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When Will Acrobat XII (Acrobat 12) Be Released, and What's New?

What Do You Want to See in Acrobat XII? (Version 12)

[UPDATE (April 2015) – The next major release of Adobe Acrobat – the new Acrobat DC – is now shipping… Download a free trial!]

It’s been a while now since Acrobat XI was released, and considering Adobe usually runs on two-year release schedules for this product, give or take, what does this imply for when Acrobat XII (Pro/Standard/Reader version 12) will be coming out?

Ordinarily, our best estimate would be simply to go with the release dates for the past few major revisions of Acrobat and then extrapolate.

Well, Acrobat 8 came out on November 2, 2006 – Acrobat 9 arrived on June 25, 2008 – Acrobat X launched on October 18, 2010 – and finally Acrobat XI was released on October 15, 2012.  So a bit of basic math would project the Acrobat XII release date to be sometime during this month, in October 2014.  But clearly that hasn’t happened.

Fortunately at the big Adobe MAX Conference earlier this month, the CEO Shantanu Narayen tipped off when Acrobat XII is coming out…

Here’s a key part of what he revealed at the MAX Analyst Briefing:

As all of you know, we have a really great business with PDF. And, what’s really happened is that PDF and Acrobat continue to be defacto standards for collaboration and workflows. I like to say that PDF has won – even with mobile devices, the amount of content creation that’s happening on mobile, the amount of content sharing that’s happening.

We have a major new product release expected in the first half of Fiscal Year 2015 …

OK, Adobe’s fiscal year 2015 is when? It actually starts in December 2014, and then runs through to November 2015. We don’t think Acrobat XII will ship during the holidays, so we expect to see the new Acrobat version arrive some time in the new year 2015… And “the first half” comment means it should be out by the end of May 2015.

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If you’re wondering what new features will be in Acrobat 12, then read on below. But if you can’t wait until release day to see (and try) it, then register your interest in a possible Acrobat XII public pre-release program. There are no guarantees on being accepted if/when it opens, but it’s free and easy to sign up so it’s worth a try. The application is open for Acrobat, Adobe Reader, or both. Adobe’s goal with pre­release programs is to receive customer input on product usage and new features, plus learn about any early issues to help produce a tool that’s better for everyone.

What’s New in Adobe Acrobat XII?

So what might actually be in Acrobat 12, that’s new, different and improved from version 11? Obviously Acrobat has been around for a while – more than 21 years in fact, and could be termed a mature product – so this is an interesting question…

Adobe’s CEO gave hints to this as well:

I think we have a unique opportunity to take all of the assets that we have – what we’ve done with Reader Mobile, what we’ve done with – and deliver a really integrated offering around everything that we have to do with document workflows.

What the new version does is bring together all of our deskop products, all of our mobile products, things that we’ve done with Mobile Link that enable you to share your Acrobat file seamlessly across devices – as well as to make sure that we integrate new services, not just CreatePDF, but also all of our signing services. We also want to attract new users to the ecosystem with the low entry price points of Acrobat subscriptions.

So I think the message here is, we have real permission right now and a franchise to expand our footprint and extend our brand. And again, we’re pretty excited about what we’re doing with our new Acrobat release in Fiscal 2015, which we think will keep our growth and leadership in document services moving forward.

Naturally there could also be enhanced tie-in with Adobe’s Creative Cloud platform which has really grown lately – in addition to broadening support for mobile devices and tablets.  Updated support for the latest Windows/Mac operating systems with both Acrobat Pro/Standard as well as Adobe Reader XII is another safe bet – and we can also hope for native 64-bit support within Acrobat for improved performance on modern hardware.

In addition, Adobe is likely to incorporate user suggestions coming from their public Acrobat Feature Request forum – where you can (and should!) leave your feedback as well, for what you’d like to see.  Or, you can enter your remarks in the comments below and we’ll pass them along…

New Focus on Subscriptions vs. Perpetual Versions

Compare Versions: What’s the Difference Between Acrobat XI vs. X vs. 9?

The CEO’s quote about growing Acrobat subscriptions is noteworthy – because just recently in their online store, Adobe made a big change to refocus customers towards monthly subscriptions, rather than purchasing the traditional software outright.  It has become much more challenging to find where on Adobe’s site they are selling the perpetual versions of Acrobat – but rest assured, they are still offering them for now (at least for Acrobat XI, as of this writing).  So if a perpetual license is what you’re looking for, then you can still find them here.

It’s possible this shift by Adobe could be an indication of what’s to come next for Acrobat… But whether the company will continue to offer perpetual licensing for Acrobat XII, or whether the new release will become subscription-only (as what happened with the transition from Creative Suite to Creative Cloud), or if there will continue to be a choice between the two, we simply don’t know for sure yet.

One great thing about subscriptions is anyone who signs on now will get Acrobat XI immediately plus free future upgrades (e.g., version XII) included for the duration of your membership.

