Last Updated: June 15, 2022
Having a hard time deciding between Acrobat Standard vs Pro? If so, you’ve landed on the right article.
Adobe Acrobat is one of the most well-known names in the PDF software market. It offers several different editions of its PDF editors but two of the best and commonly used are Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro also known as Acrobat Standard DC or Acrobat Pro DC.
But what’s the difference between these two versions? Which one should you choose and why?
In this article, I am going to cover exactly that as well as comparing both in terms of features, pricing, and compatibility to help you make an informed decision of picking the right edition for your PDF projects.
Read more to find out why it’s my personal recommendation and how both versions compare against each other.
Acrobat Standard vs Pro: Key Differences
Acrobat Standard is designed for Windows only and it offers essential PDF features to create, edit, sign, and convert PDF documents, while Acrobat Pro is a complete PDF solution for both Windows and macOS, and it includes all the features of Acrobat Standard plus many more.
The major differences between both versions are the access to features, pricing, and compatibility.
Acrobat Standard is a bit cheaper than Acrobat Pro but it doesn’t include access to advanced features and is only available for Windows only, not macOS.
On the other hand, Acrobat Pro is slightly more expensive than Acrobat Standard, but it’s a complete PDF solution that gives you access to advanced tools and features to take your PDFs to the next level and it is compatible with both Windows and MacOS.
Although Acrobat Standard works on Windows only and Acrobat Pro on both Windows and macOS, this doesn’t mean they are limited to only desktop.
Both of these versions work on desktop as well as mobile, tablet, and online on the web so you can view, create, and edit your PDF documents from any device.
So that’s all there’s to need about the differences between Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro.
Now, let’s get into the details of what features both have to offer, how much they cost, and their compatibility with all the operating systems.
Features are the most important factors to consider when it comes to choosing between Adobe Acrobat Standard vs Pro.
Before I get into the details, here’s a side-by-side comparison of both versions so you can get the most important details right away.
|Standard DC||Pro DC|
|Fill & Sign PDF||✓||✓|
|Convert to PDF||✓||✓|
|Convert from PDF||✓||✓|
|Send for Feedback||✓||✓|
|Advanced mobile editing features||✓||✓|
|Store Files In File Hosting Services||✓||✓|
|Turn PDFs into fillable forms||✓||✓|
|Acrobat Pro Features:|
|Convert images to PDFs||✓|
|Prepare a Form||✓|
|Redact and remove sensitive data||✓|
|Create and verify PDF accessibility||✓|
|Scan PDF with OCR||✓|
|MacBook Pro touch bar support||✓|
|Actions & Scripts to PDFs||✓|
|One-click Creation of Rich PDFs||✓|
|Bates Numbers in PDFs||✓|
|Create technical PDFs||✓|
|Are you Ready?||I choose Standard DC||I choose Pro DC|
By looking at the side-by-side comparison of Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro features, you have got an idea of what’s included in both versions.
Now let’s get into the details to get a good understanding of how each of these features works.
Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro both include the following features:
- Create PDF – Create a PDF document out of any file type, from Microsoft Files to images and Google Docs. Alternatively, you can simply design your PDF documents from scratch using Adobe templates.
- Edit PDF – Edit PDFs by adding text, images, comments, and more. You’ll also be able to combine and split files. Acrobat includes full-page editing, automatic formatting, and built-in spellcheck to keep your documents looking professional.
- Export PDF – Rapidly export PDF files into different file types including Word, PPT, Excel, and image files. You can also convert PDFs into JPG, PNG, or TIFF files.
- Share PDF – Boost collaboration by sharing your files over email with one click and one link. Anyone can review and comment on your file from any device, in any browser, and they don’t need to sign up for Adobe.
- Fill & Sign PDF – Rapidly add your own signature and crucial contact details to documents with the automatic “fill and sign” option before sending a form. Adobe Sensei detects the right fields for automatic filling in seconds too.
- Stamp PDF – You can add a stamp to a PDF for branding or compliance purposes. Creating your own custom stamps is simple too. Dynamic stamps obtain information from your computer and Identity panel so you can add dates and other details.
- Split PDF – Break large PDF documents down into smaller files with the “split” function. This ensures you can share only specific parts of any file. You can also specify the number of pages for each file, file size, and top-level bookmarks.
- Organize Pages – It only takes a few clicks to organize the pages in your PDF to make the experience clear and concise. You can delete pages, rotate them, reorder pages, or remove pages entirely to create a new document.
- Combine Files – If you have multiple files you need to place in a single document, use the “Combine” feature to merge multiple files. You can merge different file types, as well as existing PDFs.
- Convert to PDF – You can easily convert Word, PPT, Excel, and HTML documents, and print to PDF too. You can choose an entire web page or scanned document, or just a portion to create a PDF.
