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Adobe Acrobat Pro: A Review of Its Performance and Reliability

adobe acrobat

Adobe Acrobat Pro stands out as a leading PDF editor, equipped with an array of advanced tools designed for editing, converting, sharing, and securing documents. As part of Adobe Document Cloud’s Value Incentive Plan (VIP), Adobe Acrobat Pro emerges not only as a powerful solution for PDF manipulation but also as a comprehensive tool for digital document management. This functionality extends beyond the capabilities of the free Adobe Reader, marking it as an essential tool for professionals looking to manage PDFs effectively.

This review will cover the key aspects of Adobe Acrobat Pro, from its user-friendly interface to its advanced features such as PDF editing, document collaboration, and security measures. We will also delve into its integration with other Adobe tools, assess its performance, and discuss the pricing and various subscription models available. With its established presence in the market as the original PDF editor, Adobe Acrobat Pro continues to be the go-to pdf software for those needing to edit PDFs, sign PDFs, and ensure robust document management across platforms.

adobe acrobat

Key Features Overview

Adobe Acrobat Pro is renowned for its comprehensive suite of features that cater to various PDF-related tasks. Here’s an overview of its key functionalities:

Edit and Customize PDFs

Adobe Acrobat Pro allows users to directly edit text and images within PDF documents without the need for additional software. This includes the ability to:

  • Add, delete, or modify text and images.
  • Rotate, crop, and resize pages to adjust layout and visuals.
  • Merge multiple PDFs into one document or split a single PDF into multiple files.

Create and Manage PDFs

Creating and managing documents is streamlined with features that support both personal and professional use:

  • Use pre-designed templates or create custom templates for repeated use.
  • Organize pages by dragging and dropping to reorder them.
  • Convert various file types to PDF, ensuring consistent formatting across devices.

Collaboration and Review

Adobe Acrobat Pro enhances team collaboration with tools designed for efficiency:

  • Add comments, highlights, and annotations to documents.
  • Track changes and revisions from multiple reviewers.
  • Share documents securely with team members and control access levels.

Enhanced Security Features

Security is a paramount feature, with options to:

  • Protect documents with robust password encryption.
  • Apply redactions to sensitive content, removing it securely from documents.
  • Manage access controls to restrict editing, printing, and copying of PDFs.

Integration and Accessibility

Seamlessly integrate with other Adobe tools and enhance accessibility:

  • Link with Adobe Creative Cloud for a smoother workflow across Adobe applications.
  • Ensure documents meet accessibility standards, making them usable for people with disabilities.

Advanced Tools for Professionals

For advanced users, Adobe Acrobat Pro offers tools that extend beyond basic PDF editing:

  • Embed audio, video, and interactive elements into PDFs.
  • Utilize OCR technology to convert scanned documents into editable and searchable PDFs.
  • Perform detailed document comparisons quickly and effectively.

Signatures and Forms

Streamline administrative tasks with easy-to-use signature and form features:

  • Create custom forms for data collection and distribute them electronically.
  • Utilize Adobe Acrobat Sign for secure e-signature gathering and tracking.

Document Conversion and Export

Adobe Acrobat Pro supports a wide range of file conversions:

  • Convert PDFs to and from Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and image formats.
  • Export PDFs to HTML to create searchable, accessible websites.

Table: Key Feature Summary

Feature CategorySpecific Capabilities
EditingText and image modification, page arrangement, file merging
PDF ManagementTemplate use, conversion to/from various formats, page organization
CollaborationCommenting, markup tools, document sharing and access control
SecurityEncryption, redaction, access restrictions
IntegrationCompatibility with Adobe Creative Cloud, accessibility features
Professional ToolsAudio/video embedding, OCR, document comparison
Forms and SignaturesForm creation and distribution, e-signature management

This comprehensive feature set makes Adobe Acrobat Pro a versatile tool for users looking to manage documents efficiently and securely. Whether for personal use or within professional settings, its capabilities facilitate a wide range of document handling tasks.

