What’s the difference between Acrobat 8, 9 and X?

One frequent question I receive is:

What’s the difference between Acrobat 8, 9 and X?

When considering an upgrade, that likely is the first question you’ll ask.

Unfortunately, it isn’t very easy to find this information on the Adobe website. To save you some time, I’ve put together an Acrobat Feature History document (PDF of course!) that you may find helpful.

Acrobat 8-9-X New Feature History.pdf (137K PDF)

What’s the difference between Adobe Reader X, Acrobat X Standard and Acrobat X Pro?

Determining which version of Acrobat is right for you or your organization is a different question, but no less important.

Fortunately, Adobe has an excellent feature matrix available to help with this. It’s easy to find on the Adobe website, but I’ve included it below. One stop shopping!

Acrobat X Family Matrix long.pdf (250K)

37 Responses to What’s the difference between Acrobat 8, 9 and X?

  1. Erica Anderson says:

    Thank you, Rick. I have been trying to compare the versions and this info is exactly what I was after. Thanks! -ea

  2. Julie Kiernan says:

    Is there a chart that shows/compares what the features are for Adobe Acrobat for Mac X? Sometimes it feels like Adobe is moving away from and not supporting their Mac OS X users. Almost all illustrations/charts, seminars and free trial demo are for PC users only. Adobe used to provide Mac and PC information. There is still no demo version of Acrobat X for Mac users. Also, while the seminar yesterday on PDF-A was excellent, it didn’t provide enough information for the Mac OS X platform. For instance, will MS Word for Mac 2011 interface with Acrobat for Mac X such that you can create and convert .docx files to PDFA-1a or b documents? Most paperless Mac law firms rely heavily on Acrobat and this information is important and timely for all computer users.
    —— Rick’s Reply ——
    I do not know of a feature comparison of Acrobat Pro Mac to Acrobat Pro Win. The biggest difference between the two platforms is that there are no PDF Makers on the Mac side. Microsoft does not make available a Software Developers Kit for Office Mac as they do on Windows. Without that, we can’t create PDF Makers. In fact, two versions of Office ago, there was a small SDK . . . now even that is gone. On the Mac, you’ll need to either print to the Adobe PDF print drive to create PDF/A files or conform later.

  3. Steve Howard says:

    Rick, will you be updating your previous postings in light of Acrobat X? For example, it is not obvious how the feature you describe in http://blogs.adobe.com/acrolaw/2009/08/preventing_edits_to_bates_number/ works in X. For some folks that may be reason enough to stick with 9!

    • Rick Borstein says:

      In Acrobat X, choose File>Save As>Optimized PDF, then follow the instructions.I’ll see if I can get to an update.

  4. Kelsey says:

    I have no idea what the difference between Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader is… I do have Adobe reader, and I think I need Adobe Acrobat, as it would be useful to me for pdf editing? Does it do that>? I just need some help and what to buy or download. and why id buy it.

    • Rick Borstein says:

      Adobe Reader cannot save data in a form. You’ll need Acrobat Standard or better for that. If you know the form author, ask them to Reader-enable the file for you. That way, you can fill it in with just the Reader.

  5. Gail says:

    Hi Rick, I notice that comparison has changed significantly with Adobe X. Is there a way to produce a side-by-side comparison report (as per your article http://blogs.adobe.com/acrolaw/2007/03/comparing_two_p_1/) ? Thanks!

    • Rick Borstein says:

      Compare is essentially the same as in Acrobat 9. Yes, you can still view it side by side. In the Comparison panel, click the Options button and choose “Show Documents Side by Side”

  6. Mandy says:

    Hi Rick. Do you have any information as to the georeferencing features of Acrobat 9 and Acrobat X? It appears that you are able to assign geographic coordinates to pdf maps in Acrobat 9, but not in Acrobat X. Acrobat X only allows you to view latitude/longitude of pdf maps, but not to assign as Acrobat 9 allows you to do. Is this correct?

    • Rick Borstein says:

      The GeoPDF functions were deprecated in Acrobat X. You can still use Geo PDFs created in earlier versions and they will display, but the authoring tools have been removed due to near zero usage of this feature.

