Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

Updated: May 15, 2020

If you’ve ever dealt with PDF documents, you have probably seen Adobe Acrobat. It might be installed on your computer right now. The software carries a high price tag, but it is still a standard option for viewing PDF files. So, what is Adobe Acrobat, and do you need to use it?

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

What is Adobe Acrobat?

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

Adobe Acrobat is software used for the viewing and editing of PDF files online and offline.

The software first released in 1993 as Adobe Acrobat Reader 1.0, and it cost just $50 to install and use. It was updated several times and eventually renamed to Adobe Reader in 2003.

In 2012, Adobe Acrobat XI was released, which offered significant improvements in the software’s quality and performance. Editing features became available, and the interface designed to be more user-friendly. Since then, Acrobat Standard has upgraded to Acrobat Pro and Acrobat Suite.

With Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, you can create PDF documents as well as view, print, and sign PDFs. These files can export to other formats like Word or Excel, and you can password protect your PDF files. There are even features that allow you to get signatures on PDF documents and track the responses in real-time. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a version of the software that offers limited features. You can view, print, and sign PDF documents as well as annotate them. However, you cannot create PDFs or export them to a different file type.

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

Adobe Acrobat DC

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

Adobe seems to push its Acrobat DC product the most on their website. This product belongs to the Document Cloud family of Adobe software, and it provides all of the features you need to handle PDF documents from virtually anywhere.

Features for Adobe Acrobat DC include:

  • Sharing files with others

  • Reviewing PDF files

  • Commenting on PDF files

  • Collecting signatures from others

  • Fill and sign features for PDFs

  • Setting passwords and permissions

  • Store PDFs online

  • Meet accessibility standards for PDFs

  • Edit PDFs from mobile devices, like your phone or tablet

  • Use a fillable PDF to collect responses

  • Standardize PDF tasks

  • Remove PDF information or redact it

  • Sync your signature

  • Add rich media to PDF documents

  • Download mobile apps

This suite of products and software processes accessibility and mobility. Adobe highlights that Acrobat DC allows professionals to work from anywhere, so you are no longer stuck at your desk to view and edit PDF files. Mobile apps also sync across all of your devices, so you can stay up to date no matter where you are.

How much does Adobe Acrobat cost?

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

One of the most significant drawbacks of Adobe Acrobat is still the cost. While it is a standard among business organizations, it can get quite expensive with multiple licenses. Pricing calculated on a per-month, per-seat basis, so you pay for each user each month. This pricing model offers some flexibility to scale your plan up or down as needed.

Adobe offers different versions of its software for individuals and businesses. While individuals have access to all of the features listed above and more, businesses often need additional features such as administration, added security, ownership of licenses, and advanced support. For this reason, the price per user for business licenses is often higher than the price for individuals.

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

View detailed information about Adobe Acrobat pricing on their website.

Adobe Acrobat Reviews

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

Despite its high cost, many still consider Adobe Acrobat to be the standard for PDF apps. There are many pros to using Acrobat, including the rich features provided by the software. However, there are also some cons to consider.

Pros for Adobe Acrobat

  • You can utilize text indexing to perform quick searches.

  • Your entire team can get involved with commenting and sharing that is cloud-based.

  • The mobile apps for Acrobat offer full editing features.

  • A photo you take on your phone can be converted into a PDF file.

  • Perform searches across multiple PDF files.

  • Collect signatures on a PDF and keep up with its progress through the desktop app.

  • Easily upload documents and send invitations to request signatures.

  • Create a font based on the font of your document, which you can then use to revise your text. This allows you to use old or outdated fonts without having to update the entire document or search for the font yourself.

  • Insert animated transitions that are presentation-style when moving from one page of a PDF document to the next.

  • The interface is easy to use with a left-hand sidebar that displays your thumbnails, bookmarks, and any attachments.

  • When you scan in a document, you can align the page numbers of your PDF file with the page numbers on your scanned document.

  • You can access shared PDF files from anywhere using the Document Cloud.

  • Export PDF files to other formats as needed.