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User Interface and Experience

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC’s user interface has elicited mixed reactions from users, particularly those using macOS systems. Many have experienced significant performance issues, including lag and slow scrolling, which seem to persist regardless of the PDF file size or the computer’s hardware capabilities. Despite attempts at troubleshooting by deleting preference files or disabling online storage features, these efforts have not successfully resolved the concerns. These performance issues are particularly frustrating for users with powerful setups, including external GPUs, as the software appears to underutilize available hardware resources, leading to high CPU usage during basic operations like scrolling and commenting.

Performance Issues on macOS

  1. Persistent Lag and Scrolling Issues: Users report that the lag and slow scrolling on macOS occur irrespective of the PDF’s size.
  2. Unresolved User Complaints: The problem has been ongoing for over two years, with little to no optimization improvements noted.
  3. High CPU Usage: Even on computers equipped with eGPUs, the GPU remains idle, and CPU spikes significantly when performing tasks within Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Workaround Solutions

Some users have discovered temporary solutions to mitigate these issues:

  • Switching to Read Mode (Ctrl-H): This action temporarily improves scrolling performance, even after returning to the normal view.
  • System Adjustments: Users have tried disabling certain features and adjusting settings, though these are not long-term solutions.

User Interface Feedback

On the other hand, the new user interface (UI) introduced in the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat Pro has been described as inconvenient and confusing by several users. The inability to revert to a ‘legacy’ interface and issues with settings like dark mode not being retained have been particularly bothersome. Users have expressed a desire for a more intuitive and user-friendly interface that incorporates real user feedback into its design.

Table: Summary of UI Concerns and Suggestions

Issue DescriptionUser Suggestion
Inconvenient and poorly organized new UIAllow users to revert to the classic interface
Problems with dark mode and interface settingsImprove stability and retention of user settings
Repetitive tour panel and inflexible UI optionsEnhance customization options for a better user experience

Despite these challenges, there are aspects of Adobe Acrobat Pro’s interface that have been well-received. The tabbed interface allows for easy navigation between documents, and the integration of tools in a single pane simplifies the user experience. Features like the Touch Bar integration for MacBook Pro users and improved DirectInk technology for more natural writing and drawing on documents highlight Adobe’s commitment to enhancing productivity and user interaction.

Positive Interface Features

  • Tabbed Browsing: Each PDF file opens in its own tab, making document management more straightforward.
  • Tool Integration: Tools are conveniently located in a single pane, with customization options available for frequently used tools.
  • DirectInk Technology: Offers enhanced pen tool capabilities for a more natural writing experience on touch-enabled devices.

In conclusion, while Adobe Acrobat Pro offers powerful tools and features for PDF management, the user interface and experience on certain platforms, especially macOS, need significant improvements to match the expectations and needs of professional users. The feedback from the user community highlights the need for Adobe to prioritize optimization and customization in future updates to retain its position as a leading PDF software tool.

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Creating and Editing PDFs

Adobe Acrobat Pro, integral to Adobe Creative Cloud, offers robust capabilities for creating and editing PDFs, making it a vital tool for users ranging from professionals to casual document handlers. Its features are designed to facilitate ease of use while providing comprehensive options for document management.

Step-by-Step Guide to Editing PDFs

To edit a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro, follow these straightforward steps:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat and navigate to ‘File’ in the menu.
  2. Select ‘OPEN’ and choose the PDF file you wish to edit.
  3. Click on the ‘Edit PDF’ option visible in the right pane.
  4. Utilize the available Acrobat editing tools to modify the document as needed.
  5. After making the necessary changes, save the edited PDF to ensure all modifications are retained.

Comprehensive Editing and Management Features

Adobe Acrobat Pro simplifies the PDF editing process, allowing users to:

  • Add or modify text and images directly within the document.
  • Rearrange, delete, or add new pages through an intuitive interface.
  • Merge multiple files into a single PDF or split a document into several files.
  • Compress PDFs to reduce file size without losing quality.
  • Use built-in spellcheck to ensure text accuracy.

