|Initial release||June 15, 1993|
|Operating system||Windows, macOS Android|
The family comprises Acrobat Reader (formerly Reader), Acrobat (formerly Exchange) and Acrobat.com. The basic Acrobat Reader, available for several desktop and mobile platforms, is freeware; it supports viewing, printing and annotating of PDF files. Additional, "Premium", services are available on paid subscription. The commercial proprietary Acrobat, available for Microsoft Windows and macOS only, can also create, edit, convert, digitally sign, encrypt, export and publish PDF files. Acrobat.com complements the family with a variety of enterprise content management and file hosting services.
The main function of Adobe Acrobat is creating, viewing, and editing PDF documents. It can import popular document and image formats and save them as PDF. It's also possible to import a scanner's output, a website, or the contents of the Windows clipboard.
Because of the nature of the PDF, however, once a PDF document is created, its natural organization and flow cannot be meaningfully modified. In other words, Adobe Acrobat is able to modify the contents of paragraphs and images, but doing so does not repaginate the whole document to accommodate for a longer or shorter document. Acrobat can crop PDF pages, change their order, manipulate hyperlinks, digitally sign a PDF file, add comments, redact certain parts of the PDF file, and ensure its adherence to such standards as PDF/A.
Adobe Acrobat was launched in 1993 and had to compete with other products and proprietary formats that aimed to create digital documents:
- Common Ground from No Hands Software Inc.
- Envoy from WordPerfect Corporation
- Folio Views from NextPage
- Replica from Farallon Computing
- WorldView from Interleaf
- DjVu from AT&T Laboratories
Adobe has renamed the Acrobat products several times, in addition to merging, splitting and discontinuing them. Initially, the offered products were called Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Exchange and Acrobat Distiller. "Acrobat Exchange" soon became "Acrobat". Over time, "Acrobat Reader" became "Reader". Between versions 3 and 5, Acrobat did not have several editions.[clarification needed] In 1999, the Acrobat.com service came to being and introduced several web services whose names started with "Acrobat", but eventually, "Acrobat.com" was downgraded from the name of the family of services, to that of one of those services.
Unlike most other Adobe products, such as members of Adobe Creative Suite family, the Acrobat products do not have icons that display two letters on a colored rectangle.
In April 2015, Adobe introduced the "Document Cloud" branding (alongside its Creative Cloud) to signify its adoption of the cloud storage and the software as a service model. Programs under this branding received a "DC" suffix. In addition, "Reader" was renamed back to "Acrobat Reader". Following the introduction of Document Cloud, Acrobat.com was discontinued as their features were integrated into the desktop programs and mobile apps.
The GUI had major changes with the introduction of Acrobat DC in 2015, which supports Windows 7 and later, and OS X 10.9 and later. Version numbers are now identified by the last two digits of the year of major release, and the month and year is specified; the previous version was 12, but examples of the DC (Document Cloud) Acrobat product family versions are DC June 2016, version 15.016.20045, released 2 June 2016 and DC Classic January 2016, version 15.006.30119, released 12 January 2016. From DC 2015 the Acrobat family is available in two tracks, the original track, now named Classic, and the Continuous track. Updates for the Classic track are released quarterly, and do not include new features, whereas updates for the Continuous track are issued more frequently, and implemented silently and automatically.
The last pre-DC version, Acrobat XI, was updated to 11.0.23 version (and this was the final release) on November 14, 2017, support for which had ended a month earlier on October 15, 2017. In September 2020, Adobe released a feature to make documents easier to read on phones called "Liquid Mode" using its Sensei AI.
Adobe Acrobat family products
- Acrobat.com is the web version of Acrobat developed by Adobe Inc. to edit, create, manipulate, print and manage files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for users with a web browser and an Adobe ID only.
- Acrobat Distiller is a software application for converting documents from PostScript format to Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format), the native format of the Adobe Acrobat family of products.
- Acrobat Pro is the professional full version of Acrobat developed by Adobe Inc. to edit, create, manipulate, print and manage files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for Windows and macOS users only.
- Acrobat Reader is the freeware version of Acrobat developed by Adobe Inc. to view, create, fill, print and format files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android users only.
- Acrobat Standard is the standard full version of Acrobat developed by Adobe Inc. to edit, create, manipulate, print and manage files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for Windows users only.
- Document Cloud is part of the Acrobat family developed by Adobe Inc. to edit, create, save online, print and format files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for users with a web browser and an Adobe ID only.
- Fill & Sign is part of the Acrobat family developed by Adobe Inc. to fill, sign, and manage files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android users only.
- Scan is part of the Acrobat family developed by Adobe Inc. to scan, crop, and manage files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for iOS and Android users only.
- Sign (formerly EchoSign and eSign) is part of the Acrobat family developed by Adobe Inc. to fill, sign, and manage files in the Portable Document Format (PDF). It is currently available for iOS and Android users only.
- Acrobat Approval allows users to deploy electronic forms based on the Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF).
- Acrobat Business Tools is a discontinued component of the Acrobat family that was distributed by Adobe Systems with collaboration and document review features.