  7. Trish Thelen says:

    We want to sanitize a document without removing the ocr’d text. We have tried to use both sanitze and remove hidden information but we lose the ability to search and have to ocr the document again. Is there some setting that you can use to maintain the ocrd text.

    • Rick Borstein says:

      This could be document dependent. If Acrobat may rasterize pages if necessary to remove information. I’d suggest trying some of the different options in Examine document instead.

  8. Doug says:

    Well done Rick. Thank you for sharing your research. One would however expect that this info would be native to the Adobe website. I am also chasing a comparison of system requirements as the version footprint grows fatter. Any advice on this one ? Cheers.

  9. Denise says:

    I need to redact documents that I’ve scanned and saved to pdf. I know its a bit different with Acrobat 9 Standard than with 9 Pro (standard doesn’t actually have the redact funcction). What about Acrobat X – is this a newer version of 9 Pro?

  10. SeanM says:

    Thanks for this information. There’s a small correction to your chart needed. Acrobat 9 Standard has Portfolios, but only Acrobat X Pro in the next version (which is marked correctly).

    • Rick Borstein says:

      Well, sort of. Acrobat Standard offered a very one Portfolio option, not the full complement of 9 types in Acrobat 9 Pro. For that reason, I never considered Acrobat 9 Standard as a tool for creating portfolios.

  11. Simeon Walton says:

    I do not see any comparisons made in the category of accessiblity, which surprises me since there are so many areas of this program that could be inproved for this purpose.

    • Rick Borstein says:

      Noted. I don’t focus much on that for this market, but there have been some improvements I believe.

  12. Mike H says:

    Should I replace adobe reader 9 with adobe acrobat X for small office use?

    • Rick Borstein says:

      Acrobat X will allow you to create and edit PDFs. Reader won’t allow that. If you want to work actively with PDFs, that might be helpful to you.

  13. Shirley Hershey says:

    Currently I have Adobe Reader 9.5.1. I am using Mac OS 6.8 although my Mac meets the system requirements for Lion. I still don’t know whether I should download and install Adobe Reader X and uninstall Reader 9.5.1. Should I and why?

    • Rick Borstein says:

      The post you are reviewing here is for Acrobat, not Reader. Reader X has some nice new commenting tools and cleaner interface. It’s free, of course.

  14. mayang says:

    I do have acrobat X,do I still need download acrobat reader?

  15. Dennis Dufrene says:

    Will portfolio’s that use adobe X layouts be easily viewed in older versions of adobe reader?

  16. Debi P says:

    I have Adobe Pro 9 … is Adobe Acrobat x standard a superior program for use with Fujistsu scanner (and for editing pdf files) or should I keep Adobe Pro??

  17. Chris Bowman says:

    I have Acrobat Pro 9 and I noticed that the Compare Docs view is different than in Pro 8 – ver 8 does a side by side comparison instead of what 9 appears to do im compiling 2 docs into one and annotating what changes have been made. Is there a way in Pro 9 to get what I had in Pro 8?

  18. Bill Sla says:

    How do I touch up text in Adobe X Acrobat?

    • Rick Borstein says:

      The TouchUp Text tool is called “Edit Document Text“, and is located under Tools > Content > Edit Document Text. That said, the text editing is SO MUCH BETTER in Acrobat XI that there is no comparison.

  19. Gloria says:

    Hi Rick, I’m looking into online proofreading software. I do have a MAC. I would like know which Acrobat I need just to upload files and use proofreading features. I heard the Preview on mac is as good-but I also heard some clients would require Acrobat. Thank you so much for your expertise. G

    • Rick Borstein says:

      I don’t really know what you mean by proofreadng software. Reader XI allows you to add comments on any PDF. Don’t get me started about Preview . . .

  20. Michael says:

    Is Adobe Acrobat professional 9.0 compatible with windows 8?

    • Rick Borstein says:

      Acrobat 9 is not supported on Windows 8. Acrobat 9 is going out of support on all platforms on June 23, 2013. You should update to a newer version.