Are you looking for the best Adobe Acrobat alternatives in 2021? This article will have you sorted!

With the invention of the Portable Document Format (PDF) file, Adobe happens to be the forerunner of software enabling easy editing and sharing of this particular file format. The Adobe Acrobat version 1.0 was first released in 1993 priced at $50 per user. Since then, lots of Acrobat versions have been released with new features making their way in each version.

However, since the standardization of the PDF format in 2008, there emerged a lot of new players in the PDF apps and software market rubbing shoulders with Adobe. PDF users look to find alternatives to Adobe for a variety of reasons depending on their PDF requirements.

In this article, we’ve listed seven best alternatives for Adobe Acrobat DC (DC stands for “Document Cloud”) along with their features, pricing, and pros and cons. The internet and app stores are loaded with dozens of PDF editors and software offering a range of features. However, we made sure to only include the best Adobe Acrobat competitors and alternatives to help you choose the one that fits your needs.

Get 65% Off Adobe Acrobat

Some prefer other software because of the complexity of Acrobat. And users have to pay the standalone monthly subscription fees (get an Adobe discount here) or get the entire Creative Cloud suite subscription to access this software. It can be just too expensive for freelancers and users running low on budget.

You may also be interested in Adobe Illustrator Alternatives or Photoshop Alternatives or Adobe InDesign Alternatives or Premiere Pro Alternatives and the complete Adobe Software List, as well as the Best Monitors for Photo Editing.

If you’re a student, check out our guide on How to get an Adobe student discount and our Adobe Creative Cloud pricing guide.

What are the best alternatives to Adobe Acrobat DC?

Following are the best Adobe Acrobat alternatives.

Foxit Phantom PDF EditorBest Adobe Acrobat alternative PDF editor
Nitro Productivity Platform — Best Adobe Acrobat alternative in integrations
PDF-Xchange Editor — Most budget-friendly Acrobat alternative
Smallpdf — Best Acrobat alternative in customer support
PDF Studio — Most intuitive Acrobat alternative
Soda PDF Anywhere — Best Acrobat alternative in system compatibility
Sejda — Best in premium features for free

How to choose a good PDF editor?

PDF has been the go-to tool for viewing and sharing readable files for more than two decades now. Individuals and businesses alike have been using Adobe Acrobat for viewing PDF documents but you can go only so far with Adobe Acrobat unless you opt for their pricey plans. Therefore, more and more brands are getting into the PDF services market offering PDF users amazing benefits at much more affordable fees.

If you’re in the dilemma of choosing the right PDF editor, we’ve made your work easy with our most important considerations in a good PDF editor. Read on!


The most important feature a good PDF editor should have is an intuitive interface. Users, of all experience levels, must be able to perform the most basic tasks without any hassle or without having to look around for features in the interface. So make sure you choose the PDF editor that puts the essential features on the familiar interface.

Ability to edit and create PDFs

This goes without saying, if you need more than just PDF reading capabilities, you need to opt for a PDF editor that comes with the ability to add text, images, videos, and objects. A smart PDF editor lets you change text size and alignment and to flow the text as you edit it.

Other key features include watermarks, electronic signatures, stamps, headers, footers, etc. Most software these days comes packed with these features at affordable prices.

Scan and OCR

To digitize paper documents, you need to connect your PDF editor to a scanner. By doing so, you can make most of your work paperless and store all the important files in a PDF format. If your PDF editor app allows this, look no further.

Once you scan your documents, you might also want to convert the text in the scanned documents as a distinct PDF file. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology identifies text from images, giving you a full-fledged text version of the scans. This text version can be converted to an editable PDF format.

Ability to collaborate

Collaboration is a must-have feature in a PDF editor, especially in the post-pandemic era where remote teams could work together on files and enable easy sharing between teams. Your PDF editor must allow you to add multiple participants, share review, and annotate. Being able to open and view PDFs on the EMS Cloud Services shouldn’t be burdensome.


BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, an IT policy that supports and encourages employees to use their personal devices like mobiles, tablets, and laptops to access enterprise data and systems. You need a PDF editor that has your back when you are away from your work system. With a PDF editor app, you can view, edit, and review PDF files anywhere, anytime. So look out for a mobile app of the PDF editor you’re interested in.


