Best Adobe Acrobat Alternative In 2021

Adobe Acrobat is an Adobe system program designed to handle all files in PDF formats. With this tool, users can create, view, and, most importantly, edit PDF files without fear. However, despite its characteristics and efficiency, we must admit that not all users can afford to use this program due to its cost and difficulty of use.

For many users who want to read PDFs or create from other formats, a free PDF reader is often sufficient. PDF Readers also usually include comment functions. If you want the full range of features, use the standard or professional versions. We have therefore gathered the best alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Editor’s Tip

The following functions are necessary for a PDF editor to be considered the right choice:

  • Convert PDF from other file formats ( .docx , .xlsx , .pptx etc.)
  • Convert PDF to many other formats
  • Create a PDF document
  • Edit PDF like a text document (e.g., add, edit and delete text, adjust images, and set links)
  • Enable checking and commenting on the document (popular functions: marker, sticky note, comment box, freehand draftsman, stamp)
  • Optimize text using tags for reading devices
  • PDF for scanned print media
  • Search and edit the text using OCR technology

Best Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Alternative 2021

Based on our research, we picked the following Adobe Acrobat Pro DC alternatives.

Wondershare PDFelement Pro – Editors Choice

Best Document Productivity with All-new PDFelement 7! - YouTube

As a potential alternative to Adobe Acrobat, you can download Wondershare PDFelement 8 for Mac and Windows. This software allows you to edit your PDF documents in a huge frame like in the Office Word processor. Quickly convert your PDF documents to Word, Excel, PPT, EPUB, images, and others. It also offers other functions:

  • Easy PDF Editing – Edit native or scanned PDFs by adding, removing, or changing texts, images, and more in PDF.
  • Create PDFs –Β Create PDF from existing PDF, web page, HTML or text files.
  • Commenting Tools – Manage review, annotate or mark up PDFs with text fields, notes, or free drawings.
  • Faster Conversion Speed – Quickly convert classic or scanned PDF to Word, PPT, Excel, image, HTML, and other formats.
  • Digital Signatures – You can apply certified digital signatures to validate document authenticity and integrity.
  • Excellent OCR Precision– OCR functionality that is used to scan a document and edit the scanned document. OCR currently supports all the popular languages.
  • Fillable Forms – Create editable PDF forms from non-fillable files – grow your business. Fill out PDFs or create PDF forms from many free PDF form templates.
  • Security – Improves your documents’ security as you can now sign your own documents and even use passwords to encrypt your files.
  • Other FeaturesΒ – Combine, compress or split PDF documents.

Perpetual License

  • PDFelement Standard: $59 one-time fee
  • PDFelement Pro: $109 one-time

The discount can be availed byΒ clicking here.

Regular Pricing

  • PDFelement Pro: $79/year
  • PDFelement Standard: $59/year

Nitro Pro 12 (Windows)

Nitro Pro 12 is another worthy alternative to Adobe Acrobat Windows 10 that has become popular over the past few years, mostly thanks to its integrated cloud-based solutions. Nitro Pro 11, a Nitro PDF product, is the paid version of Nitro and bundles various advanced users’ functions. Edit PDF files, convert and print documents, and add annotations to documents that you can then share via Nitro Cloud. This is a proprietary service from Nitro that connects its users to the cloud.

On the one hand, this saves users training time, and, on the other hand, the task-oriented structure is very efficient. Whether for self-employed or large companies: Nitro has solutions for financial service providers, healthcare, energy providers, and service providers. Nitro focuses its offering on professional use.

Nitro is one of the high-priced Adobe Acrobat DC Pro replacement. You can purchase up to 10 licenses on the website. Companies that need more contact sales. The single license includes support and updates of the purchased version. There is no subscription system like Adobe and no app either.

Nitro Pro 12: Document with mark-ups, stamp, QR code and form field
Edit and comment on the text, and save the document in Nitro Pro. The user interface gives an overview of all features.

Nitro Pro imports and exports many formats. You can even convert a large number of PDF documents with just one click. You can create PDFs freely or from scans and edit the text using the OCR tool. Merging and splitting of pages is also possible.

Sharing and security play a vital role for business customers. You can work on your document anywhere using the in-house Nitro Cloud. You grant access and processing rights and track processing in real-time. Electronic signatures, as well as passwords, provide additional security. The erase tool allows whiteouts and a complete obscuring of the document. You can also delete all meta-data with one click, thus protecting sensitive data.

Pros Cons
Large range of functions Expensive
Straightforward, intuitive user interface Image quality suffers during conversion.
Cloud share support with real-time tracking The processing is much worse compared to Microsoft Word.
Powerful white-out tool for sensitive information Less supported formats than Adobe Acrobat
Helpful community Tends to make mistakes when applying OCR to large documents.


  • Regular License – $ 159.00/user

Official Site

Foxit Phantom PDF

Best Adobe Acrobat Alternative In 2021 1

The next alternative to Acrobat Pro is called Foxit Phantom PDF. Unlike other usual PDF converters, this tool is equipped with easy to use editing functions that can crop, cut, rotate, resize, add watermarks, etc. Foxit Phantom supports OCR and font recognition, which is very helpful for modifying or starting a new PDF document. However, you will need to spend a bit to get this program, but it is worth trying.