Advanced Editing Tools

For more detailed editing needs, Adobe Acrobat Pro provides features such as:

  • Full page editing which automatically adjusts paragraphs and formatting.
  • The ability to find and replace text across the entire document.
  • Options to add links, headers, footers, and watermarks to enhance the professional appearance of documents.

Document Organization

Organizing PDF pages is made efficient with the ‘Organize Pages’ feature, allowing users to:

  • Easily drag and drop pages to reorder them.
  • Create, use, and customize templates for repeated document styles and layouts.

Table: Editing and Document Management Capabilities

Text and Image EditingDirect modification within the PDF, including full-page edits.
Document Merging and SplittingCombine or divide PDFs as required.
PDF CompressionReduce file size for easier sharing and storage.
Spellcheck and Text ReplacementEnsure textual accuracy and consistency across documents.
Page OrganizationReorder, add, or delete pages using simple drag-and-drop actions.

By leveraging these tools, Adobe Acrobat Pro users can efficiently manage their PDFs, ensuring high-quality outcomes that meet professional standards. The software’s integration with Adobe Creative Cloud enhances its accessibility, allowing users to perform edits from any location, further simplifying the document management process.

What is Adobe Acrobat Pro

Collaboration and Sharing Options

Adobe Acrobat Pro revolutionizes the way teams collaborate on documents by offering comprehensive tools that enhance productivity and streamline communication. Here are the key features that make Adobe Acrobat Pro an essential tool for collaborative work:

Real-Time Collaboration and Sharing

Adobe Acrobat Pro enables multiple users to work on the same PDF simultaneously, making it easier to coordinate on projects without the hassle of multiple versions. Users can share PDFs and engage in real-time by adding comments, notes, or drawings, accessible from any computer or device. This immediate interaction boosts efficiency and ensures all team members are on the same page.

Cloud-Based Document Management

With cloud-based shared PDF editing, team members can access and edit documents from anywhere in the world. This flexibility is crucial for businesses with remote employees or those who travel frequently. The cloud functionality also means that changes are saved and synchronized in real-time, providing everyone with the most current version of the document.

Version Control and Document Tracking

Version control is a critical feature in Adobe Acrobat Pro, allowing users to track changes made to the document. This feature records every edit, providing a comprehensive history of revisions which is essential for maintaining document integrity and auditing changes. Users can review previous versions and easily revert changes if necessary.

Enhanced Communication with Annotations and Comments

Adobe Acrobat Pro’s annotation tools are robust, enabling users to mark up documents as needed. This feature is particularly useful for educational settings or project reviews where detailed feedback is necessary. Users can leave comments, highlight text, and even use @ mentions to direct attention to specific parts of the document, ensuring that feedback is clear and actionable.

Security and Access Control

After collaboration, securing the document is straightforward with options to set passwords or use certificates for protection. This security measure ensures that sensitive information remains confidential, accessible only to authorized personnel. Additionally, document access can be customized, allowing users to set who can view, edit, or comment on the document.

Table: Summary of Collaboration Tools in Adobe Acrobat Pro

Real-Time EditingMultiple users can edit the same document simultaneously.
Cloud-Based AccessAccess and edit PDFs from anywhere with an internet connection.
Version ControlTrack changes and access previous versions of the document.
Annotations and CommentsAdd detailed feedback directly on the document.
Secure SharingSet passwords and manage document access levels.

These collaboration and sharing options provided by Adobe Acrobat Pro not only enhance the workflow but also foster a collaborative environment that can adapt to the demands of modern workplaces and educational settings. By leveraging these tools, organizations and individuals can achieve greater productivity and ensure that their documents are managed efficiently and securely.

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Security and Document Protection

Adobe Acrobat Pro is equipped with robust security features designed to protect documents and maintain confidentiality, especially in environments where data sensitivity is paramount. Here’s an in-depth look at the security measures provided by Adobe Acrobat Pro, ensuring that users can manage and distribute documents with confidence.

