Workspace basics

Last update: 2023-08-04
  • Created for:
  • Beginner

Learn how the Acrobat interface makes it easy to access files and tools across desktop, web, and mobile devices with a consistent workspace experience.


Interested in learning about the new workspace experience that you can activate in Acrobat? Check out New workspace experience.



Acrobat DC has common workspace elements on desktop, web and mobile devices. In this tutorial, we’ll walk through the workspace of a desktop version of Acrobat DC. There are three main views in the workspace. Home, tools and the document view that appear along the top of this ribbon. The home view is a landing page that you see when you first open Acrobat. In the center it lists your starred files. The cloud icon indicates this file is stored in the document cloud and recent files. Starred files are those that you have bookmarked by selecting the star next to the file name, for quick access across different devices that you can use Acrobat on. You can view the files in a list or a thumbnail view.

When you select a file, a context pane will appear on the right, where you can perform various functions on the file, like commenting, editing, or sharing. If you don’t want the file to appear in the recent listing just select remove from recent, or at the bottom you can clear all the recent files.

At the top, on the home view, you have cards to help you get started using the various tools in Acrobat. These can be minimized if you don’t need them.

The notification bell gives you in-app notifications when you need to take action or an action has been taken on a document you’re working with. Like when someone has commented on a file that you shared for review.

The unified search box at the top, lets you search to find any recent files, document cloud files, files shared by you or shared by others. And if you don’t remember the file name, it doesn’t matter because you can just search on any word you might remember in the file itself.

On the left you can access files that are stored securely in the document cloud. You can also use filters to find files quickly.

Also under document cloud, you can find files that you’ve shared or have been shared by others. Under other storage, you can quickly browse local files you’ve recently opened.

You can add more storage accounts for quick access, like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and SharePoint. And at the very bottom you can see and manage all the agreements you’ve sent or that have been sent to you for signature.

Now the tools view is a place to discover all the tools that are available in Acrobat. To add a tool to the right simply select add, or just drag the tool over to the right to put in any location.

Alternatively to delete a tool, select the X when you hover over it or select delete from the tool drop down.

Now the benefit of adding a tool to the right hand pane is that you can quickly access the tool when a document is open. In the document view, you’ll always see the standard menu at the top and it’ll appear anytime a file is open. If you right click or control click on the Mac on the standard menu, you can customize the tools that appear here. In addition, when you select a particular tool, like I’ll select edit, new tools will appear below the standard menu.

And if you can’t remember the name of a particular tool that you want to use, just start typing in the tool search menu, and it will automatically find the tool that performs this function.

Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of the Acrobat desktop workspace, if you use the web tools or mobile app, you’ll notice many of the same UI layouts, such as a home and document view, as well as starred and recent files. These similarities will help you to get up to speed quickly with Acrobat, regardless of the device that you’re using. -

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