Grace Period for a Free Upgrade to Acrobat XII

On the other hand, people who start using the current release of Acrobat now (with a traditional license) have up to a 60-day window in which to receive a free upgrade to Acrobat XII, if it is released during that time…

That’s because of Adobe’s Return/Exchange Policy for direct purchases, which enables customers to easily swap out whatever they bought for a newer version within a set period of time after a recent purchase.

You can read more about this here:

Do I Qualify for a Free Adobe Upgrade?

So either way you go now – perpetual or subscriptions – your Adobe order comes with some degree of insurance to get a free upgrade to the new version when it comes out, depending on the timing.

Stay tuned! We are watching all these developments closely and will be sure to keep you updated.

[UPDATE (March 2015) – The next version of Acrobat has been unveiled by Adobe, and you can download a free trial here!]

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24 thoughts on “When Will Acrobat XII (Acrobat 12) Be Released, and What's New?”

  1. You mention above: “So if a perpetual license is what you’re looking for, then you can still find them here.”

    When you follow your link to the purchasing page, the only options you get is to subscribe.

    So, to answer the question, will future Acrobat version be available in both virtual shrink-wrap and subscription? Looks like it’s tilting toward subscription only.

    My guess is that governments and educational organizations will be eligible for their standard licenses, but single users may forced to subscribe if the want the latest Acrobat Pro.

    • Hi Mikokim, thanks for your comment. Those are good questions, but we simply don’t know the answer yet for Acrobat XII, if both perpetual vs. subscriptions will be available… So anything we could offer in response would simply be a specula­tion about the next version.

      What we can say for sure is that you can still buy a traditional perpetual license and serial number for the current release, Acrobat XI – or a subscription. All customers still have both options.

      As to why you can’t see the different product choices on Adobe’s Acrobat Store page, we can’t say. We just did it and we see the following when clicking “Buy” on any Acrobat 11 product:

      I want to buy: (choose)

      So perhaps try with a different web browser and/or computer? Did you actually click “Buy” on that page to see the different options available? (“Full” and “Upgrade” are for the standard licenses.)

      The only other thing we can think of is if Adobe already took away the perpetual choices in your particular geography, but we think that’s unlikely.

  2. ProDesign

    About the link to the Acrobat Store page: I guess I’m not seeing what you are seeing — I would attach a screenshot if I could, but when I land on that link I get Acrobat XI Pro 14.99 per month at the top, followed by Acrobat XI standard 11.99 per month followed by Adobe Export PDF 23.88 per year etc…

    If I click any buy option, I’d begin CC. For me, nowhere do I see Full, Upgrade, Subscription options. Sorry — either you’re posting a wrong link, or you have privileged access to another page. :D

    • No – did you actually try it?

      If/when you click the “Buy” on that page, then you’ll get to select the type of product you want – subscription or perpetual (using the “I want to buy:” option) – and then select “Add to Cart” to add your chosen product to your shopping cart.

      (Don’t worry, your credit card is entered at the very end when you check out, if you choose to purchase anything.)

      Please, when you try it, you’ll see. Then, let us know. Otherwise, we’re not going to get anywhere.

  3. Hi again — yes I clicked Buy and only saw Subscription for Acrobat XI Pro or Standard. However, then I noticed a small down arrow that does give you selection options. Sneaky; instead of check boxes, you get subscription by default. Anyway, my bad — I tried it but didn’t see the drop-down menu at first.

    Anyway, so it looks, for now, they still offer a “traditional” version for purchase. Sorry about the confusion.

    • No worries Mikokim – glad to hear you found it, and thanks for letting us know!

      By the way, Adobe has always had that dropdown menu there to select whether you wanted “Full” or “Upgrade” (that’s not new); just now they’ve added the new option for “Subscription” – which you’re right is the new default, likely because the price displayed is a lot lower.

  4. So in other other words:

    – we don’t know when it’ll come out
    – there’s nothing new
    – it’ll cost more and you have to subscribe to it

    All part of the classic Adobe experience!

    • No, not really Art – in fact what Adobe actually said was:

      – Acrobat XII will definitely be released next year.
      – Some of what’s new is hinted in the article above, and the rest will be revealed when the new version ships (as is customary).
      – Product pricing and license availability (i.e., one-time upfront vs. monthly membership) are yet to be announced.

      Hope that’s clearer.

  5. I hope Adobe will finally add the ability to make links within a pdf open in a new browser tab. Right now this can only be accomplished with a javascript that doesn’t work on many devices.

    If you have a 10mb pdf file full of links to other pdfs open in your browser, you need those links to open in new windows rather than the original window. Lots of people are asking for this feature, let’s hope Adobe listens.