  • Reorder the pages of your PDF document simply by dragging the thumbnails into your desired position.

  • Adjust the spacing between words and letters to fine-tune your document or make edits without disrupting the appearance of the page.

  • Security features allow you to protect your document and any sensitive information.

  • The mobile version of Acrobat lets you access many of the PDF viewing and editing features as the desktop app for users on the go.

Cons for Adobe Acrobat

  • The biggest drawback of Adobe Acrobat is the price. For individual users, the software costs $14.99 per month, which equals $179 each year.

  • The software does not include proofreading tools that are found in other PDF software options.

  • The software has been known to crash if it is left open for long periods. Also, if you perform multiple sessions with different PDF files open at once, you may experience a crash or a lag.

  • There are a lot of features available with Acrobat, but they are not all easy to use or easy to find. It may take a considerable amount of time searching and practising to understand all of the features available.

  • Depending on your device, this software can take up hard drive space.

Adobe Acrobat Alternatives

Adobe Acrobat may be the standard for PDF software, but it is not the only option available to individuals and businesses today. There are a variety of Adobe Acrobat alternatives that offer the features you need to manage and edit PDF documents. Keep reading to learn about some of the top options for Adobe Acrobat alternatives.

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

1. Nitro Productivity Suite

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

Nitro Productivity Suite offers a variety of features to create and convert PDF files. You can move your workflows to the digital world to reduce the amount of printing you need and make your processes more efficient. The software praised for its usability and user-friendly navigation.


  • Create PDFs

  • Edit PDFs

  • Convert PDFs

  • Merge PDFs

  • Annotate PDFs

  • Unlimited eSigning

  • Create PDF forms

  • Protect PDFs

  • Collaboration tools

  • Work from anywhere with the cloud

  • Analytics

  • Customer support

Price: $159 per user for a 1-year subscription

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

2. Foxit PhantomPDF

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

Foxit PhantomPDF offers a variety of features that enable you to create PDF documents, convert, and modify them. The program designed to be user-friendly and straightforward to navigate, including intuitive commands and shortcuts that are similar to Microsoft Office. Collaboration tools allow your entire team to work within the same PDF documents.


  • PDF editor

  • Organize PDF files

  • Annotate PDFs

  • Share PDFs

  • Collaborate on PDFs

  • RPA-ready

  • Create forms

  • Convert PDFs

  • Scan documents and edit scanned documents

  • Encrypt PDFs

  • Redact information

  • Sign PDFs

  • Section 508 compliant

  • Cloud-based PDF editor

Price: Foxit Phantom PDF Standard 9 is $129 per user for a 1-year subscription. Foxit Phantom PDF Business 9 is $159 per user for a 1-year subscription.

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

3. PDF Architect

Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

PDF Architect is arguably one of the most cost-friendly alternatives to Adobe Acrobat. You can access a wide range of tools and features for a fraction of the cost of Adobe’s software. For individuals and businesses who work with PDFs regularly but do not require all of the rich features of Acrobat, PDF Architect is a great alternative.


  • Create PDFs

  • Edit PDfs

  • Insert or merge files

  • Convert PDFs

  • Review PDFs and annotate

  • Create forms

  • Protect documents with passwords

  • Set permission for Secure and Sign

  • Optical Character Recognition

  • E-sign

Price: There is a free version of PDF Architect 7 that offers limited features. You can purchase the Standard package for $49/year, or upgrade to more features with the Professional package for $55/year, or the Pro + OCR package for $89/year.


Adobe Acrobat: Overview and Alternatives

The PDF software you choose should meet the unique needs of your business. Whether Adobe Acrobat is the best solution, or you prefer an alternative, your business must be able to carry out all of its necessary tasks for creating and editing PDF files. If you are looking for support in setting up a vendor for PDF software and managing your subscriptions, contact IT Block.

IT Block is the leader in IT services for Singapore. In addition to the many IT solutions provided by IT Block, you can enjoy vendor management. Keep all of your vendors organized, including your PDF software, and get the assistance you need to set up new vendors with IT support in Singapore from IT Block.

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