Adobe’s .PDF file format has become the defacto standard for portability of documents. .PDF files are great because the easily allow people to create documents that are able to be viewed by anyone with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software. There are three version of Adobe Acrobat software and understanding the differences among these three versions is important in understanding what each piece of software can do.
Adobe Acrobat Reader – the Adobe Acrobat reader, often also called “Acrobat Reader” is a free program that allows you to open, or view, .PDF files. You can also print .PDF files from this free version. Acrobat reader does not allow you to edit .PDF documents, and does not allow you to create .PDF documents.
Adobe Acrobat Standard – this software is not free, and it allows you to perform a multitude of tasks with .PDF files including creating .PDF files, editing .PDF files, and applying security such as password-protection and printing/editing restrictions to created files. Acrobat standard will also add a button that will allow you to quickly create .PDF files from Microsoft Office, and allow you to merge multiple files into a package of individual .PDF files, or a single unified .PDF files.
Adobe Acrobat Professional/Professional Extended – these two versions add enterprise features to the existing feature set of Adobe Acrobat Standard, such as video features and the use of Adobe Live Cycle to create forms.
For most users who wish to create .PDF files and perform basic .PDF-file maintenance, Adobe Acrobat Standard is an appropriate choice.
The full list of feature comparisons for the Acrobat Software family is located on Adobe’s Web Site.
While Adobe Acrobat Standard is a great piece of software, it is expensive at around $200+ . Sometimes Acrobat Standard will come as packaged software with hardware such as higher-end scanners. For those of you who aren’t ready to make the leap to Acrobat Standard, but still want to create .PDF files, please see my post about creating .PDF files for free.