Comprehensive Document Protection

Adobe Acrobat Pro offers multiple layers of security to safeguard your documents from unauthorized access and tampering:

  1. Password Protection: Users can add password protection to PDFs, restricting who can open, view, or edit the documents. This is essential for handling sensitive information securely.
  2. Redaction Tools: For documents containing sensitive data, redaction tools are available to permanently delete specific content. Users can redact entire pages, search for and redact specific texts or phrases, and sanitize documents to remove hidden information like metadata.
  3. Encryption: Adobe supports 256-bit AES encryption, providing a high level of security for your documents. This encryption ensures that sensitive information remains protected from unauthorized access.

Enhanced Security Features

To further enhance document security, Adobe Acrobat Pro includes several advanced features:

  • Security Warnings: When a PDF attempts to perform a restricted action from an untrusted source, Acrobat provides security warnings to alert the user.
  • Trusted Locations and Files: Users can specify trusted locations and files, exempting them from certain security restrictions and streamlining workflow without compromising safety.
  • Microsoft Information Protection (MIP): Acrobat and Acrobat Reader 2020 support viewing MIP-protected PDFs, enabling secure handling of documents across different platforms and devices.

Customizable Security Settings

Adobe Acrobat Pro allows users to tailor security settings according to their specific needs:

  • Document Access Control: Users can set permissions to restrict how a PDF can be used, such as disallowing printing, editing, or copying of content.
  • Security Settings Removal: If security settings are no longer needed, they can be easily removed from PDF documents, allowing for flexibility in document management.

Table: Key Security Tools in Adobe Acrobat Pro

Security FeatureFunctionality
Password ProtectionPrevents unauthorized access by requiring a password to open or edit the document.
Redaction ToolsRemoves sensitive information permanently for privacy compliance.
EncryptionSecures documents with 256-bit AES encryption, safeguarding against unauthorized access.
Enhanced Security SettingsIncludes security warnings and the ability to specify trusted locations and files.
Customizable Security SettingsAllows users to apply and remove security settings based on the document’s requirements.

These security features of Adobe Acrobat Pro ensure that all PDFs are handled with the highest security standards, suitable for personal use or within organizational compliance frameworks like GLBA and FERPA. By utilizing these tools, users can protect their documents effectively while maintaining flexibility in how they are accessed and managed.

Integration with Other Adobe Tools

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC offers seamless integration with a variety of Adobe applications and services, enhancing its utility across different creative and professional workflows. Here’s how Adobe Acrobat Pro connects with other tools within the Adobe ecosystem:

Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes applications like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator. This integration facilitates a smooth workflow for users who rely on multiple Adobe applications for their creative and business projects.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan: This plan includes Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, allowing users to utilize it alongside other Creative Cloud apps seamlessly.
  • Single App Availability: For users who do not require the full suite of Adobe tools, Adobe Acrobat Pro is available as a standalone application. This flexibility ensures that users can choose a plan that best fits their needs without the necessity for a full Creative Cloud subscription.

Enhanced Workflow with Creative Cloud

If users experience issues with file synchronization between Adobe Acrobat and the Creative Cloud, there are straightforward solutions to enhance workflow:

  • Manual Syncing: Users can manually save their Adobe Acrobat files in the Creative Cloud files folder to ensure they are synced properly, providing a simple solution to any syncing issues.

Integration with Microsoft and Other Applications

Adobe Acrobat Pro is designed to work seamlessly not only with Adobe tools but also with essential daily use applications such as Microsoft 365, Teams, and Outlook. This integration ensures that users can work efficiently without leaving their frequently used platforms.

Table: Integration Features of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Creative Cloud IntegrationFull access in All Apps Plan, available as single app for flexible usage.
Syncing with Creative CloudManual syncing option available for seamless file management.
Microsoft 365 IntegrationSmooth operation with Microsoft tools for enhanced productivity.

