Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is the brand's newest PDF editor.

 

Billed as an all-in-one solution, it seems ideal for heavy-duty PDF users. But it's also $ 14.99 / mo after a week-long standalone trial. If you're equally cost-conscious and tech-savvy, you might be thinking about free options.

 

A free alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

An Adobe option that I have used in the past is PDFescape.

 

 This version is free and is a comparative version of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC below. I downloaded the desktop version of this PDF tool for Windows instead of using the web version. I think it will give me the most accurate comparison.

 

 

A free alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

An Adobe option that I have used in the past is PDFescape. For this post, I'll be comparing PDFescape to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, just to see if Adobe really is better.

 

PDFescape is available in three versions, including PDFescape Basic. This version is free and is a comparison version of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC below. I downloaded the desktop version of this PDF tool for Windows instead of using the web version. I think it will give me the most accurate comparison.

 

user interface

The main panel of each program allows you to view your uploaded PDF. In the right and left bars there are tools to edit it.

 

In PDFescape, there is also a toolbar at the bottom of the software window.

 

Conversely, unless you use Adobe products frequently, Adobe does not reflect any other commonly used software programs. Acrobat Pro DC has tool menus that are configured similarly to previous versions of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader.

 

If you're already familiar with Adobe products, this is good, but if you're not, using Acrobat's settings can be a bit tricky.

 

The functions on the right side of the Acrobat interface allow you to use additional command and manipulation options, while the functions on the right and left of PDFescape provide some additional functions, but they do not appear to be much different.

 

The options at the top of the interface provide more functions, but some of them are redundant. For example, there are several edit and view buttons that contribute to excessive clutter on the toolbar.

 

If you look at Acrobat, you can see that the Adobe home interface has more words than icons. The file list in the center pane shows all the files that you have recently uploaded to Acrobat Pro DC.

 

In contrast, Acrobat allows you to review a few options at once.

 

You can simply click X to exit any PDF admin panel you've opened, but I like being able to see all my options in one place, which PDFscape allows.

 

Editing capabilities

Your combined PDFs will appear in a new folder tab. You can easily adjust the order of the merged pages by clicking on the arranged pages. Just drag and drop the pages as you ordered them and close the panel.

You can also add files to PDFescape. From the main interface, go to Create PDF, then click Combine Files.

Upload the two PDF files you want to combine and click Combine.

 

As with Acrobat, combine both PDF files into one document.

 

Unfortunately, you can no longer adjust the page order with the original version of PDFescape.

 

Unfortunately, this seems to be the case for many of the PDFescape features.

 

Here are some more things you can't do with the free version that you can unlock with the paid versions:

 

Insert or edit image

Add page number

Add a header or footer

Split pdf pages

Convert your PDF to other formats (eg Word, Excel or HTML)

Highlight text or add review notes

Password protect your PDF or set secure permissions

And these limits are just to name a few.

 

However, it's worth noting that some of these features can be accessed with the online version of PDFescape (still free).

 

You can't do anything complicated, but you do get the ability to highlight, comment, and annotate PDF files, although the editing features here are less powerful. Also, you can use the online PDF editor that PDFescape offers to encrypt your PDF, which the desktop version does not give you free access to.

 

In contrast, editing PDF text and images in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a straightforward process. This is likely because Acrobat Pro DC is already a paid PDF editor.

 

You can easily crop photos, enjoy a handy automatic spell check feature, and automatically format added text.

 

And the winner is: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

 

I found it very inconvenient that PDFescape allowed me to combine files, but then it did not allow me to rearrange those archive pages. I also don't think that allowing users to edit images is too much for a free tool, so I have to say that I really am missing PDFscape.

 

When I offer these features for free in the online version of the software, I am also confused by the inability to comment or shed light on the desktop version of the freeware.

 

There's no getting around it, it's easy to work when editing Acrobat Pro DC PDF.

 

Signature capabilities

There are several cases where you may need to sign a PDF. For example, after completing a W-2 form for tax purposes or reviewing your rental agreement.

 

Unfortunately, complementary to the original version of PDFescape, it does not provide the original PDF signature function. To unlock those features, you will need to upgrade to the Final Subscription for PDFescape.

 

However, you can sign PDF files in the PDFescape web interface. Click on the text function to type any information to be included in the blank field of the document.

 

Then when you're ready to sign, use the font drop-down menu to select just the signature font.

 

Sign your name and click the green double arrow button to automatically save and download your signed PDF file.

 

To add a signature to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, fill out the menu on the right and click the Sign option.

 

Choose Sign from the top toolbar. If you have previously signed something in Acrobat Pro DC, the software will remember your signature, as you can see in the screenshot below.

 

If this is your first opportunity to sign a PDF in Acrobat, all you have to do is click Add Signature. Then simply write, draw, or upload an image of your signature into the software and click Apply.

 

Then you can place your signature on the corresponding line and adjust the size.

 

And the winner is: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

However, with Acrobat Pro DC, you can sign easily and conveniently at your fingertips.

 

Availability option

Initially, PDFescape was a purely cloud-based application. Recently the service developed an offline desktop version, which I am using in this article. A blog post about the desktop version using PDFescape is mentioned.

 

Also, only Premium or Ultimate users get offline access; As a freelance user, you are out of luck.

 

For Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, you have apps for Android and iOS. The apps are free with your Adobe subscription, so if you really want to edit PDF files from your iPhone or Android device, you can definitely do it.

 

And the winner is: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Final judgment ...

While PDFescape is convenient if you just need to combine a few PDF files or use a web portal to sign a contract, the freeware fell short in this comparison.

 

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is your best choice for comprehensive PDF editing, signing, and manipulation because you can do a lot for your PDF with your Acrobat subscription.

 In comparison, the use of PDFescape is not required, but its cluttered interface is not always the most intuitive, and many tools in the software are inaccessible with free software.

 

In addition, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC includes even more features that are not expanded here. There is a comparison function that contrasts the difference between two PDFs. It can integrate with Dropbox or keep track of PDF forms sent to others.

 

Buying the premium or definitive version of PDFescape opens up many capabilities. But as for its free version, there really is no competition. The free version of PDFescape has several limitations in which the Adobe program works without problems.

 

Is Acrobat Pro DC worth the money?

I think it is, but what do you think? Will you keep going through bumps with a free PDF editor or will you need all your features in one place? Or can you recommend another free PDF editor with more options and less limitations?

 

 

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