If you deal with confidential documents quite often, you should seek a PDF editor with password protection capabilities. This feature limits features like viewing the document, printing, filling forms, and editing. Go for a PDF editor which lets you change access permissions or even revoke access even after publishing and sharing the file.

Customer support

At some point, you might want to get in touch with the customer support and service team. Problems with products are common and a PDF editor is no different. A good PDF editor should come with proven quality customer service and care to help you get out of troubled waters.

Adobe Acrobat Discount (Get 65% Off) or Free 7-Day Trial

If you don’t find an Adobe Acrobat alternative, we have an exclusive discount with Adobe CC that offers 40-70% off Adobe’s apps, including InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom.

Best Adobe Acrobat Alternatives 2021

1. Foxit Phantom PDF Editor

Image credit: Foxit

Best Adobe Acrobat alternative PDF editor

Foxit is a leading software provider of quick, inexpensive and stable PDF solutions. This helps you to view, annotate, form fill, and sign PDF across desktop, mobile, and web – no matter where you are. Reading PDF is easier with Foxit as it is accessible to any device (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, web, Linux).

Add images, videos, and file attachments and start collaborating and sharing with a variety of annotation tools. This software lets you sign documents in your own handwriting; however, some users didn’t find this feature very exciting as the signature appears light in shade.

Easy collaboration 
Signature functionality 
Easy to use for teams of any size
Mobile application is bit slow
Reliable and affordable PDF editor
Some fonts are not supported during conversion


2. Nitro Productivity Platform

Image credit: Gonitro

Best Adobe Acrobat alternative in integrations

The major features of Nitro Productivity Platform is to create PDFs and combine files.

Some of the additional features include multi party signing, mobile signature, watermarking, task progress tracking and multi language which gives an opportunity of making a professional work in less time.

Furthermore, Nitro Pro PDF editing software can be integrated with cloud storage tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, and Microsoft Office enabling users to use the editor while working on Microsoft apps. You can get your hands on the software at a one-time cost of $159.99 per feature or at a monthly fee of $9.99. Also, you can opt for a free trial without credit card details on sign-up.

Integration with top workplace tools
Support restricted to pro users
Easy collaboration

e-signature workflows


3. PDF-XChange Editor

Image credit: Tracker Software

Most budget-friendly Acrobat alternative

PDF-XChange Editor is one of the most advanced PDF editors out there with latest industry-standard features like virtual printer for document preview.

Some of the prominent features of this tool are annotations, encryption, PDF reader, merge or append files, watermarking, digital signature, and convert to pdf. However, the app can only run on Windows OS. Also, unlike most other tools, it does not offer free video tutorials for the users to get familiar with the advanced features.

The tool extends a free trial and free version for its users to try out their pro features. PDF-XChange Editor is priced at a one-time fee of $43.50. As a verdict, it is one of the best PDF management solutions available that lets users annotate, view, edit, add images, and do a lot more cool stuff with it, such as user customizable interface.

Good for personal and business use
Overwrites files on update
Free version has decent features
Some Acrobat features not available
Affordable and reliable


4. Smallpdf

Image credit: Smallpdf

Best Acrobat alternative in customer support

Swiss-based Smallpdf is a suite of file management tools that provides a simple and secure solution to PDF editing. With its focus on enhancing the user experience, Smallpdf is best known for its easy-to-use interface serving more than half a billion users in 24 languages.

Smallpdf enables deployment in Cloud, SaaS, and web platforms and is supported on Mac and Windows, On-premise Windows, Android, and iOS. Some of the top features include electronic signature, collaboration tools, annotations, convert to PDF, digital signature, encryption, merge or append files, OCR, full text search, and PDF reader.

Overall, it is the best PDF editing solution for businesses that require online and offline digital document processing. The Team Plan starts at $84 per year per user while the Pro Plan for individuals starts at $108 per year per user. Smallpdf also offers a free trial and free version of the software for you to get the feel of using the powerful PDF edit features.