  6. If Adobe adopts an Acrobat subscription-only model it will lose my business. I’ve been a user of Acrobat Pro and LiveCycle Designer for quite a while, as well as an Adobe Premiere user since v5.0. Nevertheless, my next purchase of video editing software will not be Premiere (currently I’m on a perpetual CS6 license). The same would be true for Acrobat. There are some good alternatives to Premiere available but not so many for Acrobat at the moment. However, I hope that some viable options will emerge for users like myself. That said, I’m not a professional user – so I don’t carry much weight in terms of Adobe’s customer profiling!

  7. I hope 2 features will work better in Adobe XII

    – Easy, one-click fonts-to-curves conversion and as an option to do it automatically when producing a PDF file via Adobe PDF printer. In Acrobat XI you have to create PDF first, then embedd invisible watermark in it and only then transforming fonts to curves may happer properly.

    – Security across different devices. Now if I block changes and printing and secure file with a password, I can’t open that file on iPad – every app asks for password and won’t even open file even after providing a proper password. Besides, there is no option to block printing but to allow other changes. There are very few protection options to choose from!

  8. I have wondered because i got many emails regarding acrobat XI, why do they offer it at this time so many times !?
    I gave adobe a call, they cant say anything about acrobat version xii – only when i buy i will get the upgrade to xii for free.

    The thing is, i own Acrobat 9 Standard and if i wait for Acrobat xii then i cant upgrade to this version because only the last two versions work for an upgrade.
    So i need perfect timing to buy the upgrade to XI PRO, and then get the free Upgrade for XII within the 60 days period.

    And they told me i have to be active – when i buy a in few weeks/months the upgrade to XI Pro and i will get a free upgrade to XII Pro, i have to give them a call! Otherwise nothing will happen!

    • Yes, that’s the way it works with Adobe’s grace period for a free upgrade

      Once you buy the current product, you have a 30-day window to return or exchange it. If the next release comes out during that month-long window, then you basically get a free upgrade to the newer version instead.

      However, as you noted, that is mostly some guesswork or luck on the timing! Hopefully the article above helps a bit on that.

      For someone who is not upgrading from Acrobat 9 like you (which is a unique situation because of the two-versions-back upgrade limitation), then it may be better to just to wait a bit to when Acrobat XII comes out, if possible. Or get started with the 30-day Acrobat XI free trial in the meantime.

      Otherwise, the easiest/simplest thing to do is get Acrobat Pro via subscription, and then there is no issue on timing because you’ll automatically get all ongoing upgrades at no extra cost (including Acrobat XII) as soon as they’re available.

  9. subscription is not an option for me – sorry!

    When they once announce the new version, then can i still buy version XI ?

    Or is the announcement day = the same for buying, and i would get only the new Acrobat XII version ?

    I think the new release will be coming in june/july – i am waiting for the perfect timing :D

    • Well, to wait until June or July 2015 for Acrobat 12 to come out would definitely be too late…!

      Adobe said clearly in their most recent conference call that the new Acrobat XII version would be released in the first half of Fiscal Year 2015:

      The Document Services business continues to grow. PDF and Acrobat remain the de facto standards for document creation and collaboration. In fact, we have more than 1 billion cumulative downloads of Reader on desktop and mobile. In FY14 we drove strong year-over-year and sequential growth in Document Services ARR, primarily due to strength in the adoption of Acrobat ETLAs and subscriptions.

      We have introduced new mobile and cloud capabilities to increase usage of our document creation, sharing, and EchoSign electronic signature services. We have permission to expand our footprint and extend our brand in these areas, and are excited about a major update in the first half of FY15.

      For Adobe, that period finishes at the end of May 2015.

      So, you should expect Acrobat 12 to be shipping by that time. And once they make the announcement, they will switch over everything in the store and it may not be possible to buy the previous version any longer, if that’s what you’re trying to do with your upgrade.

      Hope that helps!

  10. Hope that there will be a “traditional” version, i.e., perpetual license for Acrobat XII.

    But, it seems that this is very less possible.

    We have the 9 and XI. But I work mainly on Acrobat 9. the XI is only for occasional use: the fact that we cannot set only one line toolbar in XI drives me crazy…

    • Just thinking more about this – it’s possible that “Acrobat Next” (whatever the next version is ultimately called) could be launched in conjunction with the next major release of Creative Cloud, since Acrobat is one of the major applications included and bundled within.

      That upgraded product line – “CC 2015” – should be coming out sometime this spring. Comparing historically, CC 2014 was announced on June 18th, 2014, and CC 2013 was unveiled on June 17th, 2013.

      (No guarantees of course; this is just one idea, and it’s possible the next version of Adobe Acrobat could be shipping sooner than that.)

      [UPDATE: March 17th – The next version of Acrobat has been announced!]

  11. @Mappi75

    Adobe prefers to steer professional customers toward their LiveCycle products, which are licensed on a ‘per-CPU’ basis (one license per two CPU cores). For light users, there’s Acrobat, which will limp along on one core.


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