- Acrobat Capture is a document processing utility for Windows from Adobe Systems that converts a scan of any paper document into a PDF file with selectable text through OCR technology.
- Acrobat Distiller Server is a discontinued server-based utility that was developed by Adobe Systems to perform centralized high-volume conversion of PostScript documents to PDF formats for workgroups.
- Acrobat eBook Reader is a PDF-based e-book reader from Adobe Systems. Features present in Acrobat eBook Reader later appeared in Digital Editions.
- Acrobat Elements was a very basic version of the Acrobat family that was released by Adobe Systems. Its key feature advantage over the free Acrobat Reader was the ability to create reliable PDF files from Microsoft Office applications.
- Acrobat InProduction is a pre-press tools suite for Acrobat released by Adobe in 2000 to handle color separation and pre-flighting of PDF files for printing.
- Acrobat Messenger is a document utility for Acrobat users that was released by Adobe Systems in 2000 to convert paper documents into PDF files that can be e-mailed, faxed, or shared online.
- Acrobat Reader Touch is a free PDF document viewer developed and released on December 11, 2012, by Adobe Systems for the Windows Touch user interface.
- FormsCentral was a web form filling server for users with Windows, macOS, or a web browser and an Adobe ID only. It was discontinued on July 28, 2015, and was replaced by Experience Manager Forms.
- Send & Track (formerly SendNow and Send) was a service that lets you send files as links, track files you send to specific individuals, and get confirmation receipts when others view your file. It was completely discontinued as of July 11, 2018.
Hidden helper tools
- Acrobat Synchronizer is a tool installed along with Acrobat versions. While running in the background, it maintains the accuracy of Acrobat files imported to Acrobat.
- RdrCEF (also known as Adobe Reader Cloud Extension Feature) is a tool bundled with Acrobat that runs a process that handles cloud connectivity features.
Supported file formats
The table below contains some of the supported file formats that can be opened or accessed in Adobe Acrobat.
|Acrobat Data File||ACRODATA|
|Acrobat Forms Data Format||FDF|
|Adobe Illustrator File||AI|
|Acrobat Index File||PDX|
|Acrobat Job Definition File||JDF|
|Acrobat Language Plug-in||LNG|
|Acrobat MIME Encoded Job
|Acrobat Security Settings File||ACROBATSECURITYSETTINGS|
|Acrobat Sequence File||SEQU|
|Acrobat XFDF File||XFDF|
|Adobe Color Separations Table||AST|
|Adobe Dictionary Data File||ENV|
|Adobe Joboptions File||JOBOPTIONS|
|Adobe Linguistic Library Data File||LEX|
|Adobe MARS File||MARS|
|Adobe Portable Document Format
|Adobe Profile File||APF|
|Apple QuickTime Movie||MOV|
|Design Web Format File||DWF|
|Drawing Exchange Format File||DXF|
|Encapsulated PostScript Format File||EPSF|
|Flash MP4 Video File||F4V|
|Flash Video File||FLV|
|Hypertext Markup Language||HTM, HTML|
|iTunes Video File||M4V|
|Plain Text File||TXT|
|PostScript Image Data File||PSID|
|Product Representation Compact
|Shockwave Flash Movie||SWF|
|Universal 3D File||U3D|
|XML Data Package||XDP|
|XML Paper Specification File||XPS|
Internationalization and localization
This section possibly contains original research. (May 2022)
Adobe Acrobat is available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. Arabic and Hebrew versions are available from WinSoft International, Adobe Systems' internationalization and localization partner.
Before Adobe Acrobat DC, separate Arabic and Hebrew versions were developed specifically for these languages, which are normally written right-to-left. These versions include special TouchUp properties to manage digits, ligatures option and paragraph direction in right-to-left Middle Eastern scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, as well as standard left-to-right Indian scripts such as Devanagari and Gujarati. The Web Capture feature can convert single web pages or entire web sites into PDF files, while preserving the content's original text encoding. Acrobat can also copy Arabic and Hebrew text to the system clipboard in its original encoding; if the target application is also compatible with the text encoding, then the text will appear in the correct script.
A comprehensive list of security bulletins for most Adobe products and related versions is published on their Security bulletins and advisories page and in other related venues. In particular, the detailed history of security updates for all versions of Adobe Acrobat has been made public.
September 2006 warning
February 2009 warning
February 2013 warning
Adobe has identified critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat XI (11.0.01 and earlier) for Windows and Macintosh, 9.5.3 and earlier 9.x versions. These vulnerabilities could cause the application to crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There have been reports of these vulnerabilities being exploited to trick Windows users into clicking on a malicious PDF file delivered in an email message. Adobe recommended users update their product installations.
January 2016 warning
Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Acrobat and Reader for Windows and Macintosh. These updates address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.
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Release date: January 9, 2007; Last updated: January 16, 2007; Vulnerability identifier: APSB07-01
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David Kierznowski, a penetration testing expert specializing in Web application testing, has released proof-of-concept code and rigged PDF files to demonstrate how the Adobe Reader program could be used to initiate attacks without any user action.[permanent dead link]
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