- Convert from PDF – If you need to transform an existing PDF document into a different file type, you can convert your PDF within Acrobat. You’ll also be able to split your documents while converting them.
- Send for Feedback – Sending your PDF to other users for comments is quick and easy with just one click in Acrobat. Just use the “Share with Others” icon on desktop, mobile, and online to collect and consolidate comments.
- Add Comments – You’ll also be able to add comments to PDFs, to help guide other collaborators in your team. You can use highlighters, underlines, strikethroughs, sticky notes, and freehand drawings to add information.
- Protect PDF – Users can lock PDFs to prevent others from copying, editing, or printing them, or unlock PDFs to remove passwords. You can choose to specifically restrict editing in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, or add a password to your file.
- Track Documents – When sending documents for e-signatures and comments, you can also track responses in real time. You’ll get real-time updates when files are opened or comments are added, and you can send reminders or create deadlines.
- Recognize Text – Users can make scanned text editable. This means you can scan a document, and change the text within Acrobat. The service also works with new PDFs in other applications like Microsoft Word.
- Request Signature – Send a document to other users for signing, complete with a dedicated signature box. You can track your documents to see which are waiting on signatures, and which have been signed, and store those files automatically.
- Certificate Signatures – Users can add certificate-based signatures with a digital ID in Acrobat or Adobe reader.
- Applying Watermark – Watermarks will allow you to prevent other users from simply copying your documents without giving you credit. You can apply a watermark to a specific page, or all the pages in your file.
- Advanced mobile editing features – Adobe Acrobat comes with dedicated mobile apps for commenting on and sharing PDFs on the move. There’s also a mobile scanning feature for collecting documents, receipts, and whiteboard images.
- Store files in file hosting services – Acrobat comes with access to the Adobe Document cloud, which allows you to store your files in the cloud to access anywhere.
- Turn PDFs into fillable forms – Convert a PDF into a fillable form with specific text boxes for users to complete. You can move text files around, change headings, insert buttons, delete, add, and drag and drop fields too.
Acrobat Pro Features
Here are the features included only in Acrobat Pro:
- Compress PDF – Compressing your PDF makes it easier to share and store larger documents without taking up a lot of space.
- Compare Files – Quickly compare two PDFs with side-by-side visualizations. You can also apply filters to see what’s changed by content type, annotations, text, images, and formatting.
- Convert images to PDFs – You can convert JPG, PNG, and whiteboard images into PDFs, or turn paper documents into PDF files by snapping a photo with the PDF Scan app on your phone.
- Measure PDF – Grids allow you to accurately line up text and objects in a document, with access to powerful measuring functionality. The Measurement panel shows current measurements, delta values and scale ratios.
- Prepare a Form – Transform a scan or simple form made with Microsoft software into a PDF with signature fields and calculations. Acrobat automatically recognizes static form fields and turns them into fillable fields.
- Redact and remove sensitive data – Using the “Redact” tool, you can mark points of data for redaction. Acrobat will allow you to choose text, images, and pages to remove specific pieces of information.
- Create and verify PDF accessibility – The “Accessibility” tool verifies whether your document conforms to accessibility standards like WCAG 2.0 and PDF/UA. You can also use Accessibility Reports to summarize the findings of the check.
- Scan PDF with OCR – Acrobat uses OCR technology (Optical character recognition) to intelligently recognize words and convert scanned documents into text. The system will also match the fonts from the initial document.
- MacBook Pro Touch Bar Support – Touch bar support allows you to scan through documents quickly and organize your PDFs with minimal complexity.
- Actions & Scripts to PDFs – Using the “Actions” tab, you can assign actions to take place when a link or bookmark is clicked, or when a page is viewed. For instance, bookmarks could allow users to jump to certain parts of a document.
- One-click Creation of Rich PDFs – To create a rich document in one click, you can convert an existing file, preserve your format, and design choices, and implement interactive elements like fillable fields.
- Action Wizard – The Action Wizard in the “Tools” section of Acrobat allows users to define actions automatically. A list of available actions will be displayed under the Actions list in the right-hand side of the tool.
- Preflight – The Preflight tool examines the contents of your PDF to determine it’s eligibility for production. You can also specify a range of other conditions for the system to check for.
- Rich Media – Pro allows users to insert rich media files like video, sound, flash documents and more into PDF documents. Acrobat will automatically convert the file into a format readable by Adobe.
- Bates Numbers in PDFs – Bates numbering assigns unique identifiers to each page in a collection of documents for quick indexing. You can assign each page its own number, or a combination of letters and numbers.
- Create Technical PDFs – Create technical documents containing memos, graphics, web pages, proposals, and other pieces of media in one PDF.
- PDF/X-, PDF/A-, and PDF/E-compliant files – Use Adobe to ensure your file will work in a range of formats with the Acrobat Distiller. You can also convert PDFs to a standards-compliant PDF using the Standards wizard.