As an alternative to Adobe Acrobat, Foxit offers the powerful PhantomPDF as a standard, business, and education version. The provider also provides a mobile app and cloud integration.

Pros Cons
Good usability Vulnerabilities in JavaScript (Safe Reading Mode should be on and JavaScript off)
Extensive range of functions, even with the free reader Official language version only in English (community translations available in many languages)
Skin color freely selectable Telephone support via US hotline only.
Accessibility tools
ConnectedPDF (cloud feature)
Optional one-time payment or subscription, both cheaper than comparable Adobe Acrobat products
Linux version available


  • Standard Version (One-time) – $ 139.00
  • Business Version (One-time) – $ 159.00

Official Site

Kofax Power PDF (Formerly Nuance Power PDF)

Kofax’s Power PDF recognizes and reads text directly in the program. You can also use it to edit scanned texts. Support for English, German, and French are included. You can find other languages ​​in the download area. Power PDF also enables Asian fonts to be edited in-the-box.

PowerPDF: insert, edit and format text
Better readability: thanks to a special tool, you can adjust the contrast.

You don’t have to worry about your documents’ security thanks to password protection, electronic signatures, and drag-and-drop license distribution. Unfortunately, the standard version does not offer the RMS redaction tool. However, it deletes sensitive metadata if requested.

Additional functions for barrier-free working and barrier-free PDFs are available with the TALK & ZOOM app. Power PDF has two editing modes: Review / Comment and Advanced Editing. In the comment function, you mark passages, set callouts, or share the document with authorized users. With Advanced Editing, you adapt paragraphs, change the formatting or add text. Besides, the software is one of the few PDF solutions that allows you to edit images and add effects directly to the program. Just add clip art and symbols from the menu, just like with Word.

Pros Cons
precise OCR conversion Not a free reader
Speech output in several languages No smartphone app
Internal image processing The website could be clearer
Efficient project management tools
Good value for money


  • Standard Version (One-time) – $ 129.00/license
  • Business Version (One-time) – $ 179.00/license

Official Site

PDFpenPro (Mac and iOS)

PDFpen is a PDF editing software compatible with Mac OS and iOS, which has the advantage of being reasonably priced. It has the usual functions of a PDF editor like making edits and correcting mistakes in the main text document and further allows users to add texts, signatures, and images.

With PDFpenPro, you can display and manage your PDF files in the same way you can in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. It is an alternative to Adobe Acrobat for Mac OS. The program can convert files to other popular formats. This software allows you not only to display PDFs but also to edit texts and images. You can also add highlights and highlights, edit pages of text, and add comments. The program can also scan, redact, sign PDFs and fill out PDF forms with no problems.

With PDFPen Pro, you can create PDFs and export PDF files to formats such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Images. This software also has an app that is compatible with iPhone and iPad. PDFPen supports OCR technology, which helps users convert images into editable text documents.

PDFPen Pro is the right choice as an alternative to Adobe Acrobat. But note that this is only for Mac users.

Pros Cons
Powerful form creation tools and advanced PDF form export options. Only supports Mac
Compatible with iOS allows easy work with iPhone and iPad. Long documents take longer to load.
Versatile Editing Control An expensive package
OCR and DocuSign support UI could be better


  • Standard Version (One-time) – $ 129.95/license

Official Site

Sejda PDF Editor

The start window of Sejda PDF Desktop
On the start page (here the start window of the desktop version), you can see all functions.

Sejda PDF Editor is a lightweight web application that converts, merges, or splits and compresses PDF documents from various other formats. As an alternative to Adobe Acrobat, the program is suitable if you want to do simple tasks like these. The program offers editing tools as well as password protection and access management to a limited extent.

The desktop version is available as a free download. If you rarely use the program for individual tasks, it will remain free of charge. From a certain daily limit, however, you will be referred to the subscription or purchase licenses. The developers have transferred the design of the web application one-to-one to the desktop program. The only difference: Sejda PDF Desktop processes all tasks locally on your PC, Sejda Cloud stores documents on the Sejda servers.

The range of functions is entirely appropriate for free use. The user interface is pleasantly tidy. At the top of the picture, you can see the main page, on which all functions are arranged by subject area. Click on one of the buttons to go to the respective task area. For example, if you select the PDF editor, you will be prompted to load a PDF file. Limited functions such as mark-ups (highlight and strikethrough), redaction (without deleting metadata), signatures, or text insertion are then available for editing.

Pros Cons
Lightweight browser application without download Page and hourly limits
Clear user interface Limited file uploads
Suitable for single tasks on-the-go Limited functionality


  • Individual – Starts from $5 a week.

