Adobe Acrobat: Is It Worth the Investment for PDF Editing?

 

Overview and Pricing

Adobe Acrobat is widely recognized as a leading PDF editor, available across macOS, iOS, iPadOS, Windows, Android, and the web. While Adobe offers a free version, the true power of Acrobat is unlocked through its paid subscriptions. The Standard plan costs $12.99 per month, providing essential PDF editing tools, while the Pro version at $19.99 per month includes advanced features for power users.

Pros and Cons

Pros:
– Cross-platform compatibility
– Advanced PDF manipulation tools
– Supports collecting signatures from other users

Cons:
– The Mac app can be bloated and slow
– The free version is limited compared to macOS’ built-in tools
– Paid subscriptions are expensive with no one-time purchase option

User Experience and Interface

When you open Adobe Acrobat on your Mac, you’re greeted by a Home view filled with non-dismissable ads and task prompts, which can clutter the interface. The sidebar provides shortcuts to shared files, signed agreements, scans, and connected cloud storage. However, the app can lag, even with simple tasks like scrolling through a PDF on a MacBook Air M2.

Limitations of the Free Version

The free tier of Adobe Acrobat offers basic annotation tools, similar to Apple’s Preview app, which often performs better. Preview automatically detects form fields for easy filling, whereas Acrobat requires manual alignment. Preview also offers free tools that Acrobat paywalls, such as PDF page organization, password protection, and document scanning.

Benefits of the Paid Version

Subscribing to Adobe Acrobat unlocks comprehensive PDF editing capabilities. The paid versions allow for extensive text and media edits, document layout reorganization, and enhanced collaboration features like form filling, signature collection, and feedback gathering. Advanced tools include object measurements, accessibility preparation, and search index insertion.

Conclusion

Adobe Acrobat is a powerful PDF editor, but its value depends on your needs. For basic tasks, macOS’ built-in Preview app might suffice. However, for professional PDF management requiring advanced features, Adobe Acrobat’s paid versions are among the best options available, despite their high cost.