Making the right choice between Acrobat Standard DC and Acrobat Pro will come down to your personal requirements.
If you’re only in need of essential PDF functionality, the Acrobat Standard will have more than enough features to suit your requirements.
However, you may need to consider Acrobat Pro if you’re looking for something more advanced, like the ability to compress PDF, compare files, convert images to PDFs, remove sensitive data from PDFs, use rich media, and more.
Features – Winner: Acrobat Pro DC
No doubt, Acrobat Pro is the winner here. It offers a much wider array of advanced features than the Standard version.
But, which one is cheaper between these two versions?
Unsurprisingly, Acrobat Standard is less expensive than its more feature-rich alternative, Acrobat Pro.
Acrobat Standard DC has different prices depending on whether you’re paying on a monthly or annual basis, it costs:
- Month-to-month: $22.99 if paid on a monthly basis. No annual commitment required.
- Yearly, billed monthly: $12.99 (155.88 yearly, requires annual commitment).
- Yearly, billed upfront: $155.88.
Please note, these subscriptions are for Windows only since Acrobat Standard DC is available only for Windows.
Acrobat Pro DC, on other hand, also has different prices depending on whether you’re paying monthly or annually, it costs:
- Month-to-month: $24.99 if paid on a monthly basis. No annual commitment required. Yearly, billed monthly: $14.99 monthly (179.88 yearly, requires annual commitment).
- Yearly, billed upfront: $179.88 per year.
Acrobat Standard DC and Acrobat Pro DC are also available for businesses or enterprises to purchase multi-licenses at discounted rates.
Alternatively, if you’re already using a range of Adobe tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and more then perhaps one of the cheapest ways to access Adobe Acrobat is with the Creative Cloud.
The Adobe Creative Cloud starts at $54.99 per month for access to more than 20+ Creative Cloud apps, including Acrobat Pro, Lightroom, Dimension, Scan, Illustrator, InDesign, and many others.
Pricing – Winner: Acrobat Standard DC
Clearly, the Standard version is the cheapest option available, but you may be able to get more value out of the Pro version, particularly when you consider the small difference in pricing.
However, if you’re the user of multiple Adobe tools then I recommend getting the Creative Cloud subscription instead of Acrobat Standard or Pro plans.
The type of Acrobat subscription you choose may depend on your operating system and available hardware.
However, they both can be accessed on the browser and are compatible with Android and iOS as well.
Okay but, what about the system requirements?
For Acrobat Standard DC, the system requirements are:
- Processor: 1.5GHz or faster
- OS: Windows only
- RAM: 2GB minimum
- Hard disk space: 4.5 GB minimum
- Monitor resolution: 1024 x 786
- Browser: Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, or Chrome
- Graphics card: Video hardware acceleration (optional)
For Acrobat Pro, the system requirements are:
- Processor: 1.5GHz or faster, Intel Processor, or M1 Apple Silicon processor
- OS: Windows or Mac
- RAM: 2GB minimum
- Hard disk space: 4.5 GB minimum on Windows or 2.75GB on Mac
- Monitor resolution: 1024 x 786
- Browser: Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome
- Graphics card: Video hardware acceleration (optional)
Compatibility – Winner: Acrobat Pro DC
Even though both are compatible with mobile, tablet, and browser, Acrobat Pro is compatible with macOS as well as Windows, while Acrobat Standards only works with Windows.
Adobe Acrobat Standard and Adobe Acrobat Pro are both feature-rich solutions ideal for those who use PDFs on a regular basis.
Both will offer access to a range of features for creating and converting PDFs, however, they do have some significant differences.
Acrobat Standard DC is intended more for people who only use PDFs on a semi-regular basis. You can convert and create your PDFs, add signatures, and track documents, but your advanced capabilities are limited.
Acrobat Pro DC gives you a lot more freedom to experiment with removing and redacting sensitive data, preparing fillable forms, and ensuring PDF accessibility. Moreover, it’s the only option for Mac users because the Standard version is compatible with Windows only.
Let’s wrap up this article with a few final suggestions.
Acrobat Standard DC is better for you if:
- You have a Windows PC.
- You only need essential PDF creation tools.
- You want to keep costs slightly low.
- You’re not concerned about accessibility, or creating standards-compliant documents.
Acrobat Pro DC is better for you if:
- You want a complete PDF solution that is compatible with both macOS and Windows.
- You need advanced PDF features and tools.
- You don’t mind paying a few bugs extra.
- You create documents that need to be accessible or compliant.
- Your forms are more complex.
I’d recommend Acrobat Pro for people who want the most possible control over their PDF documents, while Acrobat Standard is a great choice for those who need essential features to just create, edit, convert, and sign PDF documents.
Hopefully, now you can easily pick the right version between Acrobat Pro vs Standard based on your preferences, operating system, and budget.
Got any questions or want to share your personal thoughts? Please, feel free to comment below!