Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is an all-encompassing solution for managing PDF files. Like all of Adobe’s products, it includes comprehensive features, which can be overwhelming at first. We’ll help you navigate your first steps with this professional tool.
This article will teach you everything you need to know to effectively create and edit PDFs with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. You’ll also learn how to digitally sign PDFs, how to compare to different PDF documents, and more.
Download and Install Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
This Adobe product offers a one-week free trial. You must provide a credit card, debit card, or PayPal information before starting the complimentary period. Your payment method will get billed after the introductory timeframe, and that process will repeat every month if you don’t cancel your account. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC costs $14.99/month.
Begin by going to this download page and clicking the blue Get Started button. Next, either log in to or create an Adobe account. After registering or logging in, provide payment details and click the provided link to start the installation. Since this is a pretty comprehensive program, you can expect it to take several minutes to download.
Download: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC ($14.99/month, one-week free trial)
Learn the Basics
When you open Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, you’ll see the main interface.
Pay attention to the Home and Tools tabs in the top left corner. You’ll likely use those often. The File Lists on the left pane will also be important to you.
One thing I like about the software’s start page is that it gives you a reminder about how many days are left in your free trial. Just keep your eye on the bottom left corner to avoid getting charged.
Think of the Tools tab as your gateway to getting the most out of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.
There’s a search box at the top where you can input keywords related to desired tools. Below that, it’s easy to find tools grouped by categories ranging from Create & Edit to Forms & Signatures. On the right pane, you can find tools shortcuts. They make it easier to access features you’ll depend on often, like editing and sending PDFs.
To make a PDF from a Microsoft Word or other document already on your computer, click the File menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
Method 1: Open With Acrobat
Select Create, then pick the option for PDF from File. That command brings up a list of compatible files. Find the one you want, click it, then go to the Open button.
Depending on file characteristics, the PDF may appear on the screen immediately. Otherwise, you’ll see a dialog box indicating the percentage of completion.
Creating multiple PDFs from several files is also possible with this method.
Go back to the File menu and choose Create. Then, select Create Multiple PDF Files.
A dialog box pops up and features an Add Files button in the top left corner. Click it and begin building a list of files to convert to PDFs. Files you’ve chosen appear in the bottom part of the dialog box. Click the OK button on the bottom right. Then, specify your file output preferences.
Method 2: Drag and Drop
There is also drag-and-drop functionality for PDF creation. This works the same as any other drag-and-drop file upload. Just click and drag the file over to the Adobe pane from its computer file.
Method 3: Right-Click (Windows Only)
If you’re a Windows user, there’s an even faster way to create a PDF from an existing document. Choose your file, then right-click and select Convert to Adobe PDF.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC also lets you edit one PDF page at a time. Get started by going to the Tools menu. Click Edit PDF.
Just select your PDF file and open it with the editor. Borders surround the editable areas of your document. Click and drag these to edit different parts of the document.
You can then type new text or delete unwanted text. Formatting options appear in the right pane.
You can pick a font from the dropdown list and select a font size and color.
The icons below those first options allow for bolding, italicizing, and underlining. There is also functionality for subscripts and superscripts, bullets, and numbered lists. You can also manipulate the margins.
Want to learn how to reduce the file size of a PDF? There’s a way to do that too!
Working With PDF Pages
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC also offers various methods of manipulating individual PDF pages.
Keep in mind, though, that doing so requires having the proper permissions within the program. You can verify this by going to the File menu while you have a PDF document open in Acrobat.
Select Properties and click the Security tab and refer to the information in the Document Restrictions Summary. If you have the proper permissions, you’ll see “Allowed” listed next to different document options. For this example, it’ll be important that “Changing the Document” is allowed.
So, what exactly can you do within PDF pages?
Rotate pages by going to the Tools menu, then Organize Pages. You can also get here from the right shortcuts pane.
This process brings up a secondary toolbar. Click the drop-down arrow in the Enter Page Range box for specific options, or just click on the page previews below.
Now you can rotate the pages clockwise or counterclockwise. This is helpful for when you have a landscape-style presentation or document you need to quickly print out.
Another helpful editing trick you can do with Acrobat Pro DC is changing the order of the pages. You can also make a copy of certain pages. From the Organize Pages panel, click and drag one page of the PDF document to a different place in the file.
And if you want to copy a page, just click on the page and Ctrl + drag the page to where you want to copy it in the document.
Want to delete a page? Just right-click on the page icon and select Delete Pages.
Fill and Sign PDF Forms
Do you often have to sign PDF contracts or agreements? You can do this without printing the document.
To sign a PDF, open the document in Acrobat and navigate to the page you need to sign. Click on the Fill & Sign option in the right options menu.
Then use the toolbar that comes up to type your name and any other information you need to provide into the appropriate lines.
You can create your signature by clicking Sign and then typing your name. Adobe will then allow you to place your signature into the PDF document.
There is more than one way to sign a PDF, too. You can type your name, write your signature by hand, or insert an image representing your signature.
After saving your signature, it appears as a selection once you click Sign for all future documents, which is very convenient.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC also lets you change non-fillable, or flat, forms to editable ones.
To do this, have the PDF file you want to fill out open in Acrobat. Go to File, Save as Other. Next, choose Reader Extended PDF, and finally, Enable More Tools.
When you open the file in Acrobat Pro DC or Acrobat Reader (do you still need Adobe’s PDF Reader?), you’ll now be able to type or sign those fields.
Compare Two PDF Files
After downloading Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, you can use the redesigned Compare Files feature.
Go to the Tools pane. Then, choose Compare Files.
Click the Select File drop-down for the two documents you want to compare and select your files. Then click Compare. (This only works for PDF documents, not other document formats.)
You’ll then be able to review your Compare Results Summary. You can also go over changes one by one after selecting the Go to First Change option.
Integrate Acrobat With Dropbox
A great feature of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is that it works seamlessly with Dropbox. You can do this from the Home interface.
Look at the left pane that has the File Lists. To add your Dropbox account to Acrobat, click the Add Account link under the Storage file list.
Choose the Add button under the Dropbox logo, then sign in with your Dropbox credentials. Logging in brings up an Adobe permissions box. It asks which Dropbox account to link with Acrobat Pro DC. Select the account you want to link and you’re in business!
Once Dropbox appears in the Storage file list, click on it to pull up your Dropbox files inside the main pane. After you use Acrobat Pro DC to alter a file originating from Dropbox, Adobe saves an edited version to Dropbox for you. It couldn’t be easier!
Use Acrobat on Your Mobile Devices
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC can also handle PDFs on the go via a dedicated Android or iOS app. It even turns your iPad into a scanner, making PDF imports hassle-free.
You automatically have free access to these mobile apps when you get an Adobe Acrobat Pro DC trial or subscription.
What PDF Magic Will You Work Next?
You now know how to use the most significant features of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.
Experimenting with other lesser functions that may be necessary for your projects is simple. Just spend time exploring the capabilities inside the Tools section and Files List pane. You’re bound to find even more helpful features specific to your day-to-day needs.
If you can’t figure out how to use a feature in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC or how to manipulate a PDF, tell us what it is! Can we help?