This robust integration capability of Adobe Acrobat Pro with other Adobe tools and essential software ensures a streamlined workflow, making it an indispensable tool for professionals across various industries.

Performance and Speed

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, while a powerful tool for PDF management, encounters certain limitations in performance primarily due to its architecture and resource utilization. Here’s an analysis of its performance aspects and areas where improvements could be beneficial.

Processor and Memory Utilization

Adobe Acrobat DC Pro operates as a 32-bit application, which inherently limits its ability to utilize available RAM fully. This architectural choice restricts the software to using only one processor, which can bottleneck performance, especially when handling large or complex PDF files.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Utilization

One significant area where Adobe Acrobat Pro could enhance its performance is in its utilization of the GPU. Currently, the software does not effectively use the GPU, which is a critical component in speeding up graphic-intensive processes. This underutilization results in slower rendering times for PDFs that contain high-resolution images or complex graphical elements.

Potential for Performance Improvement

The introduction of 2D Graphics Acceleration, particularly for macOS users, could significantly improve the speed and smoothness with which PDFs are rendered and managed. This feature would leverage the GPU more effectively, reducing the load on the CPU and potentially decreasing the overall system resource consumption.

Software Resource Demand

Adobe Acrobat Pro is known for its high RAM usage, which can impact the performance of other applications running simultaneously on the same machine. This is a consideration for users who multitask with several applications or who use devices with limited memory resources.

Table: Summary of Performance Limitations and Recommendations

Performance AspectCurrent LimitationRecommended Improvement
CPU UtilizationLimited to one processor, 32-bit applicationUpgrade to 64-bit, multi-processor utilization
GPU UtilizationDoes not effectively utilize GPUImplement 2D Graphics Acceleration
RAM UsageHigh consumption, limits multitaskingOptimize to reduce memory footprint

These insights into the performance and speed of Adobe Acrobat Pro highlight the need for architectural improvements and better resource management to enhance the user experience, particularly for professional settings where efficiency and speed are crucial.

Pricing and Subscription Models

Adobe Acrobat offers several subscription plans for individuals, teams, and students/teachers:Individual Plans:

  • Acrobat Pro DC: $14.99/month annually or $24.99/month with no annual commitment
  • Acrobat Standard DC: $12.99/month annually or $22.99/month with no annual commitment 

Team Plans:

  • Acrobat Pro DC for Teams: $16.99/license/month annually with an annual commitment 
  • Acrobat Standard DC for Teams: $14.99/license/month annually with an annual commitment 

Student/Teacher Plans:

  • Acrobat Pro DC for Students & Teachers: $14.99/month annually or $24.99/month with no annual commitment 
  • Creative Cloud All Apps for Students & Teachers: $19.99/month for the first year, then $29.99/month 

The key differences between Acrobat Pro and Acrobat Standard are that Pro includes additional PDF features like comparing documents, redacting sensitive information, and advanced e-signature capabilities. 

All plans include the Acrobat desktop software, mobile apps, and Adobe Document Cloud services for storing, sharing, and e-signing documents.  Subscriptions also receive regular feature updates and security enhancements.

Adobe offers volume licensing options for larger enterprises with complex deployment needs. They also emphasize the importance of security and data protection across their Acrobat products.Free Trials and Refund Policies

Adobe Acrobat offers a free trial for users to explore its editing features before committing to a subscription. If a user decides to cancel their subscription, a full refund is available within the first 14 days of an annual subscription.

Flexible Subscription Terms

For those who prefer flexibility, Adobe Acrobat Pro provides a monthly subscription plan with no annual commitment, allowing users to cancel anytime without fees. This option is particularly beneficial for short-term needs or for users who prefer not to commit to a full year.

Additional Costs

The AI Assistant, a new feature offered by Adobe, is available as an add-on for an additional cost. This tool enhances the capabilities of Acrobat Pro and Standard, offering advanced features like automated form filling and document analysis.

