file (a link to a file type stored on your computer)
  3. Open a web page (a link to a URL)

If you don’t particularly like the appearance options available, choose Invisible Rectangle for Link Type and format the link to your liking through the Edit Text and Images tool available.


The quick tips featured are a very minimal scope of the capabilities that Adobe Acrobat has to offer. However, they are foundations for a clear, organized and dynamic PDF  utilizing Adobe’s capabilities and integrating your Microsoft Office documents, created within Microsoft Office Suite programs that most of us are familiar with. Let me know if the information is useful in helping you build your digital workspace skills, and what you’d like to see next.

Your current digital workspace is much more seamless than it appears at the surface.




Interestingly, Adobe and Microsoft recently announced the expansion of their strategic partnership.

“Together with Adobe, we’re committed to fostering creativity and a culture of teamwork for our shared customers, so they can unlock the opportunities of today’s rapidly evolving workplace,”

–Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Microsoft

The platforms that companies now have access to, such as the choice of local desktops, cloud service platforms, or content management systems also changes the way we work together in the office or remotely, yet another integration of the digital workspace.


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