Adobe Acrobat – A Comparison of 3 Versions

Our Support Services team fields a lot of calls from Your Net Managed Service clients who need help installing Adobe Acrobat.  It comes as a surprise to many that there are different versions of Acrobat with different functionalities.

No Frills, Free Download

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free program that allows you to view, print, sign, and comment on PDF files.  It is a trusted standard for viewing and printing PDF documents across a variety of operating systems.  Versions are available for Windows, Mac, Android, and less common systems like Linux and Solaris.  The program can be downloaded from Adobe’s website.

A recently released “DC” (Document Cloud) version allows you to work across desktop, web, and mobile devices.  You can save time by completing auto-fill fields only once and you’ll have access to files anywhere.

Additional Features

Adobe Acrobat 2017 or DC

Adobe Acrobat offers everything Reader does with a couple of additions which require a paid subscription.  The standard Acrobat subscription includes the ability to edit text and images within an existing PDF.  You can also create new PDFs and export any PDF to Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.  Acrobat allows control of security settings and access privileges for PDF files while the free version, Reader, does not.  There can be definite value in protecting the confidentiality of sensitive information by requiring an access password to open a document.

Enhanced Functionality

Adobe Acrobat Pro 2017 or DC

Acrobat Pro adds even more features to Reader and Acrobat, which comes at a slightly higher cost than the standard Acrobat subscription.  Acrobat Pro allows a lot more flexibility with PDFs and ways to improve efficiency in handling documents.  For example, you can compare two versions of a PDF to detect differences which can be helpful in ensuring the important document you’re sending to a client is the most current version.  If you have text-heavy documents that exist on your network as PDFs, you can turn them into editable, searchable PDFs with Acrobat Pro.  Think of the “find and replace” feature in a Word document.  You can have that same flexibility with a PDF if you subscribe to Acrobat Pro.  The Pro version meets accessibility standards for people with disabilities.  It can help your organization comply with ISO standards and other regulations.

If ever you aren’t sure which software package best suits your needs, talk to your account manager or a member of the Support team.