Official Site

The best Adobe Acrobat alternatives at a glance

Adobe is driving workflow optimization with Acrobat. How the software prepares PDF, makes it secure and accessible will also be the model for all other PDF software developers in the years to come because they like to advertise that their PDF applications comply with the Adobe ISO standard. For many private users, however, the Adobe Acrobat functions go beyond the scope of regular use. Others like to save the high subscription costs. From free readers to mobile apps to professional PDF solutions for companies, there are many inexpensive Adobe Acrobat alternatives equipped with similarly useful tools and the most important security features.

FeaturePDFElement 8Nitro ProFoxit Phantom PDF StandardKofax Power PDFPDFpenProSejda Cloud
TypePaid trialwarePaid trialware; Reader: FreewarePaid trialware (subscription and purchase), Reader: FreewarePaid trialwarePaid trialwareFreemium PDF software (subscription and purchase)
Operating systemWindows, macOS, iOSWindowsWindows, macOS, LinuxWindows 7-10, (convertor for macOS 6)macOS & iOSWindows, macOS, Linux
Web versionDocument CloudVia Nitro Cloudβœ” compress and convert in Wordβœ”βœ˜βœ”
Mobile appiOS onlyNo, but supports Windows Tabletβœ”βœ˜iOS only✘
Various reading modesβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ˜
Create PDF/A/E/XPDF/A (Pro only)PDF/A-1bβœ”, for Education Version, otherwise just PDF/APDF/A-1, PDF/A-2, PDF/A-3βœ”βœ˜
Import/export filesβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ” βœ”
Compatible formatsTXT, HTML5, SVG, Excel and Word applications, print (Pro), JPEG, TIFF; GIF,PNGMicrosoft Office formats, Outlook integrationRTF, HTML, TXT, email, Microsoft Office formatsMicrosoft Office applications, WPD, XPS, TIFF, print, audio (output only)Microsoft office formats, FDF, BMP, JPEG, TIFF, RTF, email, printOffice formats, images (JPEG, BMP etc.)
Edit textβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”Only digitally created textsAdd and format text
Edit objectsAdd, change sizeAdd and removeAdd, change sizeIntegrated image editingAdd, change size, edit via external programAdd images, change size
Add and edit pagesAdd, arrangeβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ” (limited with Standard)βœ”
Signature optionsIn Pro versionDrag-and-drop, security licensesβœ”Digital signatures, drag-and-drop, security licenses, etc.βœ”βœ”
RMS blackoutIn Pro versionFor text selections and entire pages, delete metadataIn Business versionIn Advanced version, delete metadata in Standard versionβœ”White-out doesn’t delete metadata
Manage accessβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ“βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”
Create and fill out formsFill out, assemble (Standard); create (Pro)βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ˜
Comment and checkMarkup, audio commentary, notes, freehand, stampsMarkup, notes, freehand, compare versionsMarkup, notepad, freehand, online comment boardMarkup, freehand, Bates stampMarkup, notes, dimensions and lines, stamps, audio commentaryMarkup, forms, text box
Accessibility (audio output, magnifier, tagged PDF)βœ”βœ”βœ”Tagged PDF, only zoomβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ˜
Track changes in real timeβœ”Via Nitro CloudWith Connected PDFIntegration with SharePoint, NetDocuments, etc.✘✘
Cloud storage integrationWondershare Document CloudGoogle Drive, OneDrive, Box, DropboxGoogle Drive, OneDrive, Evernote, DropboxDropbox, Evernote, OneDrive, SharePoint, Box, Google DriveGoogle Drive, SharePoint, Microsoft 365✘
Touchscreen supportβœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ”βœ˜
SupportKnowledge base, manual, FAQ, email, developer supportManual, community, FAQ, security updates, email, tutorial videosManual, tutorial videos, documentation, developer portalKnowledge base, FAQ, telephone, online support, forumManual, forum, FAQ, knowledge base, email, 1 year of upgrades includedE-Mail, FAQ
Volume licensingYes, staggered, from 20+ licenses with cost estimateYes, from 11 licenses ask for priceYes, with one-time payment; for business, education, privateYes, with cost estimateβœ”Yes, from 100 licenses with cost estimate
Other Acrobat Alternatives Available in the market
  • HiPDF
  • Icecream Apps PDF Editor
  • Ashampoo PDF Pro
  • Able2Extract Professional
  • FileStar PDF
  • Soda PDF
  • Flip PDF
  • PDFexpert
  • iSkySoft PDF Editor
  • ABBYY FineReader/FineReader Pro
  • PDFescape
  • Gaaiho PDF Suite 5
  • PDF Architect 7
  • Dochub
  • Formswift
  • SmallPDF
  • Xodo
  • Ilovepdf
  • PDF Pro
  • Novapdf
  • PDFfiller
  • PDFDocs
  • ByteScout PDF SDK
  • PDFTables
  • PDF Buddy
  • PDF-Xchange Editor

Final Words

These are the best PDF editor alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC that you can use very well daily. You have certainly noticed that most of these programs have similar functions while others have additional functions. Feel free to try all of the Adobe Acrobat Pro alternative apps we have mentioned to determine which one suits your needs the most.


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