Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (2023)

TechRadar Verdict

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a good free PDF reader that does what it says on the tin: allows you to read PDF files and manipulate them to some degree. It’s just a shame Adobe felt the need to advertise the app’s paid-for big brother pretty much everywhere you look on the interface.


  • +


  • +


  • +

    Easy to use


  • -

    Keeps trying to get you to upgrade to the paid version

  • -

    Lots of tools aren’t free

  • -

    Can only read PDF files

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Jump to:

  • Reader DC vs Acrobat DC
  • Getting started
  • Reading experience
  • How to search
  • Memos, annotations, and highlighters
  • Signing documents
  • Final verdict
  • Scorecard
  • Should I try?
(Video) Baixar e Instalar o ADOBE READER DC corretamente Em Português Grátis

PDF, or Portable Document Format, is a file extension that you see everywhere. It’s highly popular because not only can you be fairly certain the recipient has some kind of compatible reader application on their device, but the layout information and even the fonts used are embedded in the PDF itself, meaning the document will look exactly as it had been created, no matter which machine it’s being viewed on.

Just the way it was designed for Adobe Acrobat, the very first PDF reader to launch back in 1993.

We’ve come a long way since, with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (opens in new tab) now the firm’s primary way to read PDF documents.

It's free to download, so let’s take a look at what you can do with it.

Explore our round-up of the best Adobe Acrobat alternatives for Windows, Mac, iPad, and more.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC vs Adobe Acrobat DC: What’s the difference?

First of all, it’s important to understand the difference between Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, and Adobe Acrobat DC.

Adobe Acrobat DC is a fully-fledged PDF editor that allows you to view, print, sign, annotate, search, create, edit, combine, and protect PDFs.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a PDF viewer - more limited in scope and features than Acrobat DC.

But since most casual computer users don’t need to create PDFs, or make changes to existing ones, having a top PDF reader to view, print, sign, annotate and search them might be the perfect solution for them.

The ‘DC’ appendix is Adobe’s attempt to drag PDF management into the 21st century. Document Cloud integrates a number of Adobe PDF and e-signature tools, offering cloud storage and online collaboration, and digital tools to streamline workflows.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: Getting started

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (1)

Once you’ve launched Acrobat Reader, you’ll be graced with a very sparse interface, with a sidebar on the left, some recommended tools at the top, and a list of recent PDFs you’ve opened.

Top left is a tab bar, although it doesn’t quite look like a tab bar. It’s currently on ‘Home’. Click on ‘Tools’ to see all the features you can use… but there’s a catch: even though it looks like you can use the ones with a little blue star next to them, and even though you can go as far as selecting files, the moment you activate the feature, you’ll be sent to pay for and download Reader’s bigger brother, Acrobat DC.

(Video) Baixar e instalar Adobe Reader 2022 em português (instalador offline)

Coming from one of the biggest app makers on the market, this is a bit disingenuous. We were not impressed.

Taking a look at the sidebar, you’ll find that most of the menus require you to sign in to your Adobe Creative Cloud account. However, you don’t actually need an account to do the basics such as seeing your recently opened docs, ‘Star’ them, to essentially pin them to the top of the list (or see them in the ‘Starred’ section), and access all files on your hard drive.

  • Easy start score: 3/5

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: Reading experience

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (2)

Once you’ve opened a PDF into Acrobat Reader, it’ll appear as a new tab, top of the interface. This means you can open multiple files at any one time. Create a whole new window with other tabs is also possible, although you’ll also generate a copy of the Home and Tools tabs for that window as well.

Use the Down and Up arrow keys to go to the next or previous page (should your PDF contain more than one). If the writing is too small for you, take advantage of the magnifying tool, combined with the Hand tool, so you can move around the enlarged page with ease. You’ll also find a rotate button if the document’s orientation isn’t right.

One of the buttons on the narrow sidebar on the left is an option to reveal page thumbnails (which you can increase or decrease the size of). This is a great way to scroll through a document to look for a specific page - as opposed to going through it one page at a time. But there’s also a faster method.

  • Reading score: 5/5

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: How to search

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (3)

If your PDF is properly formatted, you’ll be able use the magnifying glass icon located top left of the interface. This is a highly useful search feature, which can help you locate specific sections quickly without having to peruse page after page.

Don’t confuse that feature with the search field, top of the right sidebar. That allows you to find specific features within this app, or another (likely paid) one.