Occasional errors when converting PDF to other file formats
Excellent customer support

Seamlessly add e-signature


5. PDF Studio

Image credit: Qoppa

Most intuitive Acrobat alternative

PDF Studio is regarded as one of the best and closest alternatives to Adobe Acrobat. It is a full-featured PDF editor offering full compatibility with PDF Standard and is supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS.

Some of the key features of PDF Studio include annotations, full text search, side-by-side comparison, watermarking, forms management, OCR, e-signature, and merge or append files.

Overall, it is a robust and affordable PDF editor across operating systems. The PDF Studio Standard is priced at a one-time fee of $89 while the PDF Studio Pro would cost you a one-time fee of $129.

Most premium features available 
Poor UI on the software 
Excellent customer support
Doesn’t function well on Linux
Reliable and user-friendly


6. Soda PDF Anywhere

Image credit: Sodapdf

Best Acrobat alternative in system compatibility

Soda PDF Anywhere is a full-functional PDF software cum web-based app that can be accessed on any device with a web browser. Soda PDF tool stresses on improving productivity and that is why they have a lot of power-packed innovative features like PDF conversion, e-signature solution, cloud integration, Bates numbering, editing and reviewing, and more.

With Soda PDF, you can better manage your documents by transferring files to digital format to Soda PDF’s OCR tool. Also, you will receive regular email updates on latest features, video tutorials, etc. Furthermore, you can add your most frequently used tools to a custom toolbar saving you ample time.

Following are the details about Soda PDF Anywhere pricing.

Soda PDF Home Plan: $48 / year or $10 / month
Soda PDF Premium Plan: $84 / year / user or $15 / month
Soda PDF Business Plan: $120 / year or $20 / month
Soda PDF Enterprise Edition (perpetual license): $159
Easy to use
Crashes on new updates sometimes
Variety of features for a low-cost PDF editor

Multi platform support


7. Sejda

Image credit: Sejda

Best in premium features for free

Sejda is one of the rare PDF editors that offer premium features in its free version. It offers PDF edits on documents up to 200 pages long or 50 MB in size. However, quite obviously, the free version has some restrictions. You can only work on one document at a time and 3 tasks per hour.

Some of the pretty cool free features Sejda bets on are its editing and signing PDf file capabilities. Other notable features include changing and adding text to PDF, editing existing PDF text, adding images, creating links in PDF, annotation, and adding hyperlinks.

Overall, it offers pretty much all the basic PDF editing features as Acrobat. Nonetheless, you might face issues when editing a PDF with a unique font style. It is still an above-average free PDF editor given the wide range of features it offers.

To use Sejda to its full potential, you might want to buy a personal or teams & volume discounts plan. Web Week Pass is available for $5 for 7 days while the Web Monthly plan is priced at $7.50 per month. For access to Sejda Desktop software, you will have to buy the Desktop+Web Annual plan costing $63 billed annually.

Premium features in free version
Limited editing function in unique font
Online and desktop software available


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get Adobe Acrobat Pro for free?

Yes, you can get Adobe Acrobat Pro for free as Adobe offers a 7-day free trial for the full version of the software.

Is Adobe Acrobat discontinued?

Yes, Adobe has discontinued Adobe Acrobat on April 7, 2020.

Which is the best free PDF converter?

Adobe is the best free PDF convertor. There are a lot of online options out there and pretty much all work the same way.

Does Windows 10 come with a PDF editor?

Windows 10 is equipped with Microsoft Edge to view PDF files. But, it is not a PDF editor. You will have to download and install a third-party application like Adobe to edit PDF files.

Best Adobe Acrobat DC alternatives

While Adobe is certainly the market leader in PDF editors, PDF users are constantly in search of alternatives that provide more or less similar features as Adobe Acrobat at affordable prices.

Depending on your PDF requirements and system compatibility, you can choose the right PDF editor for you and your team. The above listed apps should certainly help you find the one for you. Do you know any other worthy Acrobat alternative not in our list? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Adobe Creative Cloud Discount – 40-70% Off

If you don’t find an Adobe InDesign alternative, we have an exclusive discount with Adobe CC that offers up to 40-70% off Adobe’s apps including Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, XD, and more.

See here for our guide to Adobe Creative Cloud Discounts.

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