In this brief guide, we've outlined the differences between Adobe Reader DC vs. Adobe Reader. Both programs are available as a free download for Mac and Windows, and they make it easy to view and edit PDFs.
What is Adobe Reader?
Adobe released Acrobat more than 23 years ago, and today, the software is essential for viewing and editing Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Reader is the free version of Acrobat, and it has some of the same functionality. You can use Reader to view, print, and make simple annotations to PDFs. However, you can't make edits to existing text or media with Reader – you'll need Acrobat for that.
What is Adobe Reader DC?
Short for "Document Cloud", Adobe Reader DC is the latest version of Reader. It provides the same features as previous versions, while also adding cloud-based functionality to sync documents across your devices.
Now, Reader is connected to the Adobe Document Cloud, which allows for secure document sharing, signing, and storing. Once you've downloaded Reader DC, you can also pay to unlock integrated apps that expand your professional toolkit. These include:
- Adobe Sign: For $9.99 per month, this multi-platform service allows you to sign and deliver documents legally from any device. No pen is necessary – simply sign the document with your finger on a touchscreen.
- Adobe Send & Track: Using Adobe's Document Cloud, you can safely send large files and avoid dealing with slow e-mail attachments. Send & Track lets you share files to multiple recipients, as long as you have an internet connection. For $1.67 a month, this ala carte service can be used to send PDFs, photos, videos, and audio files.
- Adobe Export PDF: This allows you to convert an unlimited number of PDFs to RTF, Word, and Excel formats. For $1.99 a month, you can purchase a subscription that works with Reader DC.
Adobe Reader DC vs. Adobe Reader
More digital tools are moving to the cloud every year, and Adobe's Creative Cloud is part of the trend. Even though you can still use the standard version of Adobe Reader, it's being phased out for Reader DC.
We recommend switching to the latest version of DC, even if you don't have any interest in sharing documents via the cloud. Acrobat XI (the last pre-DC version) will only be supported until October 2017, and then Adobe will focus entirely on the DC family.