Speaking of the right sidebar, it’s mostly an advert for premium features, and even includes a big blue ‘Try Now’ button, and a ‘Free 7-Day Trial’ one at the bottom.

To be frank, this is borderline adware. We don’t tolerate it when small developers do it, so why should we accept it from one of the giants?

  • Search score: 4/5

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: Memos, annotations, and highlighters

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (4)

Another very useful feature is the ability to highlight sections of text (just like you would use a yellow highlighter on a physical document), or attach notes to specific parts of the page.

(Video) Acrobat PRO Course #1 - What is Acrobat Pro DC?

This is done with a couple of tools located to the right of the top toolbar. Just select either, and do what you need to do. It’s a great way to keep track of a document you’re analysing.

  • Tools score: 5/5

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: Signing documents

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (5)

You’ll find some editable PDFs, like those that need you to fill in some information in specific fields, or more simply, those that require a signature from you. Gone are the days when you’d have to print the document, sign it, scan it, and send it on. These are the days of eSign software.

To achieve this in Reader DC, click on the ‘Signature’ tool, and apply any saved signature wherever you need it to be on the page. If you haven’t got one saved, creating one is truly easy (or just type your initials). You even have the option of altering its size, and even change the colour of the ink if you like.

You also have the ability to share your document with others, including any notes you’ve made along the way, but this requires it to be uploaded to Adobe’s Cloud (that’s where the DC monicker comes in), and that means you need an account with them. The good news is, you can register for free and it appears you’re able to use this feature without paying for anything.

  • eSign score: 5/5

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: Final verdict

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is one of the best free PDF readers for anyone looking to view documents and manipulate them in some way - make notes, fill in forms, or sign a document, for instance.

But it is marred by regular requests for you to upgrade to the more powerful, premium Adobe Acrobat DC. If it wasn’t for all these ads, it would earn a far higher score. Still the app is multi-platform and robust enough. It’s worth adding it to your list of software, unless, of course, you find adware to be an irritant.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC scorecard

Swipe to scroll horizontally

AttributesNotesScore (out of 5)
Easy startAccessible, but designed to force upgrade3
ReadingEasy reading experience with enough tools to make it even more comfortable5
SearchGreat search functions - but look out for ads for premium features4
ToolsPacked full of tools5
eSignSimple eSignature functions5

Should I try?

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (6)

Try if…

You need a stable free PDF reader
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC offers an excellent PDF viewing experience without the cost.


Don’t try if…

You need a powerful PDF editor
Acrobat Reader DC can’t compete with Adobe Acrobat DC for features and editing tools - as the constant ads keep reminding you.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (7)

Steve Paris

Steve has been writing about technology since 2003. Starting with Digital Creative Arts, he's since added his tech expertise at titles such as iCreate, MacFormat, MacWorld, MacLife, and TechRadar. His focus is on the creative arts, like website builders, image manipulation, and filmmaking software, but he hasn’t shied away from more business-oriented software either. He uses many of the apps he writes about in his personal and professional life. Steve loves how computers have enabled everyone to delve into creative possibilities, and is always delighted to share his knowledge, expertise, and experience with readers.



Is Acrobat Reader DC good? ›

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: Final verdict

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is one of the best free PDF readers for anyone looking to view documents and manipulate them in some way - make notes, fill in forms, or sign a document, for instance.

Is there a difference between Acrobat Reader DC and Acrobat DC? ›

Acrobat Reader is Adobe's free PDF display software. Adobe Acrobat is a PDF creation and management software available as an annual subscription called Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (DC stands for Document Cloud). Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is periodically updated with new features and improvements.

What is the best alternative to Adobe Acrobat DC? ›

Top 10 Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat
  • Foxit PDF Editor.
  • Wondershare PDFelement.
  • Nitro PDF Productivity.
  • PDF-XChange Editor.
  • pdfFiller by airSlate.
  • PDF Studio.
  • Smallpdf.
  • FineReader PDF for Windows and Mac.

How do I fix Adobe Acrobat DC not responding? ›

1 Correct answer
  1. Check if an update is available for Acrobat using "Check for updates" option under "Help" menu, reboot the machine after installing update and try again. ...
  2. If that doesn't work, reset preferences for Acrobat using the steps given here: How to reset Preference settings in Acrobat.

