Nothing matches Adobe Acrobat Pro DC’s depth of features for almost all PDF-editing purposes. Acrobat is now a full PDF ecosystem that works on the desktop, mobile apps, and the web.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, the gold standard among high-end PDF apps, recently received its most significant upgrade in years, and it brings to PDF editing many of the collaborative conveniences that Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and Apple’s iWork suite brought years ago to word processors and spreadsheets. With either an Acrobat-only subscription or a full Creative Cloud suite subscription, whole teams can now comment on a shared PDF file using an Acrobat desktop app, a mobile app, or by logging into Adobe Document Cloud from any web browser.
Acrobat Pro isn’t cheap at $14.99 per month, which equates to $179 per year, but it’s uniquely rich in features. You can get most of the Pro version’s features in a cheaper Acrobat Standard version, but the Pro version has features that I wouldn’t want to be without, including the ability to find differences between two copies of the same PDF file. That feature lets me use a tablet-based version of the app for PDF editing, scan an image from my phone into a polished-up PDF, or adjust PDFs so that they meet international standards for data-preservation.
The traditional desktop app looks mostly the same as earlier versions, with a cleaner-looking and more easily navigated design. It slots in new features that allow searching across multiple PDFs and improves access to files on cloud services like Google Drive. You’ll know you’re running the current version when you see a new bright red-and-white icon on your PDF file
Adobe created the PDF format—and later released the PDF specification as a public standard for anyone to work with. Acrobat has always set the standard for other PDF tools and it’s still the best general-purpose PDF editor, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best for every purpose.
I use both Acrobat and the equally excellent ABBYY FineReader .I rely on Acrobat’s unique sharing and mobile features, and its longstanding feature that embeds an index in a PDF for superfast text searches, but I also rely on FineReader’s unique proofreading features for correcting the text of scanned-in documents, its unique flexibility in editing multipage PDFs, and its unique ability to compare two documents in different formats, such as Word documents and PDFs. Acrobat’s new sharing features make it the clear favorite for many corporate uses, but it’s far from being the only choice. We’ll be surveying other Acrobat alternatives in the near future.
The new Acrobat desktop app streamlines Adobe’s methods for signing and circulating a PDF. A new Adobe Sign tool in Acrobat’s toolbar makes it easy to upload documents and send out invitations for a signature. Recipients sign the document by opening it via Adobe’s cloud services, and they don’t need an Adobe account for signing. The cloud service embeds the signed PDF with a certificate, so that any modification to the document after it’s signed triggers a warning that the document has been altered. All this was possible in earlier versions, but the new version lets you glance the Home screen in Acrobat to track the status of a document, send reminders, and use other signature-related features.
The Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Experience
Over the years, Acrobat has added so many features that it’s easy to forget that some of them exist. One Acrobat feature found nowhere else is its ability to create a type font from the font in a scanned-in document, and use that font when you add or revise text in the PDF. So you can scan in a document printed with a font that hasn’t been used in a hundred years, then use Acrobat’s OCR to make the text searchable and selectable, and then type in changes and corrections to the document’s text—with Acrobat automatically using a custom font that it created from the scanned-in font. Acrobat even offers presentation-style animated transitions from one PDF page to the next.