Enterprise and Team Solutions

Adobe Acrobat Pro for teams and enterprises offers customized solutions that include volume licensing and advanced administrative features. Pricing for teams starts at $16.29 per user per month, billed annually, with a minimum of five licenses required for the first year.

Special Considerations

It is important to note that prices can vary based on region and local taxes. Users should consult the Adobe website or authorized resellers for the most accurate pricing information in their specific region.

By offering a range of subscription options, Adobe Acrobat Pro caters to a diverse user base, ensuring that both individuals and organizations can find a plan that suits their document management needs effectively.

Comparing to Alternatives

Nitro Pro

  • Pros: A strong contender with similar feature sets to Acrobat Pro. Often considered more user-friendly.
  • Cons: Slightly less robust editing/conversion features. Still subscription-based, but potentially more affordable.

Foxit PhantomPDF

  • Pros: Another excellent Acrobat alternative, particularly for businesses. Offers advanced editing, collaboration, and security.
  • Cons: Can be pricier than Nitro Pro, especially for individuals.

PDFelement (Wondershare)

  • Pros: Well-rounded, providing strong PDF editing and conversion across platforms. User-friendly interface.
  • Cons: Not quite as feature-rich as Acrobat Pro in terms of more specialized functions.

Free Online Solutions

  • Pros: If you only need very basic PDF editing (combining, splitting, simple annotations), free online tools exist (e.g., Smallpdf, iLovePDF, Sejda)
  • Cons: Limited functionality. Potential for security concerns with sensitive documents, ad-supported platforms.


Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, through its myriad of features, positions itself as an indispensable tool in the landscape of digital document management. Our comprehensive review has illuminated both its strengths, such as robust editing capabilities, seamless Adobe ecosystem integration, advanced security measures, and innovative collaboration tools, and its areas in need of enhancement, notably its performance on macOS and resource utilization. This dual perspective underscores Adobe Acrobat Pro’s pivotal role in facilitating document management tasks while also highlighting the ongoing need for technical improvements to optimize user experience across various platforms.

Reflecting on the broader implications, Adobe Acrobat Pro’s alignment with both individual and enterprise needs, coupled with its flexibility in subscription models, underscores its relevance in today’s digital document ecosystem. The software’s ability to streamline workflows, secure confidential information, and integrate with critical applications speaks to its significant impact on productivity and document security. As Adobe continues to evolve and address the feedback from its diverse user base, Acrobat Pro remains a cornerstone for professionals seeking sophisticated document management solutions, with the potential for further enhancements to uphold and extend its market leadership.


  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Adobe Acrobat?
    Adobe Acrobat is praised for its robust features including PDF creation and editing, document editing and conversion, collaboration tools, document sharing, and OCR capabilities. However, it is also criticized for being expensive, resource-intensive, complex, and having compatibility issues along with a lack of advanced design features.
  2. How effective is Adobe Acrobat Pro for professional use?
    Adobe Acrobat Pro is highly regarded for professional use, offering additional tools not found in Acrobat Standard which can greatly enhance a professional workflow. While it is worth exploring, the Standard version may suffice for most users’ needs.
  3. What additional features does Adobe Acrobat Pro offer?
    Adobe Acrobat Pro includes all the features of Acrobat Standard plus more advanced options. These include turning scanned documents into editable, searchable PDFs, comparing PDFs to identify differences, redacting sensitive information, and branding agreements with logos and custom URLs.
  4. Why does Adobe Acrobat Pro come with a high price tag?
    The high cost of Adobe Acrobat Pro is attributed to its advanced capabilities and the professional standard it upholds, making it a valuable tool for serious users.
Daniel Long

Daniel Long

About Author

Daniel Long, as a writer, delves into the realm of emerging technologies and business solutions, with a particular emphasis on optimizing efficiency and fostering growth. He educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and he furthered his knowledge by attaining an MBA from Chapman University. This combination of expertise allows him to offer valuable insights into the ever-evolving business landscape.

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