Adobe Acrobat has undergone a tremendous evolution in recent years. When the new Acrobat “DC” generation first arrived in 2015, people weren’t quite sure what to make of it. But now, almost four years later with several major releases plus fully-integrated mobile apps for PDF management, document scanning, and electronic signatures, the Document Cloud has arrived and most of us wonder how we ever got along without the workflow productivity it brings.
While the desktop Acrobat Pro/Standard product is still sold standalone with a perpetual – or “Classic” – license, most of the newest capabilities and services are only available via the Acrobat DC subscription – or “Continuous” – bundle. It’s called “Continuous” because subscribers receive all ongoing product upgrades as soon as they are available, ensuring you are always running the latest-and-greatest software with the complete featureset.
The latest Continuous release is Acrobat DC 2020, which runs US$13-15/month for an annual subscription (either Standard or Pro). The most recent Classic release was Acrobat 2017, which costs US$300-450 to purchase upfront.
One of the most frequent upgrade questions we get is what’s different between the latest release of Acrobat and previous versions? What are the major new features and improvements in the current 2019 Release of Acrobat DC (Pro or Standard) versus Acrobat 2017, or even Acrobat XI from 2012, which is past ‘end-of-life’? For over 30 million Acrobat customers worldwide, it’s important to understand the differences…
First, just to clear up three very common misconceptions about Acrobat DC (and Reader DC) for Windows and Mac: Some folks believe that the programs only run online in the cloud (rather than on your desktop), can only work when your computer is connected to the Internet, or that users are required to store their PDF files online in the secure Document Cloud. But just like with the Creative Cloud, all three of these myths are false.
[ What’s the difference between the editions? See: Acrobat DC Pro vs. Standard vs. Reader ]
And now back to the facts. Below are some of the key changes to the Acrobat DC 2019 release compared to Acrobat 2017. This list is not complete, but these are many of the important highlights. Please see this page for all changes to the Acrobat product line since Acrobat XI, or scroll further down this page for a detailed version-by-version comparison…
|Compare Acrobat Subscription vs. Standalone||Acrobat DC||Acrobat 2017|
|Work with Acrobat on the desktop (Windows/macOS)||X||X|
|Modern user interface, with choice of light or dark theme||X||X|
|Open multiple PDFs in a single window with tabbed viewing||X||X|
|Edit text and images right in your PDF||X||X|
|Create PDFs and export to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint||X||X|
|Compare two versions of a PDF to review all differences||X||X|
|Scan paper to editable PDFs with fonts matching the original||X||X|
|Turn any document into a form you can fill, sign, and send||X||X|
|Auto-fix photos to remove backgrounds, adjust perspective||X||X|
|Integration with Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and Google Drive||X||X|
|Access and view PDFs on a tablet or smartphone||X||X|
|Digitally sign, certify, and verify documents||X||X|
|Full access to premium Adobe Document Cloud services||X|
|Share links of PDFs for viewing, reviewing, and signatures||X|
|Send, track and confirm delivery of documents electronically||X|
|Create and export PDFs on your mobile device||X|
|Edit PDF text & organize pages on your iPad or Android||X|
|Collect e-signatures from others and track responses live||X|
|Improved OCR capabilities around the world||X|
|Unified Share experience across desktop, mobile + web||X|
|100GB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, and Adobe Fonts||X|
|MacBook Pro Touch bar and Windows Surface Pro support||X|
|Regular releases with new & improved product features||X|
For more information on all of the new features (and more), you can get the details here. As you can see, most of the latest features are available only on the subscription (continuous) track.
For those who wish to try before buying, be sure to take advantage of the free 7-day tryout of the new tools. The minimum system requirements for Acrobat DC 2019 remain largely the same as before. On Mac, Acrobat DC is a native 64-bit application – while on Windows, Adobe supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.
Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books for a limited time!
And as promised, here is the itemized version-by-version, feature-by-feature comparison of Acrobat Pro/Standard DC 2019 vs. previous releases – just click to see the complete chart below:
Acrobat Pro DC with Document Cloud services gives you the most complete PDF solution for today’s multi-device, connected world. Subscribe to get the latest PDF tools to create, convert, edit, protect, sign, and share PDFs across your computer, mobile device, and web browser. Plus you always get the latest innovations with new features and services as soon as they are available, at no extra cost. With Acrobat Pro DC, you can stay connected and productive wherever you work and easily collaborate with others on any device. And it’s from Adobe, the leader in secure digital documents for over 25 years.
Bottom line, Adobe Acrobat DC 2019 looks like a smooth and solid upgrade that will make your life easier, help you get more done, and save you some time. Want to see for yourself? Just download and install the free 7-day trial.
- What is new Acrobat “DC” – and the Document Cloud?
- What are the differences between Adobe CC vs. CS6?
- Download free Adobe books (choose over 30 titles)
- Free! Watch 350+ new courses from Adobe MAX
- How to save 60% with the Student & Teacher Editions
- Free Adobe Stock! Download 70,000 premium images
Do you have any questions about Acrobat? Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!
Keep up with the latest on Adobe software — follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to our RSS feed… You can also enter your email and have new articles sent directly to your Inbox. We are reader-supported; when you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.