PDF Expert vs Adobe Acrobat: Which is better for working with PDFs?

All of us use PDF documents these days. Plenty of tools are out there, and most of them cost quite a lot. You need to be really thoughtful about choosing one — it will be your best friend at work or study, helping to create, edit, convert, and manage PDFs on your Mac.  

The most popular PDF apps for Mac are Preview, Adobe Acrobat, and PDF Expert. We won't review Preview in this piece because it's good for pretty basic tasks.

What we will do is review PDF Expert vs. Adobe Acrobat, comparing four parameters:

  1. General look & design
  2. Speed of work
  3. Set of features
  4. Price

PDF Expert vs. Adobe Acrobat: General Look

It's no secret that Adobe Acrobat is the most powerful PDF editor out there. You can do anything with your PDFs. This app is basically a nuclear plant control panel.

If you know every command, you'll probably nail it. But does it have to be THAT complicated? Remember the first time you wanted to find out how to change the annotation color — I bet you had a hard time.

Adobe Acrobat interface screenshot

In short, today, you don't have to know how to crank-start your car to enjoy a trip. It's time to simplify other processes as well.

Let's take a look at PDF Expert. You can see the differences at first glance. PDF Expert has a much more simple and intuitive UI, especially when it comes to making annotations or file editing. Design is simple; every option and feature is thoughtfully laid out. 

PDF Expert interface screenshot

You're not overloaded with features right from the start. Yet, if you want to find something, you're one click away without having to explore the wild jumble of elements.

If Apple wanted to go all-in with their PDF app, they would probably create PDF Expert! :)

Get PDF Expert for free >

PDF Expert vs. Adobe Acrobat: Speed of work

You often need to sign a contract or fix a typo at the very last minute. That's why the app's speed is a MUST-have feature.

For an experiment, we found a 2000-page old book and scanned it to play with. (Oh boy, that was tough!)

PDF Expert opened the doc in 1.5 seconds. Meanwhile, it took almost 10 seconds to load it with Adobe Acrobat. At least we finally managed to count the number of colors of the MacOS spinning wheel :-)

Download PDF Expert >

Could you make Adobe Acrobat start up slower? I'd like to have enough time to go get a sandwich before I read a one-page document.

Let's take a look at RAM usage.

The difference is not big, although Adobe Acrobat makes your Mac sweat slightly more. If you're the happy owner of a powerful machine, you can just go ahead and skip this paragraph.

PDF Expert vs. Adobe Acrobat: Feature Set

Both apps offer a set of powerful features. In a nutshell, PDF Expert does most of what Adobe Acrobat boasts in a much easier, intuitive, and quicker way. Let's have a look!

Annotate important parts

Whether you're a student annotating a book or an architect marking up a blueprint, you can highlight, underline, strikethrough, add shapes, lines, or your own stamps. There's no need to look for these features; they're always easily within reach. You can also record an audio comment for any part of your PDF.

PDF Expert review: Annotation features

Edit PDFs like Word docs

You can edit text, images, add links, and outlines to your PDFs in the most accurate way. There is no fussing with settings, endless options, and popup windows. It is easy to find an action you need in the menu, whether changing the font or adding a link to the webpage.

PDF Expert review: Editing text screenshot

Fill and sign PDFs

This feature is so easy to use that it doesn't need extended explanations. Simply click on the field and fill it out. All the most popular forms are supported.

PDF Expert review: Filling and signing PDF forms

Merge and extract PDF pages

Do anything with your pages: Merge, replace, and extract them. These are done with an uncomplicated drag and drop. Easy-ish!

PDF Expert review: Merging PDFs

Reduce PDF file size

This one is handy if you frequently send PDFs via email or if your hard drive is chock-full. PDF Expert lets you quickly shrink your docs and even see the size of the future file.

PDF Expert review: Compressing PDF files

Redact PDFs

This feature is for you if you want to delete or white out sensitive texts or hidden data in your documents. Select a piece of text and black it out. Be careful — no one will see what's hidden there. Even you!

Unlike Adobe, PDF Expert also allows you to convert text to speech, highlight fillable fields in forms, and add stamps to forms, which makes working with forms more intuitive. 

Let's talk money

Now that we've got the features covered let's talk money. Adobe Acrobat Pro currently costs $155.88 per year for a Standard subscription. Find more details here.

As long as you don't need to create forms or recognize scans, PDF Expert only asks for $80 out of your pocket and is jam-packed with all the necessitiesBuy Now >

Bottom line

Faster than Preview and nearly as feature-packed as Adobe Acrobat, PDF Expert proves the sequel can be superior to the original in every way.

Download PDF Expert and enjoy the ultimate PDF experience!

The Readdle Team The Readdle Team

PDF Expert

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