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Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a family of application software developed by Adobe Systems to view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in Portable Document Format (PDF).[3] All members of the family, except Adobe Reader (formerly Acrobat Reader), are commercial software, while the latter is available as freeware and can be downloaded from Adobe’s web site. Adobe Reader enables users to view and print PDF files but has negligible PDF creation capabilities.[4] Acrobat and Reader are widely used as a way to present information with a fixed layout similar to a paper publication.


Since the early 1990s, the Acrobat product has had several competitors, some of which used their own document formats, such as:

  • AnyView from Binar Graphics
  • Common Ground from No Hands Software
  • Envoy from WordPerfect Corporation
  • Folio from NextPage
  • Replica from Farallon Computing
  • WorldView from Interleaf
  • DjVu from AT&T Laboratories/DjVu Project/LizardTech/Varolmak/Caminova

By the late 1990s PDF had become the de facto standard, and the others had become largely historical footnotes. This in turn has led to many more competitors for Adobe Acrobat, providing both free and commercial programs that create or manipulate PDF, such as Ghostscript, Foxit, Nitro PDF and Nuance Communications. Adobe also allows Acrobat plug-ins to be developed by third parties, which can add extra functions within the Acrobat program.

Product names

Adobe has changed the names of the products in the Acrobat family regularly, also splitting-up, joining, or discontinuing products. Initially, the name “Acrobat” was used as the parent name to a suite of products which included Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Exchange and Acrobat Distiller. Over time Acrobat Reader became Adobe Reader; and, Acrobat Exchange was simplified to Acrobat. Between version 3 and 5, Standard and Professional versions were one product simply called Adobe Acrobat.

As of December 2010, the current main members of the Adobe Acrobat family are:[5]

  • Adobe Reader X (10.0.0)
  • Adobe Acrobat X (10.0.0)
    • Adobe Acrobat X Standard
    • Adobe Acrobat X Pro
    • Adobe Acrobat X Suite
  • Acrobat.com

Unlike most other Adobe products, such as members of Adobe Creative Suite, members of Adobe Acrobat family do not have icons that display two letters on a colored rectangular shape.


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