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Two weeks ago Adobe released their new version of Acrobat. The previous version, Acrobat XI, was released in October 2012, so Adobe has had quite a bit of time to re-design an already good product. The new release is not Acrobat XII or Acrobat 12. Rather, they are moving it onto their cloud platform, naming their newest version Acrobat Document Cloud, or Acrobat DC.

We have always been huge fans of Acrobat because of its great capabilities and versatility. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that we’re in the midst of a many-part series about how to get the most out of Acrobat XI. Yes, the release of Acrobat DC was a surprise to everyone! Given that Acrobat DC has a totally redesigned interface, I think you’ve seen the last of ourseries on Acrobat XI.

Having said we’re huge fans of Acrobat, are we huge fans of Acrobat DC? Well, not quite yet. It embraces the way technology is moving and has moved, but there are some current bumps in the road that need to be overcome. In today’s blog I’ll discuss some of the issues because they have the power to ruin your day (week? month?). I’ll cover some of the new technologies in Acrobat DC in my next blog.

Caution! The Road Ahead May be
Bumpy with Unexpected Turns


Installation: This is perhaps the most significant issue. If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, Acrobat DC will automatically install and will uninstall the previous version without warning.

Let me back up. One of the great benefits of being Creative Cloud subscribers is that you get regular updates of Cloud programs through the Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop Application. These updates include software updates, enhancements, and bug fixes made available through your subscription. Downloading these updates is a routine task.

In the past, when Adobe made a significant upgrade of a program – for example, going from InDesign CC to InDesign 2014 – the Creative Cloud Desktop Application downloaded the newer version while leaving the previous version intact. We expected the same behavior when we downloaded Acrobat DC. Since it is a new version with a new name we expected the end result to be two versions of Acrobat on our desktop – Acrobat XI and Acrobat DC. We were wrong. Acrobat DC replaced Acrobat XI instead of maintaining both versions. (Fortunately we only downloaded DC to one of our systems, so we still have XI capability.)

Note that Adobe says it is releasing an update that warns about this, so if you are reading this blog at a later date this issue may no longer be an problem. Or at least not come as a surprise.

As if that’s not enough, installing Acrobat DC will cause some (or perhaps all) of your Acrobat plug-ins to no longer function. We’ve read about Pitstop and FusionPro not working with DC. If you rely on Acrobat plug-ins regularly, do not install Acrobat DC until updates for the plug-ins have been developed. There’s no telling how quickly that will happen as Acrobat released DC without giving developers a preview of the revised software and allowing them to begin their work on updating their plug-ins.

Note: If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can find instructions for reverting to Acrobat XI here. Be advised, however, that the process requires uninstalling Acrobat Pro DC before installing Acrobat XI Pro. This is also a change from previous Adobe programs. In the past you could have multiple versions of Acrobat on your system, as you can have multiple versions of InDesign and Photoshop on your system.

If you installed a trial version of Acrobat Pro DC and want to revert to Acrobat XI when the trial is completed, you’ll find instructions to do so here.

Forms & Flash: Adobe has retired the Adobe FormsCentral desktop app and has reduced support for Flash-compatible videos. If either of these are important to you, move forward cautiously. Acrobat DC includes three tools that help you create and enhance fillable PDF forms so the capability is not lost, but there is a learning curve for learning the new tools. Regarding Flash, you will be able to view files with Flash components if they were created in previous Acrobat versions, but you will not be able to embed Flash in files created in Acrobat DC.

Training: From what we’ve seen online, design bloggers are loving Acrobat DC. We haven’t used it enough to fall into the “loving it” community yet. It is fully redesigned, so be prepared for a loss of productivity for some period of time after upgrading. In the long run the newer version should make you and your staff more efficient, but in the meantime…prepare for weeping and gnashing of teeth.

System Requirements: Acrobat Pro DC is compatible with the following operating systems, mobile platforms, and browsers.

Desktop Compatibility:

  • Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit)
  • Windows 8 (32 bit and 64 bit)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit)
  • Windows Server 2012 (64 bit)
  • Mac OS X v10.9
  • Mac OS X v10.10

Mobile Compatibility:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows Phone (Note that the Adobe Fill & Sign DC and Adobe eSign Manager components are not compatible with Windows Phone.)

Browser Compatibility: Acrobat Pro DC works with various versions of Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome.

You’ll find more details on system requirements here.

More Info: A good place to start is the Acrobat Pro DC FAQ on Adobe’s site.

Acrobat DC Family of Programs and Purchasing Options

Adobe Acrobat has been available in multiple editions — Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Standard, and Acrobat Pro, and there is has often been much confusion about them.

The Reader program is available for free and provides the capability to view PDFs and, to some extent, interact with them. Acrobat Reader allows the user to fill in forms, sign and add comments to documents. The new Reader DC is still free and also works on touch-enabled devices and allows the user to store and share files online.

Acrobat Standard and Pro editions have given the user the capability to create documents with a lot more functionality, such as embedded multimedia, saving websites as an Acrobat document, control over document security, and a host of other specialized abilities. The new Acrobat DC is also available in either Standard or Pro editions.

Both Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro can be purchased as a perpetual license (which they call “desktop”) or by subscription. The subscription includes regular updates to the DC program as they are made. Pricing is as follows:

Acrobat DC Reader Acrobat DC Standard Acrobat DC Pro
Desktop Subscription Desktop Subscription
Free $299 $12.99/month $449 $14.99/month

If you’re ready to buy, you can purchase your copy here.

Our next blog will discuss some of the new capabilities of the Acrobat DC Standard and Pro versions.

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