Are there better PDF readers than Adobe? ›

The 15 Best Free PDF Readers
  • Foxit Reader.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.
  • Javelin PDF Reader.
  • Google Drive.
  • Nitro Reader.
  • PDF-XChange Editor.
  • MuPDF.
  • SumatraPDF.
3 Aug 2022

Which Acrobat Reader is best? ›

The best free PDF readers of 2022 in full
  1. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Best free PDF reader overall. ...
  2. Foxit PDF Reader. Perfect if you want to do more than just read PDFs. ...
  3. Slim PDF. A PDF reader that's super fast and super lightweight. ...
  4. Nitro PDF Reader. A feature-packed free PDF reader, full of handy tools. ...
  5. PDF-XChange Editor.
21 Nov 2022

Why do I need Adobe Acrobat Reader DC? ›

Adobe Acrobat Reader software is the free, trusted global standard for viewing, printing, signing, sharing, and annotating PDFs. It's the only PDF viewer that can open and interact with all types of PDF content – including forms and multimedia.

Does Adobe Reader DC allow editing? ›

With Acrobat Reader you can open, read and print PDFs, and fill out PDF forms. If you want to edit a PDF, convert a document to a PDF, or perform any other more complex tasks, consider purchasing or subscribing to Acrobat Pro.

Is Adobe Acrobat Reader DC really free? ›

Adobe Reader is free. You have to download it, though. There are two versions: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is a web-based reader. Adobe Acrobat Reader 11 is a stand-alone program that you install on your device.

What is replacing Adobe Reader? ›

There are more than 50 alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader for a variety of platforms, including Windows, Linux, Android, Mac and Android Tablet. The best alternative is SumatraPDF, which is both free and Open Source. Other great apps like Adobe Acrobat Reader are Foxit Reader, PDF Reader, Okular and Evince.

What has replaced Adobe Reader? ›

Top 10 Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Foxit PDF Reader.
  • PDF Reader Pro.
  • PDF Reader.
  • FineReader PDF for Windows and Mac.
  • PDFlite.
  • File Viewer Plus 3.
  • File Viewer Lite.
  • FreeFileViewer.

Do professionals use Adobe? ›

Over 90% of the world's creative professionals use Adobe Photoshop. illustrations, 23 million videos, 68,000 audio tracks, 5.3 million Premium assets, and over 750,000 free photos, vectors, videos, templates, illustrations, and 3D assets. Behance to find inspiration, showcase work, and get hired.

Why Adobe Reader is not working properly? ›

Update Acrobat Reader or Acrobat

Installing the latest updates might solve the issue. Open Acrobat Reader or Acrobat. Select Help > Check for Updates. If the Updater dialog box appears, click Yes.

Is Adobe Acrobat being discontinued? ›

Adobe Acrobat Pro XI and Adobe CS6 will be discontinued at UA on May 9, 2022.

Why Adobe Reader is the best? ›

Adobe Reader for Windows provides different reading modes, text highlighting, adding notes, filling forms, digital signatures, stamps, etc. Adobe's free PDF reader for Windows also supports a tabbed view, which means that you can open multiple PDF files simultaneously.

Is Foxit Reader better than Adobe? ›

Adobe Reader has more features than Foxit, including the ability to annotate PDF files and fill out PDF forms. However, Foxit is a more lightweight program, which can make it faster and easier to use. For users who only need basic PDF viewing capabilities, Foxit may be the more affordable option.

Which device is best for reading PDF? ›

Top 5 PDF eBook readers for Windows and Android
  • KITABOO. KITABOO is an interactive eBook reader for Windows and Android users that supports multiple formats, including PDF. ...
  • Aldiko eBook Reader. ...
  • Google Play Books. ...
  • PDFelement. ...
  • Kindle.
16 Oct 2022

Do I need both Acrobat Reader and DC? ›

Most people don't need both applications on the same system, almost everything that Reader does is available in Acrobat as well.

How can I edit a PDF without Adobe? ›

Alternative method for editing PDFs in Word
  1. Open Microsoft Word and click the ''File'' option.
  2. Choose the ''Open'' option.
  3. Now, select the PDF file you want to edit.
  4. Here, you can see a notification that your PDF file is converted into an editable format.
  5. Click ''OK'' and you are ready to edit the file.

What happens if I uninstall Adobe Acrobat DC? ›

Uninstalling does not affect any of the PDF files you have on your computer. Of course, you might not be able to open them unless you install some other PDF viewer, though.

