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adobe acrobat pro review cover

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC For Mac & PC Review

Last updated:
Adobe Acrobat DC Pro is the ultimate PDF document editing, creation, scanning and signing software for Mac users. If you're already an Adobe Creative Cloud user, it's an essential add-on.
Pros:
Very powerful PDF editing tools
Also available as a one time purchase
Accurate OCR scan support
Great for digital signing
Works natively on M1/M2 Macs
Cons:
Latest version requires a subscription
Non-pro version not available for Mac
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When it comes to anything to do with PDFs, Adobe are still the masters having invented the Portable Document Format over 20 years ago.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC has gone from being the only application that opened PDF files to by far the best PDF editing software for Mac when it comes to creating, editing and digitally signing PDFs too.

We think it’s also easily the best OCR software for Mac and better than it’s closest rival ABBYY FineReader Pro because it offers far more PDF management tools.

It’s also one of the few Adobe products that you can still buy as a one time purchase without needing a Creative Cloud subscription.

Adobe Acrobat Pro also works natively on Apple Silicon Macs with the M1, M2 and M3 chips meaning performance is now optimized for these Macs.
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What Does Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Do?

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC has evolved from a humble PDF reader into an incredibly powerful PDF management system designed to meet the needs of the modern digital workplace.

Nowadays, Adobe Acrobat is used for everything from signing legal documents, managing a paperless office to OCR scanning, converting PDFs to other formats and editing documents.

The “DC” stands for Document Cloud and reflects the way that Adobe Acrobat has now moved much of its functionality online.

Adobe Acrobat DC actually comprises of 3 components:

  • Adobe Acrobat DC: Allows you to edit PDFs on your computer or mobile device.
  • Adobe Document Cloud: Allows you to create PDFs, export them and request electronic signatures. You can access this in any browser on your Mac too. There’s also an Enterprise version of Adobe Document Cloud which is aimed at corporations and governments that want to go completely paperless.

adobe document cloud mac - manage documents

  • Adobe Reader DC: Read, print and sign PDFs.

Adobe Acrobat DC is also integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud which is about as powerful as it gets when it comes to graphic design, video editing and image editing on Mac.

Creative Cloud is particularly attractive at the moment with discounts of 60% for students and educators.

The interface of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC has been streamlined over the years to be clean, easy to manage and use.

There are lots of popular actions along the right hand margin such as Create PDFs, Combine PDFs, Send a PDF for review, Sign a PDF and more.

adobe acrobat pro dc review - main menu

It also gives you access to files that are saved in Adobe Document Cloud but also third party services such as Microsoft OneDrive and Box.

You can open multiple PDF documents in separate tabs so you can work on several at once. You can also turn other formats into PDFs from different file types such as Microsoft Office documents, photos, scanned documents and HTML.

You can also encrypt sensitive documents or add passwords to open them with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

When you’re done with a document, you can send it as an email attachment directly from the Adobe Acrobat DC or send a link that anyone can open.

If the document needs to be signed, you can also tailor exactly which users will be asked for a signature when they open it.

The other thing that Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is used for is OCR scanning.

This enables you to use a document scanner to turn a PDF into a searchable document which is extremely useful if you want to create a digital paperless office.

It’s also a way to turn a PDF into an editable document that allows you to change elements such as text, images and layout.

adobe acrobat pro ocr mac

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC also allows you to compare two versions of a PDF so that you can see what edits or changes have been made to two very similar documents.

adobe acrobat dc review - compare pdfs

What’s The Difference Between Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat DC?

It’s important not to confuse Adobe Acrobat Reader with Adobe Acrobat DC. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a more basic PDF tool which allows you to open and read PDF documents.

It also allows you to search documents, add comments and digitally sign them. However, it doesn’t allow you to create PDFs from scratch.

For that you need Adobe Acrobat Pro DC which allows you to go much further and create PDFs, add multimedia, interactive elements and much more.

The other big difference is that you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader on Mac for free but Adobe Acrobat DC requires a subscription although you can download a free trial.

Is Adobe Sign Included In Adobe Acrobat Pro DC?

Adobe Acrobat DC does allow you to sign and request digital signatures of documents. To sign documents, you’ll need the Adobe Sign mobile app which is included in an Adobe Acrobat DC subscription.

Adobe Sign is the best way to digitally sign a PDF on Mac and also allows your customers to make payments as they fill-in and sign forms thanks to built-in integration with Braintree and PayPal.

adobe sign ipad

Does Adobe Acrobat Work On M1 & M2 Macs?

Adobe Acrobat works natively with Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs although you have to enable native mode in the settings.

To enable Adobe Acrobat to work in native mode on M1 Macs go to Acrobat > Preferences and select the General tab in the left hand pane.

At the bottom of the General settings, check the box Enable native OS mode for optimal performance.

adobe acrobat m1 mac

Note that older Twain-based scanners do not work with Adobe Acrobat in optimized OS mode and you must deselect optimized mode if you have one.

There are also other limitations to be aware of and for more, check out how to install Adobe Acrobat on M1/M2 Macs.

How Much Does Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Cost?

Adobe Acrobat Pro costs $19.99 a month if you pay annually up front.

If you choose to pay month-to-month it’s $29.99 although you can cancel at any time.

Note that Adobe Standard DC is cheaper at $12.99 per month but unfortunately Adobe Standard DC is not available for Mac users.

If you use other Adobe products such as graphic design software or video editing software, it makes more sense to get a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription which includes Adobe Acrobat.

This is especially true if you’re a student or educator as you can get 60% off the entire Creative Cloud suite.

You can also try a free 7 day trial of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to judge it for yourself.

Can You Buy Adobe Acrobat As A One Time Purchase?

You can buy a non-subscription version of Adobe Acrobat Pro but it’s only for Acrobat Pro 2020.

The desktop version of Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 is still available for Mac and Windows as a one-time purchase for $538.00 as a perpetual license.

adobe acrobat pro one time purchase

Windows users can also purchase Adobe Acrobat Standard 2020 as a one time purchase for $358.00 but the Standard version is not available to Mac users.

Students and Teachers can get Acrobat Pro 2020 even cheaper with a lifetime license although not directly from Adobe anymore.

However, the 2020 version of Acrobat Pro does not include any quarterly Acrobat feature updates and does not allow you to access premium Adobe Document Cloud services such as Acrobat Sign via web browser or mobile device.

For more on the differences between the two products check out our look at Adobe Acrobat Pro 2020 vs Acrobat Pro DC.


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