One of the most frequent upgrade questions we get is what’s new, what’s different, or what’s changed between the new release of Acrobat and previous versions? Adobe Acrobat DC 2016 just launched today, and if you’re counting numerically (… 9, X, XI, DC 2015, DC 2016), then this is the 13th major release of one of Adobe’s biggest products with over 30 million customers. So put simply, what are the major new features and advancements in the 2016 Release of Acrobat DC (Pro or Standard), versus DC 2015, or 2012’s Acrobat XI or even 2010’s Acrobat X?
When the Document Cloud first arrived a year ago – and Acrobat DC 2015 along with it – there were some significant changes to how the software was purchased… While the desktop Acrobat Pro/Standard tool is still sold standalone with a perpetual (or “Classic”) license, many of the newer 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.
And just to clear up three very common misconceptions about Acrobat DC (and Reader DC) for Windows and Mac: Many folks seem to believe that the programs 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 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 ]
But anyway, back to the facts. Below are some of the key changes to the upcoming Acrobat DC 2016 release compared to DC 2015. See this page for all changes to the Acrobat product line since Acrobat XI and X, or scroll further down this page for a detailed version-by-version comparison… All current subscribers to either Acrobat DC or the Creative Cloud All Apps plan will automatically receive these new updates when they are released in May:
|Acrobat DC 2016 New Features||Subscription||Standalone|
|Modern user interface (new dark gray option)||X|
|New storage integrations with Box and OneDrive||X||X|
|Modern commenting and annotation experience||X|
|Next-generation Adobe Sign mobile companion app*||X|
|Modern interface for Scan tool||X|
|64-bit thumbnail previews in Windows||X||X|
|PDFMaker for PowerPoint 2016 (Mac OS)||X|
|Accessibility improvements for menus & dialogs||X||X|
|Enhanced OCR capabilities around the world||X|
|Change default font for PDF editing||X|
|Camera Scan to PDF improvements||X||X|
|Get started with quick tips and walkthroughs||X|
|Deploy using Creative Cloud Packager (CCP)||X|
* Note: The eSign/EchoSign services and capabilities within Acrobat and the Document Cloud have been rebranded to Adobe Sign, and simplified in both the name and the experience. Adobe Sign delivers a significantly upgraded and modernized companion mobile app.
For more information on each of these 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 30-day tryout of the new tools. The minimum system requirements for Acrobat DC 2016 remain 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 2016 vs. previous releases – just click to see the complete chart below:
Bottom line, Adobe Acrobat DC 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 30-day trial.
To learn more see the excellent Acrobat DC FAQ or check out the free Acrobat DC tutorials.
Finally, in honor of Earth Day, we present “Twelve Ways to Make your Office Paperless” – which offers some terrific ideas, including the Resource Saver Calculator:
- 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 200+ new courses from Adobe MAX
- What’s the difference between Acrobat DC vs. 2017?
- Free Adobe Stock! Download 1,000,000+ top 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.
17 thoughts on “Compare Versions: The Differences Between Acrobat DC vs. XI vs. X”
This is a great summary I have not seen before. Always wondered what all the differences are.
I have had to use a hack/workaround for home use and many corporate users to keep the right-hand pane to not pop up every….time….you….open….a……PDF.
Has this finally been fixed with an option in BOTH versions so that it can be set to not come out until you need it? Users find this extremely annoying.
Yes. The Acrobat & Reader DC update back in July 2015 introduced a UI change for the right-hand pane… Since then when you launch Acrobat DC, it retains the last state that you set (either collapsed or open) of the tools in the right-hand pane.
For Reader DC, it’s a fixed Preference located under Edit > Preferences > Documents “Open Tool pane for each document”.
You can find more details on this page:
How to Hide the Tools Panel Permanently in Adobe Acrobat/Reader DC
Thanks for your question and the kind words. Hope that helps!
Appreciate the comparison guide for Acrobat versions. Looking to purchase Adobe Acrobat Pro for my business, 32 users in total.
Can you please advise how this can be done and what are the costs?
Sure. It sounds like you want Creative Cloud for Teams, which Adobe designed for up to 150 simultaneous users of their software at your site…
You can get just the single application you want, like Acrobat Pro:
Just select “Single App” and then look for “Acrobat Pro DC” on this page for the complete purchase information and pricing quote.
With that plan you’ll get all the new features and ongoing upgrades – plus the full complement of included Document Cloud and Sign services, if you want to take advantage of that.
If you have any further questions, feel free to post back.
Where is the “Acrobat DC 2016 trial” direct download link?
Hi Amiya, welcome back. That’s a good question. Adobe unveiled Acrobat DC 2016 yesterday, but the new product is not shipping just yet…
The company says it will be released in May, so we’ll have the direct links here as soon as they’re available next month. Stay tuned!
Acrobat Pro DC (15.010.20060) requires being online to convert pdf to docx. Is there a way to do this offline?
To answer your question: No, it is not required to be online in order for Acrobat DC to convert from PDF to Microsoft Office file formats – including Word/doc/docx. The conversion works just fine in the desktop application, without being connected to the Internet.
When is going to be released Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2016?
The new 2016 release of Acrobat DC will come out and be shipping this month – Adobe says this:
“The new Acrobat features will be automatically available to subscribers of Acrobat DC in May 2016.”
if this is the 2016 acrobat, why is the filename of the installer showing 2015?
Yes, that surprised us as well – but at this time, for some reason, Adobe has decided to continue with the same (original) base installer of Acrobat DC and bundle in all the additional updates issued to date (of which there are many)… All together, it comes to the 2016 Release of Acrobat DC.
Very detailed, I can clearly see the difference between Acrobat XI vs DC vs X
Is there an upgrade path for users that already own the PRO version but not the PRO DC version? Maybe a better way of asking is there a discount for those of us who own the non DC version and want to upgrade?
Hey Bruno, do you mean you want to upgrade a standalone/perpetual (“classic”) version of Acrobat Pro, instead of purchasing a subscription?
If so, the answer is yes – see: http://www.UpgradeAcrobat.com/
But be aware that, as described in the article above, many of the newest features in Acrobat DC are not available without getting the subscription (“continuous”) version.
I was asking if there was a discount available off the monthly subscription price for folks that have purchased the classic version of Acrobat? Like an incentive to move to the document cloud version.
Sorry, there are no longer any upgrade discounts from older Adobe software to the subscription tools like CC or DC – that promotion ended in 2015.
The only real discounts that continue for Creative Cloud and Acrobat are for the Student & Teacher Editions.