Why can't I edit my PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC? ›

If the PDF file is password protected, you need to have the document open password and the change permissions password to edit the PDF/PDF Portfolio.

Why can't I edit text in Adobe PDF? ›

If you can only preview a PDF, it may be that you can't edit the file because the permission level is set to “read-only” or “view-only”. One way around this may be to export your PDF from Adobe Acrobat to another application like Microsoft Word, then resaving the file as a PDF in the Save As function.

Is there a free alternative to Adobe Acrobat DC? ›

IlovePDF is free and easy to use tool to work with PDFs. It is one of the best free Adobe Acrobat alternatives which allows you to split, merge, convert, watermark, and compress, PDF files easily. This Adobe Acrobat DC alternative app offers you to manage PDF document, in bulk or alone, over the web.

How do I get Adobe Pro DC for free? ›

Click Start your free trial below to begin downloading a trial version of Acrobat Pro DC software on your computer. Follow the on-screen instructions to sign in and install. (The trial version includes all desktop features of Acrobat Pro DC, plus a limited set of Acrobat online services.)

What is the best free version of Adobe Acrobat? ›

Best Adobe Acrobat Alternatives 2022
  • Soda PDF Anywhere (Get 65% discount) Image credit: Sodapdf. ...
  • Nitro PDF Pro / Productivity Platform. Image credit: Gonitro. ...
  • LightPDF. LightPDF User Interface. ...
  • Foxit Phantom PDF Editor. Image credit: Foxit. ...
  • PDF-XChange Editor. Image credit: Tracker Software. ...
  • Smallpdf. ...
  • PDF Studio. ...
  • Sejda.
29 Sept 2022

What does DC stand for in Acrobat DC? ›

Now the official names of the current lineup of Acrobat products are Acrobat Reader DC, Acrobat Standard DC, and Acrobat Pro DC. The DC stands for Document Cloud. Document Cloud is an optional online service that can enhance the functionality of Acrobat Pro, Standard, and Reader.

What is the difference between Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Reader? ›

In a nutshell, both the software applications are essential for viewing, printing, and searching through PDF documents, except the Adobe Acrobat is a more advanced version of the Reader with an extra ability to create, manipulate and edit PDF document.

Is Adobe Reader end of life? ›

As stated in the Adobe Support Lifecycle Policy, Adobe provides five years of product support, starting from the general availability date of Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader. In line with this policy, support for Adobe Acrobat 2017 Classic and Acrobat Reader 2017 Classic ends on June 06, 2022.

Why are Adobe employees so happy? ›

It's simple: Since its inception in 1982, Adobe has always taken a people-based approach to business, fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace environment that is committed to making employees feel happy, appreciated, comfortable and excited to bring their best selves to work.

Who is Adobe biggest competitor? ›

Competitors and Alternatives to Adobe
  • Google.
  • IBM.
  • Oracle.
  • Amplitude.
  • Kissmetrics.
  • CleverTap.
  • ContentSquare (ClickTale)
  • Glassbox.

Is Adobe a useful skill? ›

For example, the creative field industry standard is Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. According to LinkedIn's 2021 job listings search, 230,000 jobs in the US require Adobe skills, while only 3,982 jobs require knowledge of other digital platforms.

What is Adobe Acrobat DC good for? ›

Acrobat DC is a full, Windows-only PDF editor and reader that requires a Creative Cloud subscription. But you gain the ability to read, comment, scan, sign, and convert PDFs to Word, Excel, and other popular formats.

Is Acrobat Pro DC worth it? ›

It's designed for those who need the most comprehensive feature set, and are willing to commit to learning how the program works. All of that power comes at a price: subscriptions cost at least $179.88 a year. But for professionals who need the most powerful editor, Acrobat DC remains the best option.

Can you edit PDFs in Adobe Reader DC for free? ›

With Acrobat Reader you can open, read and print PDFs, and fill out PDF forms. If you want to edit a PDF, convert a document to a PDF, or perform any other more complex tasks, consider purchasing or subscribing to Acrobat Pro.

What is the difference between Acrobat Pro and Acrobat Pro DC? ›

Both editions of Acrobat allow you to collect e-signatures from others, but Acrobat Pro DC is unique in that you can also collect legally binding e-signatures and track responses in real time.


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