Difference Between Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro (With Table)

Adobe Systems Incorporated develops and distributes the two popular PDF viewers, Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro. Both are critical tools in today’s digital workflow since they can convert nearly any document to the PDF format yet retain the original document’s information intact.

Adobe Reader vs Adobe Acrobat Pro

The main difference between Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro is that the former is a free PDF viewer, while the latter is a commercial version that allows you to make changes to PDF files, such as converting a word document to PDF. Adobe Reader is a software service that allows you to view PDF or Portable Document Format files.

Adobe Reader was created by Adobe System Inc. to provide customers with a free software program that can only view PDF files. Adobe Reader is a smaller version of Adobe Acrobat and a feature of Adobe Acrobat. It’s a free cross-platform software that lets you produce PDF documents on one machine and view them using a PDF viewer like Adobe Reader on another.

Adobe Acrobat Pro was created to give consumers the versatility and freedom to update and change their PDF files, not just read them. Adobe Acrobat is an advanced upgrade to Adobe Reader that includes more features. You can get all of the capabilities of Adobe Reader plus a lot more with Adobe Acrobat, such as the ability to generate and edit text and graphics in PDF documents.

Comparison Table Between Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro

Parameters of

Adobe Reader

Adobe Acrobat Pro


When Adobe Reader was first released in 1993, it was a commercial version, but Adobe eventually made it free.

Adobe Acrobat Pro costs a lot of money when it was released in 2020. The fee for the ordinary user was later reduced by Adobe.


Adobe Reader can be downloaded for free from Adobe Systems Inc.’s website.

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a premium and extended PDF reader, and the price varies depending on the available versions.


The user has basic capabilities with Adobe Reader, which allows them to open and view PDF documents.

Depending on the edition, Adobe Acrobat allows users to customize, print, transfer word documents to PDF format, and much more.


Only one basic edition of Adobe Reader is available, which allows users to view documents for free.

“Adobe Acrobat DC” and “Adobe Acrobat Pro” are the two variants of Adobe Acrobat available here.


Adobe Reader is a small subset of Acrobat that may be downloaded for free.

To have access to extra capabilities, the client can update their Adobe Reader free option to Adobe Acrobat.

What is Adobe Reader?

When Adobe Systems Incorporated initially chose to release Acrobat, their PDF reader and viewer, in 1993, they found that the consumer market was reluctant to pay for the service due to high rates. Later, the business released the “Adobe Acrobat Reader” or “Adobe Reader,” which had fewer features and a lower price tag.

However, the market’s reaction was not favorable to Adobe. Adobe Systems, Incorporated chose to make the Adobe Reader available for free download and use. They finally offered Adobe Reader as a PDF viewer on their official website, with the option for customers to upgrade if they so desired.

Adobe Reader provides users with access to the fundamental features of Adobe Acrobat, including the ability to open, read, verify, remark on, and print PDF files. Unlike Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader does not have a “Pro” edition that grants free access to additional capabilities. 

Adobe Reader is also available for mobile devices like Android. It’s actually a minor part of a much bigger Adobe family that has evolved over time through numerous variations. It enables you to do a lot more with PDFs than just see and print them. For example, you may fill out forms, comment on documents, and transform PDFs.

What is Adobe Acrobat Pro?

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is updated on a regular basis with new features and enhancements. Adobe Acrobat 2020 is a non-subscription version of Adobe Acrobat that is currently available. This version is paid and will not be upgraded in the future. In addition, Adobe offers Acrobat Standard DC, a reduced edition of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC that is presently solely compatible with Windows.

Multinational corporations and the print media typically utilize the pro versions of Acrobat, whereas average customers are using the non-pro versions. Adobe Acrobat DC membership is a basic Acrobat membership that allows users to modify text and images in PDF files, as well as export PDFs to certain other applications, including Excel and Word.

Although many of the capabilities covered here are also available in the respective mobile applications, they are focused on the desktop of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Acrobat Reader. Adobe Acrobat is simply an upgraded version of Adobe Reader.

It comes in several different versions, and prices vary based on the level of functionality offered. Adobe Acrobat Pro is a little more expensive option of Adobe Acrobat DC that includes many more advanced functions, including comparing two similar PDFs for minor variations and converting PDFs to an acceptable format which allows users to make required changes in the text.

Main Differences Between Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro

  1. Back in 1993, Adobe Reader was a commercial version, but it was later made free. Adobe Acrobat Pro costs a lot of money when it was first released in 2020. The typical user’s pricing was later reduced by Adobe.
  2. On the Adobe Systems Inc. website, you can get a free copy of Adobe Reader. Adobe Acrobat Pro is a premium and extended PDF reader, and the fee varies depending on the version.
  3. Adobe Reader provides the user with basic functionality, allowing them to accept and view PDF documents, whereas Adobe Acrobat allows users to alter, print, and convert word documents to PDF format, among other things, depending on the edition.
  4. Adobe Reader comes in only one basic edition that allows a user to view files for free, whereas The two Adobe Acrobat versions accessible here are “Adobe Acrobat DC” and “Adobe Acrobat Pro.”
  5. Adobe Reader is a free version of Acrobat that allows users to view and print documents in PDF format, whereas To gain access to extra capabilities, the user can upgrade their free Adobe Reader version to Adobe Acrobat.


Acrobat was introduced by Adobe Systems Incorporated as a much more accessible and efficient way of managing PDF files, but it was only available on a subscription basis. Because many people couldn’t pay for the software, Adobe offered the Adobe Reader as freemium that included all of Acrobat’s features.

Users were offered the option to buy if they wanted advanced options, and it was observed that the majority of international corporations chose this option. Adobe Acrobat allowed users to edit the text and graphics included in PDF files and also convert them. Both of these programs have helped users get more comfortable with PDF management.


  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/gpsolo30&section=54
  2. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/eb024560/full/html