A solid PDF editor must not only allow you to edit existing content such as text, images, links, and other objects, but also provide a reasonable number of additional features. Some of these might include PDF conversion, PDF security, file size optimization, form-handling capabilities, advanced batch processing, optical character recognition (OCR), and so on. We already know that But what happens when you put the #1 PDF editor in the world against a relative newcomer? Interesting things, to say the least! With that, let’s do a face-off between Adobe Acrobat DC and PDFelement 7 and see how they fare on a feature-for-feature basis.
The PDFelement 7 vs. Adobe Acrobat DC Face-off
The approach we took is to look at various key PDF functions and see how each of these highly regarded PDF editors perform against each other. The results may surprise you.
Edit PDF Files
Let’s begin with the core competency of any PDF editor – the ability to edit the contents of a PDF document. Adobe users know well the frustration of looking for various tools in the cluttered layout. The DC or Document Cloud version of Acrobat brought in a lot of housekeeping changes compared to Acrobat XI but you still need to wade through the Tools section to find what you need. In stark contrast, PDFelement 7 uses minimalism as its core design philosophy, clearly grouping the features under major tabs at the top. Clicking on each tab reveals the tools for that group of features. For example, the Protect tab is where you’ll find the options for password encryption, redaction, digital signatures, and other relevant tools. Acrobat DC is a lot more user-friendly than its predecessors but there’s still a lot of clutter in the interface.
Create and Convert PDF Documents
The conversion engine is a critical component of any PDF editor, and that’s because the PDF format itself is not suitable for a lot of purposes. It’s a great file type for distributing large amounts of information but it’s completely non-responsive when compared to formats like HTML5. Moreover, a PDF document can only be edited in a PDF editor, and not everyone has access to such a tool. It’s easier to just convert it to Word or Text so it can be edited in a more readily-available software utility. Adobe Acrobat DC has one of the best conversion engines under the hood but it doesn’t always work perfectly. As an example, you might see extra page breaks, line breaks, spaces, and misalignment of content when you convert a PDF to Word or PowerPoint. PDFelement 7 is rigorous in its accuracy, and even complex elements are rendered exactly as in the original. In addition, conversions are faster with PDFelement 7.
Adobe Acrobat DC and PDFelement 7 both shine in this area, offering a plethora of tools to create, convert, fill, and manage forms and form data. Both applications can create forms from scratch, convert Word and Excel files into interactive forms, automatically detect fillable fields in edit mode, extract form data, control attributes like alignment, and so on. This is one area where both products are running head to head, with no perceptible advantage to either one.
Another well-matched feature is PDF protection. Both platforms follow strong encryption protocols and allow users to apply viewing, editing, copying, and other restrictions. You also have comprehensive search-and-redact options in both tools, and both are capable of generating and applying digital signatures that will hold up in a court of law. Security is paramount in today’s digitized document workflows, and both companies recognize the need to keep up with the latest encryption algorithms and security technologies for PDFs.
This is where it gets a little confusing with Adobe Acrobat DC. The iOS version, for example, is called “Adobe Acrobat Reader for PDF”, indicating that you can’t edit PDFs. That’s partially true because you can actually unlock the PDF editing feature with an Acrobat Pro DC subscription. Moreover, in the Android version, the name of the app reads “Adobe Acrobat Reader: PDF Viewer, Editor & Creator” but you can’t edit a PDF unless you have a Pro subscription. By contrast, the branding for PDFelement is much clearer. In the App Store, it simply says “PDFelement – PDF Editor” because you can actually edit a PDF using the app, and all it requires is a free account registration with Wondershare, the maker of the software. The Android version is essentially meant for viewing and commenting, so it’s called “PDFelement – Free PDF Reader and Annotator.” There’s a clear messaging flaw in Adobe’s products whereas PDFelement’s branding and messaging are quite straightforward.
This is the deal-breaker for many potential Adobe Acrobat DC users. A monthly subscription, even with an annual commitment, is one of the most expensive of all PDF editors. That’s understandable to a certain extent because, as a pioneer in PDF, Adobe was the company that initially set the pricing level of a PDF editor. That doesn’t work for a lot of smaller businesses, which is the reason products like PDFelement were developed. PDFelement 7 has a monthly subscription fee of $6.99, and you can acquire a perpetual license for just $59. That gives you access to using PDFelement on all supported platforms for life. Not a bad deal when you consider the lofty $400+ perpetual license for a full copy of Adobe Acrobat DC. Now PDFelement also provides up to $60 off offer, it’s more cost-effective than before.
Adobe Acrobat DC is the latest in a long line of PDF editing applications released by Adobe. It is a mature product that is generally regarded as highly reliable and functional. The market simply accepts it for what it is. However, today’s generation of PDF users are looking for greater value and enhanced user experience, which is something only a product like PDFelement 7 can offer. In other words, Acrobat’s handicaps are PDFelement’s advantage. There’s no way that Adobe would radically change one of its most popular products of all time, which gives tools like PDFelement, Nitro, and Soda PDF a fighting chance at gaining valuable market share. As for this particular face-off, it’s obvious that PDFelement 7 is a more compelling PDF editor because of its UI design, speed, accuracy, and affordability.