TopTenREVIEWS - Gold Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

Adobe created the Portable Document Form and continues to take the lead in convert PDF software. As a result, its PDF creator, Acrobat, has earned our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award. Although pricier than the other software we reviewed, it has a plethora of basic and advanced features. This software not only lets you create and combine files into PDF, but add multimedia and interactive forms, collect and analyze data, and more. The complexity of the program is softened by simplified, customizable tool bars and an extensive library of training films. It is the best PDF creation software on the market.

Convert & Create Tools
Compare
9.8/10
Adobe Acrobat Pro
Power PDF Advanced
Foxit PhantomPDF
Nitro Pro
PDF Suite Pro
Soda PDF PRO + OCR
Infix Professional
Lightning PDF Professional
Corel PDF Fusion
CutePDF Professional
9.8
10
9.8
5.6
8.1
5.6
6.3
6.3
4.4
2.5

Acrobat has a wide range of PDF creation options, including creating PDFs from blank pages, converting other files into PDF format and modifying existing PDFs. It can convert webpages into PDFs as well. The software also converts scanned documents into editable and searchable PDFs. Adobe understands 25 languages, meaning it can correctly recognize words and flag errors accordingly.

While Adobe recommends creating your documents in their natural programs, such as Excel or Word, you can still use the editor in Acrobat to create a PDF with text and images. You can also combine multiple files into a single PDF by dragging and dropping the files from your desktop. It opens them in separate windows, however, so you need to switch windows when working on several at once. Other PDF creators put each document in its own tab on the same screen.

A convenient feature of Acrobat is the ability to make an existing document into a fillable form. You can also create new forms from scratch or by modifying one of Adobe's available templates.

You can add a wide variety of media formats to your documents, including Adobe Flash, video and audio content, images, document files and 3D models. You can also view and interact with geospatial PDF maps.

Editing Features
Compare
10/10
Adobe Acrobat Pro
Power PDF Advanced
Foxit PhantomPDF
Nitro Pro
PDF Suite Pro
Soda PDF PRO + OCR
Infix Professional
Lightning PDF Professional
Corel PDF Fusion
CutePDF Professional
10
10
9.4
10
7.5
9.4
6.3
5.6
5
3.8

This program has every tool we look for to create and modify PDFs. While so many features could make it cumbersome to navigate, Acrobat XI has a streamlined menu bar that highlights the most important features. In addition to the primary menu and the ribbon with the most basic commands, there is a left-side ribbon with basic viewing functions. On the right, there are task panels for editing, signing and commenting tools. You can select which features you see on the menu and hide the rest for a cleaner interface.

While Adobe recommends doing major edits in each document's source program, you can still fully edit your PDF within Acrobat. To aid with in-document editing, Adobe has reflow capability, which adjusts the flow of text in a document to accommodate changes while keeping a clean layout.

You can make interactive forms from your PDFs. Adobe allows you to collect data through FormsCentral by distributing the form, which customers can fill out in Acrobat Reader, and retrieving the data, which it can convert into a spreadsheet.

This tool can convert scans into PDFs that you can edit and search. It understands 25 languages, so you can work with international materials. Adobe has web-optimization features for creating PDFs to load onto your website and a Bates numbering feature for when you work with legal documents.

Acrobat has plenty of collaboration tools, which is ideal for group projects and for sending a document to management for approval. The comment bar neatly displays these tools and includes many options, including comment boxes and a pencil tool for freehand drawing.

PDFs are generally more secure than a word document. Adobe Acrobat adds additional security features, like the ability to redact information. If you want to modify a PDF to remove specific information, such as contract specifics, it removes it from the document and from metadata, which includes everything from hidden texts and cropped content to JavaScript. You can password protect versions and set specific permissions to further increase security. With the Acrobat tab in the Microsoft toolbar, you can protect the files right from Microsoft functions.

Output Options
Compare
9.8/10
Adobe Acrobat Pro
Power PDF Advanced
Foxit PhantomPDF
Nitro Pro
PDF Suite Pro
Soda PDF PRO + OCR
Infix Professional
Lightning PDF Professional
Corel PDF Fusion
CutePDF Professional
9.8
8.8
6.3
7.5
5.6
4.4
3.8
5
4.4
2.5

While the idea of a PDF is that any computer with a reader can open it, you may have occasions when you need another format. Adobe Acrobat can output to many Microsoft, text and image formats. However, it does not convert to an EPUB format, which is used to create electronic books.

Acrobat does optimize files for either websites or mobile viewing. The Action Wizard lists optimization options, including alterations to text and images. This gives you greater control over how your PDF will look if viewed on a cell phone. Several other programs create mobile-friendly PDFs, but few offer this level of control.

It does convert to ISO-standard formats, including PDF/A, which is optimized for archiving documents. It also optimizes your files for loading onto the web, which includes mobile-friendly versions of your PDF.

Help & Support
Compare
8.8/10
Adobe Acrobat Pro
Power PDF Advanced
Foxit PhantomPDF
Nitro Pro
PDF Suite Pro
Soda PDF PRO + OCR
Infix Professional
Lightning PDF Professional
Corel PDF Fusion
CutePDF Professional
8.8
7.5
7.5
7.5
5
8.8
6.3
2.5
7.5
3.8

This program has a huge range of features and takes some time to learn. Adobe makes it easier by creating streamlined menu bars that have only the most often used tools on the ribbon. In addition, the Tools, Sign and Command tabs have a drop down menu of main and advanced commands. You can select which commands go in your main bar. One thing that takes away from Acrobat's easy use is that it only shows one document at a time. If you need to work with multiple documents, you have to switch between windows.

Acrobat has an advantage in that it works with mobile and touch devices. You need to open it with the Citrix Receiver mobile app or one like it, but Acrobat then alters its program with larger menu text and spaces between the buttons.

Adobe offers one of the largest libraries of tutorials we've seen. The online menu is on its website, but it has an option to be opened and saved in your Acrobat program as well. It's also one of the few companies with live chat support, and the people on the chat have in-depth knowledge about Adobe Acrobat.

Adobe Acrobat Pro Summary:
9.8/10

Adobe Acrobat XI Pro is an all-in-one PDF conversion software for a myriad of users, from individuals to collaborative work groups and large organizations. Acrobat supports the needs of businesses, government entities, legal offices, educators and IT professionals as well as single users. You get live chat support, an extensive library of video tutorials and a visually appealing interface that make producing publication-ready documents and presentations simple. Adobe Acrobat XI is the best option for creating, manipulating and securing PDFs.

 
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Adobe Acrobat Pro XI

Pros
A wide variety of tools and features can help you create excellent and appealing PDFs and PDF presentations.

Cons
This program does not convert to EPUB formats.

The Verdict
: 9.75/10

With its many features, Adobe Acrobat XI Pro is an excellent PDF conversion program.